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55 tips for frugal shoppers - You too can become one!

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The very feel of shopping fascinates us and indicates a hole in our wallet. But the fact is that whether we gain or lose, we keep shopping. Planning or without planning! All of us would certainly like to make the best buy within the wallet range. Isn't it? Here are some basic tips to shop smartly and frugally.

General shopping tips:

  • Write down the shopping list:
    Make a proper list of items that you want to buy. Avoid everything that is not in the list. You can save at least 10% to 15% on your shopping.
  • Have a look at the price comparison sites:
    The price comparison sites help to narrow down your search. Here you can make comparison on the different prices that the different stores are offering. Pricegrabber and Epinion are some of the best sites. Epinion provide the most number of customer reviews.
  • Read magazines:
    Some magazines provides authentic guidelines on shopping. If you read such magazines, you can save time by directly going to the specific concept stores. Magazines, like shopsmart magazines can be of great help in this context.
  • If everything else fails, surely ask:
    FishingforDeals is has an excellent forum section.If you have any queries on purchasing something throw your question to the forum. Somebody would surely address to your queries immediately. If you are short of time yet want to shop frugally, surely seek help in the forum.
  • Decide on your budget:
    When you go for shopping, determine a budget and stick to it. Make the best deal within your budget. If you cross your shopping budget, it can become a burden. If you are planning to shop with your credit card, then raising your budget would also increase the interest rates charged on your credit card.
  • Investigate about the different coupon codes:
    After you have decided to purchase the particular product, you can reassure your decision by doing a google search. Go to google, search and write down the "Å“store name + code". They offer codes for nearly a 20% less that the original price. You can find such coupons in Dealcatcher, and Rather-be-Shopping.
  • Shop in a planned manner:
    Start your shopping with a target. First, buy the items, which are at the top priority in your list. Research on the items listed, by checking out the different outlets like Target, Amazon or Walmart. Look up for the customer reviews at Amazon. Sometimes it provides good reviews.
  • Never, shop in a hurry:
    Do not wait until the last moment to shop. If you have very less time, it limits your flexibility. You may end up in paying more, for the commodities that are not worth.
  • Shop reasonably:
    Do not buy anything that is on sale. Analyze if you really need it.
  • Ask for discount:
    If you are paying in cash, never forget to ask for a discount. Your seller has to give 2 % to 4% of the deal amount to the bank when you are paying in credit card. So, ask for that amount when you are paying in cash.
  • Shop at the proper time of the year:
    Make complete use of the days when the retailers offer maximum discount. Thanksgiving, Christmas or Valentines days are the best time to save money while shopping. So, you can make better deals when you purchases during those times of the year.
  • To buy in bulk is not always reasonable:
    Purchasing in bulk will not cost you less always. Have a look at the shelf labels and evaluate unit prices. A large store that has 'always low prices' frequently puts up larger sizes marked UP.
  • Avoid shopping when you are hungry:
    Do not shop while you are hungry, it would instigate you to hurry. If you are buying food, you may end up buying more and more.
  • Avoid shopping while you are depressed:
    To go for shopping you need not be at the best of your mood. But, you should be adequately careful.
  • Do not shop in an impulsive manner:
    If your kids and spouses influence you to make expensive purchases, then shop alone. If you are whimsical while shopping, then go with a person who can guide you to shop reasonably.
  • Do not view too much of items:
    Find out what type of thing you want to buy. Avoid seeing too much. Be focused, see if the item suits you from all sides, buy it and leave the store. Looking at different clothes, shoes and different accessories would confuse you and tempt you to buy something you really do not need.
  • Avoid health club if possible:
    Purchase cheaper exercise equipment and aerobic video tapes and use them at home. By attaching them at your TV, you can set up a better atmosphere than your health club. Those videotapes range from $5 to $10 each. First use it in rent, later if you like it you can purchase them.
  • Share the expense:
    If you are planning to buy something that is useful for your neighbors, start your co-operative. Divide the costs of gardening equipment, tools, ladder, or the other expensive items with your neighbors and reduce the cost.
  • Do not purchase sports accessories until you really need:
    Avoid buying sports items as gym bag, sports racket, skates, till you are not making that sport your regular practice. Till you decide on it, use them as rent.
  • Calculate all costs:
    Note the costs of every item you purchase, in your little adding machine. This will help you to keep a track of all your expenditure at every turn. You can also learn from here if you have crossed your budget limit. In case you find, that your expense has gone above your budget, you can keep an eye on your further expenses.
  • Department store credit account is good:
    Some stores offer good discounts if you sign up with high interest credit cards. Using such credit cards can help you to avail discounts for 10% to 15 %. So, accept them, avail the offers and when the statement comes pay the entire bill. Then cancel the card in writing, and officially close in your account. Otherwise, it would reflect on your credit history.
  • Return the rebate slips:
    Consumers hardly return rebate slips. This is what the customers actually want. Do not forget to send the rebate slips.
  • Take part in the rebate events:
    Participate in the rebate programs that the sites like, MyPoints and Ebates offer you. My points, offer you points that you can convert for gift cards. To earn a $10 gift card is not at all difficult.
  • Buy quality items:
    Despite getting alluring discounts and rebates, do not forget that you should get quality stuffs. Compromising on the quality for some bucks will not help you to make a good deal.
  • Know your rights:
    While purchasing something confirm if you can return it in case it does not work up to your expectations. Inquire the rules they follow regarding retuning a product.

    Grocery shopping tips:

    You have to shop for Grocery on a regular basis. You cannot avoid it even if you want. Here, are some basic tips to shop for your grocery items through coupons, sales, rebates, and other frugal tips.
  • Plan ahead:
    Verify your refrigerator and check your basic grocery requirements like bread; eggs, cheese and milk are available in your kitchen. Determine, how much you need to buy and of what quantity. The requisites of every family may vary, but include them first in your shopping list.
  • Get good alternatives:
    You can buy macaroni, pasta and canned fruit replacing expensive fresh fruits. Macaroni, pasta and canned fruit together can be a reasonable deal but might not be much notorious. Besides, replacing wallop with meat can also help you to cut down on your budget.
  • Get updated with the offers:
    Go through the circulars to confirm what is there on sale. Compare the different offers of the stores; to make a better deal. To further cut down on your expenses, decide your weekly menu based on the weekly sale offers.
  • Build up friendship with butchers:
    If you make friends with butchers, they may guide you to make the best deal or offer you less price on the items. Making friends is free but it gives a lot of return.
  • Compare brands and check prices:
    Read circulars before you go into the store. See what you need is on sale or not. Comparing circulars from different stores might help you get a better deal.
  • Buy in bulk:
    If, there is sale on non-perishable goods, then buy them in bulk. Dried herbs and spices can be stored for days without getting decayed. Such a purchase can help you to save huge money.
  • Purchase "store brand" groceries:
    The quality of "store brand" groceries is almost equal to the "name brand" counterparts but is relatively cheaper.
  • Buy off-season items:
    Off-season stuffs will always cost you less. Purchase off-season meat and freeze it. You can even buy the sale meats in large quantity and use it gradually. Frugal cooking becomes easy, if you prepare off-season items.
  • Less processed food costs less:
    Some groceries sell semi processed food items. Buying such items is cost effective. If you buy a whole chicken from sale, cut it into slice, and make fried chicken, it would be an inexpensive and healthy alternative for any fast food stuff.
  • Make proper use of perennial specials:
    Search for stores that sell perennial food. Some groceries sell ripe bananas. The ones with brown markings usually cost 10 cents only. Even if you do not like to eat them at this stage, within some days, it would be perfect for banana bread. This way, by purchasing perennial specials cut down on your costs largely.
  • Store vegetables:
    Pull up vegetables that are about to get dried, put them in a zipper baggy and freeze it. Later you can use them in sauces, omelets and soups. You can even put them in spaghetti sauce and have it. This is another frugal way of using dried vegetables effectively.
  • New recipes:
    You may not know a huge of variety of preparation within your budget. So, to know more of it you may refer to Menus4Moms menu plans. This will help you to prepare varieties of recipes according to the taste of your family, maintaining a tight budget. You can also subscribe to Taste of Home and Cooking Light magazines. They, offer a range of recipes each month.
    Another good reference for acquiring free recipes would be allrecipes.com.Here you can type in the different types of ingredients you have handy and the site will provide you with the recipes based on your list of ingredients. The best part about the site is that you can create a grocery list right from the recipes you chose, so it saves you from writing them down on your grocery list. Other great web sites that suggest amazing recipes are campbells.com and kraft.com.
  • Make homemade snacks:
    These days snack items, costs high. You can shop for huge tortillas, slice them and bake it to cut down on your snacks budget. You can also spray baking pan with Pam. This is how you get inexpensive, low fat delicious chips. Popcorn is another easy to prepare cost effective snacks item.
  • Prepare mixes at home:
    Making food mixes at home will cut down your grocery cost. Extract relevant books from the library and make a list of items you would require to prepare the mixes.
  • Use coupons:
    Use the coupons for items that you normally buy and use them effectively. It will save your money. Sites like coolsavings.com, smartsource.com, and valupage.com offers extra discount, if you are able to complete surveys on certain food items. Keep a note of the coupons you have while you go for shopping.

    Cloth shopping:

    Anybody would love to shop around for the best fitting garment.
  • Visit the right place:
    Visit the nearest flea market. They offer high and unique price lists, which are much less from the market place. You can get good collections at very reasonable rates on new clothes that are imported in bulk rate.
  • Buy off-season products:
    Cold weather clothing's would cost you high when they come out of store in August. If you can wait and purchase them at the time of fall, you can get more discounts.
  • Buy more than one size:
    You can make a good deal if you purchase in different sizes. For example, if you are buying clothing's for your child, you can buy two sizes; one that fits your child at present, and the other that would fit him later.
  • Visit factory sales:
    Factory outlets can help you to save 50% to 90% on the garment's original price.
  • 45. Shop from the discount stores:
    Different stores Ross or Marshalls offers price that are about 50% less that the retail stores. Big retail shops Kmart, Target and Sears also give good discounts.
  • Explore your wardrobe:
    Sometimes you buy clothes, which you already have at your home. You seem to forget about your existing stock and shop for the same thing, which you do not need to buy. Make a careful study of your wardrobe before you go to shop.
  • Find out the perfect fitting:
    Purchase clothes that fit you perfectly. If clothes fit you right at the store, you will not need to spend extra money on tailoring.

    Product shopping tips:

    Life without a computer, camera, or a laptop is impossible! With these items growing popular, things are becoming more and more competitive. They come with so many features and models; it becomes difficult to choose one. Here are some tips to make the best decision.
  • Product review: :
    First, decide what exactly you want to buy.
  • Price comparison:
    Make the best deal through price comparison . Some sites are the best help for you to make comparison on the different prices that the different stores are offering. Search sites like froogle.google.com, msn shopping and yahoo shopping are some good sites, which give you relevant information related to prices of different products. They keep an eye on prices of a number of stores. The quality information they provide, are awesome.
  • Narrow down your search:
    When you have decided a product, but is unsure about the model, you can refer to become.com, pricegrabber, pricescan or shopping.com.
    For example, if you are searching for a digital camera in the pricegrabber.com, you should fist select digital camera under the digital Photography heading. Then you can find digital cameras, lens, batteries and the other accessories associated with it. This way you can narrow down your search to some extent.
  • Research on the product features:
    After you have selected a category, you can now research on the products specifications, its features, as well as the manufacturer. For example; if you are purchasing a printer, you can research on the different types of printers. Specifications of different models, the cartridges, the LCD screen, product size, cartridge size, scan resolutions, paper size and so on.
    After examining the specifications according to your preferred price range, you may read the expert as well as the consumer reviews to make the best deal.
  • Intensify your research:
    There are many product specific sites, which are helpful to make refined searches. Phonescoop.com is the best for wireless plans and cellular phones. Bookfinder.com is an ideal place to look for new, used, rare and out-of-print books.
    Generally the price comparison sites, scrutinize the same stores. Therefore, you should refer to several other sites to get the most reasonable price. Do not take risk. If required pay extra and get associated with the highly rated stores.
  • Opt for Scratch-and-dent items:
    Scratch-and-dent materials are brand new items but out of cartoon.These goods are guaranteed by the manufacturers. If you purchase such items, you can save some amount on your penny.
  • Avoid extended warranty:
    Never purchase an extended warranty. Very few people actually need it. The companies make huge profit out of it. For such a reason the sellers insist customers to buy them.
  • Do not pay for special features:
    Do not pay extra for any new features. The extra (special features) items, the company offers are usually of high price. In most cases, they are not worth the value. The extra features comprise of items, which you would probably never use.




    Good informative. We have to use those information in day to day life.

    Sub: #11 posted on Sat, 10/24/2009 - 07:31

    Unregistered


    [QUOTE=Vikas;306228]Another good reference for acquiring free recipes would be[URL="http://www.allrecipes.com/"] allrecipes.com[/URL].Here you can type in the different types of ingredients you have handy and the site will provide you with the recipes based on your list of ingredients. The best part about the site is that you can create a grocery list right from the recipes you chose, so it saves you from writing them down on your grocery list. Other great web sites that suggest amazing recipes are [URL="http://www.campbellsoup. com/default.aspx"]campbells.com[/URL] and [URL="http://www.kraft.com/"]kraft.com[/URL].[/QUOTE]
    OK, time to let the cat outta the bag here. I love to eat (no surprise there...) But I also enjoy cooking.
    Another very good place to look for recipes is on the various industry trade associations' websites. Every major type of food has a trade association dedicated to promotion and marketing that product. They have a vested intereat in maintaining a good recipe selection. Google is your friend here, y'all.
    For example, you check the freezer, and discover a package of hamburger meat and a few pork chops, but you're fresh out of ideas. Try these sites for inspiration:
    National Pork Producers Assn
    Beef Council
    Additional places to look... Got a favorite product or brand name? Toss their website. And then buy from their competition.
    What's that, Wulf???
    Is simple, really. That tempting recipe is gonna taste about the same whether you make it with pricey name-brand ingredients, or value priced no-name stuff.
    Need more ideas? Google your favorite kitchen activity, dish, or cooking style. You'll find several hits on recipes for almost any kind of cooking, right on the first page.
    While you're spending some quality time with Google, look aroiund for some of the more obscure online magazines and email lists. I particularly like The TexasCook Review. Maybe because I grew up eatin' that sort of thing. Ya just never know.
    Damn... Those look good.

    Sub: #12 posted on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 18:02

    unclewulf unclewulf
    Moderators
    (Posts: 3172 | Credits: )

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by love_my_things
    OHHH i miss our big lots. we used to have one, but it went out of business, i think that was when they were filing bk.



    Got an Aldi store within striking distance? Better and more reliable than Big Lots ever was. And they carry a lot of really good quality European food, at bargain prices. Along with occasional deals on everything from furniture to tools to electronics to toys.

    Sub: #13 posted on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 18:11

    unclewulf unclewulf
    Moderators
    (Posts: 3172 | Credits: )

    All right. One last tip, and I'll shut up for a while.

    A bunch of us tend to gravitate towards the 'bargain' end of the meat case at the store. Including me. Nothing wrong with that. I'm feeding a family of five on the pittance I scratch out by toiling in the bit mines, so I tend to shop carefully.

    Now just because you usually buy from the cheap end of the case, that don't mean you can't look at the rest of what's there. Window shopping's still free, right? I do a lot of that. Largely because I really enjoy a good steak once in a great while. The problem is that around here, a good steak goes for somewhere well north of ten bucks a pound. They claim it's because Vermont's a dairy state, not a beef state. I claim it's because they're greedy. You be the judge.

    OK, time for a little 'due diligence.' And here's where it pays to be an educated shopper. You really need to know what you're looking at. Rummage around in the case a little. Pull things out from behind other things, and have a look at 'em. I was doing just that in one of the local supermarkets just last weekend. They had a special going on chuck roast, at $2.99 a pound. Back in one corner were several large cuts, marked at $2.59. No problem, I can cut meat, especially for forty cents a pound.

    Thing is, one of those great, big hunks of chuck didn't look right. So I dragged it out for closer inspection. Then ran for the checkout. This is what I got:



    Hint: Chuck, it ain't. That's a whole boneless beef strip loin, almost 14 pounds. Labeled as chuck, at $2.59 a pound, it came to $35.62. The next day, I cut it up into some very passable New York Strip steaks.





    They're about 1.5" thick. Two of those, grilled and sliced, with taters and such will feed my entire family for a meal, with leftovers. For about five bucks worth of meat.

    What happened?

    Well, I think there was one terribly disappointed meat cutter at that store, come quittin' time. Looks like I got the one he 'mis-marked' and stashed out front for himself. Oops...

    There's nothing unethical about what I did, by the way. Federal law says the store has to sell an item for the price that's on it. I just exercised some curiosity, knowledge, and natural, Wulfish sneakiness to find it.

    Sub: #14 posted on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 18:56

    unclewulf unclewulf
    Moderators
    (Posts: 3172 | Credits: )

    Thank you Vikas for this valuable information

    Sub: #15 posted on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 03:16

    debtlander debtlander

    (Posts: 38 | Credits: )

    i have recently discovered a little treasure about 15 minutes from my home to get meat and its as simple as a butcher shop. Its a discount store that gets all kinds of regular products but its not very known yet, but the meat is fresh and cheap and local which is pretty important to the people in my town right now. the only disadvantage is the store smells like a slaughter house, but thats because frankly it is. but the price is unbelieveable and i know its absolutely fresh.

    Sub: #16 posted on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 07:39

    love_my_things love_my_things

    (Posts: 1434 | Credits: )


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