According to the USDA, an American family of three spends about $900/month on grocery shopping alone, without adding other expenses, such as appliances, car repairs, pet food, school supplies and clothes. If you’re trying to save money, you’ve probably noticed that daily shopping slowly but surely drains your budget and by the end of the month you spent more than you intended. Fortunately, there are some smart ways to spend less without depriving your family of basic necessities and without giving up the occasional treat. Depending on what kinds of shopping you spend on the most, here are some hacks that will add a few extra dollars in your pocket:
In This Post:
Grocery Shopping Hacks
- Go grocery shopping only once a week. Although it might seem like you are saving money if you go on two or three smaller grocery shopping sessions throughout the week, you’ll see that you actually spend more if you add them up.
- Make a list of groceries and stick to it. Without a list, not only do you risk forgetting to buy the essentials, but you’ll also be tempted to buy additional things that you don’t need.
- Never go shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll add a lot of snacks and food that you wouldn’t normally buy and add about $20 to the receipt.
- Returning plastic bottles and aluminum cans to the store is a quick way to get back a few extra pennies
- Don’t know what to do with the spare change you get every time you go grocery shopping? Instead of using it to buy a coffee, add it to your piggy bank (if you don’t have a piggy bank, you should seriously consider getting one). It might not seem like a lot, but in three months or so, you’ll have enough to do basic groceries.
- Buy exactly how much you eat. Americans throw away a worrying amount of uneaten groceries, wasting up to $2,000 a year.
- Downsize the cart. Going shopping with the largest cart will encourage you to buy more things to fill it. Take the smaller basket, as it will force you to stick just with the essentials.
Online Shopping Hacks
- Abandon the car before completing the purchase. Found the perfect item to buy online? After adding it to your cart, don’t complete the purchase just yet. Instead, close the tab. Many online stores send discount codes to users who abandon the cart to encourage them to make the purchase.
- Use coupon codes. Sites like Giving Assistant offer hot deals for major online retailers, free shipping offers, as well as cashback offers. If you shop more online than in stores, cashback can add up on your card and help you save a lot of money in the long run.
- Add items to your favorites and sign up to get updates when they go on sale.
- Be skeptical of Black Friday sales. Many retailers spike prices before Black Friday and lower them back to normal during the sale to lure you into making purchases.
- When shopping online on eBay and Amazon, don’t settle for the first offer you find. In Google Chrome, right click the product image and select “Search Google for this image”. This way, maybe you’ll find the same product at a lower price from other sellers.
- Shop online on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to save money. This is when most stores start rolling out discounts.
- If this option is available, opt for in-store pickup to avoid paying shipping costs.
Fashion Shopping Hacks
- Unsubscribe from newsletters. This might seem counterproductive, considering that you get sales notices in your inbox, but being subscribed to 20 different online fashion stores will encourage you to make impulse buys. Unsubscribing from all of them will not only clear up your inbox, but also help you save money, because you won’t be tempted to click on every offer you get.
- Only shop for key pieces during sales. Sales can be very misleading, because you end up buying a lot of items just because they’re discounted, not necessarily because you would wear them. When the sales season comes around, try to spend money wisely, only on quality basics that serve you all year round or on expensive designer items that last for years, such as coats, handbags and shoes.
- Compare online and in-store prices. Large fashion retailers such as H&M have different prices, so it’s worth comparing them before rushing to make a purchase.
- Buy at thrift stores in affluent areas. This the best place to find high quality designer items in perfect condition at a fast fashion price.
- Check all the store’s sections, not just the one made for you. For example, if you’re a petite woman, you might come across some unexpected discounts looking at larger sizes in kids’ section or smaller sizes in the men’s section.
- See if there are any factories or outlets in your area. Here, clothes go for at least half the price and you can stock up on designer clothes, bags and boots.
Electronics Shopping Hacks
- When buying a phone, wait until the latest flagship comes out to buy the one from the previous generation at a discounted price. In the case of Apple products, for example, the price difference is incredible.
- Don’t be afraid to buy refurbished electronics, as long as they come with warranty. In most cases, these are perfectly good products that only have a few scratches or minor defects that were fixed.
- Buy floor or display models. Although they may have a few scratches because they sat in the store for weeks, these electronics are often sold 25% off or even more, so it’s worth considering them.
- Never buy electronics on a whim. Unless it’s a major emergency, such as the fridge breaking down and needing replacement urgently, don’t buy electronics before comparing prices in advance.
- Don’t opt for extra warranty. Most of the time, the product will work just fine after the first one or two years of use and the extra warranty is just wasted money.