Props to Good Housekeeping for putting together “40+ Ways to Survive a Recession,” full of money-saving strategies and tips. Today’s tip: 10 Ways to Save Money…because small savings can add up to a bigger return than you think.
1. Shop the ethnic-food aisles. Spices, rice, and other staples are sometimes half the price of similar name-brand items at the supermarket. Beans, rice, and other grains, purchased in bulk are cheap and last a long time, plus beans pack a major protein bunch.
2. Ask how a particular promotion works. For example, a "10 for $10" sale may not require that you purchase 10 items; you might be able to buy only what you need and still get the reduced price. Combine promotions with coupons and you could end up walking out of there having paid almost nothing.
3. Sign up for store loyalty cards. You'll get generous coupons for products that you tend to buy regularly. I myself can readily agree with this; I do a lot of shopping at Duane Reade, and for every 100 points earned (with $1 equaling 1 point), I get a $5 off coupon. Also, if there are rebates to be had, make sure you send them in!
4. Go to your grocery store’s website before heading out and print off any coupons you might want to use. If they allow it, you may be able to combine the store’s coupons with those from the manufacturer for even more savings.
5. Use competition to your advantage. Ask whether the store matches the advertised prices of its nearby competitors. If so, save time by bringing in other stores' circulars, and then get all of your savings in one place. If the store accepts its competitors' coupons, bring those in with you, too!
6. Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure; this improves your gas mileage by about 3 percent or so. Roll down the windows, or apply solar film to the inside of them so the car's interior stays cool; keeping the A/C on can increase your gas consumption up to 11 percent.
7. You can probably save 1 percent on your electric bill for every degree you set the AC thermostat above 72 degrees. Year-round, you can slice off another 1 to 2 percent by unplugging electronics when you're not using them. This means cell phone chargers, microwaves, laptops, etc. You’re saving money and saving the planet, a win-win situation.
8. Buy an Entertainment Book. Full of coupons, the books are available in 150 areas and sell cheapest in early summer, for $10/book. I’ve gotten $15 off a purchase of $75 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as coupons for Target and Best Buy. Once you register at entertainment.com, you can get 50 percent off hotels, rental car discounts, a 5 percent coupon for American Airlines, and rebates.
9. upromise.com earns you free money in a college-savings account by booking travel, shopping, and eating out. Yes, all these things cost money and so they themselves aren’t exactly money-saving, but if you are already doing it, why not get something in return?
10. Before you buy anything online, always Google “coupon code” or “discount code” for the site you’re visiting. You’ll be surprised by how often you can nab a code for free shipping or even a percentage off.
--Posted by Sophie Friedman, Vault Web Content Intern
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