Bargain Shopping Tips
Paying a mortgage, raising young kids and filling the gas tank on the car, can really stretch the budget. When we first had the kids, diapers, food and all those things kids needed, stretched our budget and we couponed for everything. I have many bargain shopping tips we used then and now, to help with our budget now that we are getting close to college.
Whatever you buy used, you need to inspect it, look for cracks, chips, missing pieces, rips, tears and stains.
Some shops, like Volunteers of America (VOA), offer discounts on certain tags each week. VOA also had 50% off everything a certain day of the month (ours is last Tuesday, ask yours).
Couponing and Food Supplies
Meal Planning – Plan your meals based on what is on sale. Some grocery stores offer recipes online for things they have on sale. Take advantage of that. I’d tell you to make a calendar to layout what you are going to make, but we are not successful with that as no one eats the left overs if we make something new every night.
Pantry Staples – Have staples like flour, sugar, rice, pasta and your favorite spices in your pantry. You don’t need to have rooms full of staples, but enough for a week or two. Baking supplies go on sale near the end of the year (baking for the holidays)
Food Substitutes – There are many substitutes when you are cooking you can swap and use what you have on hand. You can use apple sauce in place of eggs, yogurt versus sour cream (vice versa). I swapped pizza sauce for spaghetti sauce to make chicken parmesan (and you could use marinara too). Just use what you have and add seasoning.
Stock Up – Stores run sales for meat in cycles, beef, chicken, pork. Watch the sales and stock up so you are only buying during the sales. Do your bargain shopping and purchase enough food to get you to the next sale for this item.
Discounts – There is an app called Flash Foods that you need to check out. It shows stores in your area that have food that is going to expire soon, that is sold at a discount. Use my code REGI3M8MB to get $8 off your first $10 purchase. I have bought veggies and fruits, that need to be used ASAP. Meat is easily repackaged and froze for later use.
Bargain Bin – Look for quick sale items in the produce bin at the store (sometimes on the end aisle). There are several items available for quick sale that need to be ate quickly.
Coupons – Check to see if your store has an app you can download coupons on items you use. Does the store offer points to purchase certain things -that you use-.
You can even do grocery shopping online and pick things up (sometimes for free if you spend a certain amount). This is a time saver, more than a savings. It also keeps you from buying things outside your list.
Birthday Month – Check out sites for places your frequent and if they offer free items for your birthday. You can get free donuts, sandwich, coffee and dessert.
Follow Companies – on social media. They will share super great deals for items. Sign up for their emails as they will also offer exclusive deals for subscribers.
Buying Clothes – Avoiding Full Price
Whenever you can, start at discount stores to update your wardrobe. They are a great place to school shop and you might even find some awesome vintage pieces. One of my favorite stores does Facebook lives every week and allows online purchases of their items.
Shop Thrift Stores – This is great for shirts and jeans, sometimes even shoes. Check to make sure there are no holes, and the clothes don’t look worn out.
Consignment stores – Bargain shop at your local stores for clothes. They usually weed out the worn out clothes and even they will have sales on their clothes. You can even make a little cash selling your clothes here too.
If you can’t buy thrift, buy on sale – As an example, Kohl’s is great for sales and Kohls cash. Sometimes shopping online you can take advantage of coupons and do store pick up. This works great if you don’t have to try the clothes on. Target has coupons as well, so be sure to sign up for their app to save.
Shop online and look at the clearance items first. If you can’t find it on sale, search online for the same item, to see if you can get it elsewhere, cheaper.
Shop Off Season – If your kids aren’t growing like weeds, buying clothes off season is a great way to buy (and for yourself). Stores will mark down the current season clothes and you can get them on clearance. Do watch what you get, my kids have said they liked something, only to hate it when it’s time to wear it a year later.
Buying Office Supplies
Office Supplies – These go on sale when the kids to back to to school. Stock up on the sale items. And then after school starts, go back to the store 2 weeks later. They are starting to mark things down, to make room for the next sale. You might be able to pick up office furniture on a deal and more supplies.
Socks and Underwear – These tend to be on sale near back to school time, so take advantage of the price.
Shopping for Furniture & Home Decor
You can save a lot of money when you shop second hand stores. Sometimes pieces may be perfect to go into your décor, while others may need a little sanding and paint to make them part of your décor.
Shop Second Hand First – You can sometimes fine great deals at a 60% discount when you shop second hand. There are vintage stores (Which may be pricey for used). Discount stores, like Volunteers of America you can find some furniture, lamps, beds. Go with the intent on getting something then. Not all stores will hold items for you, but ask.
Check Out Garage Sales & Estate Sales – I have gotten some nice furniture from estate sales. Garage sales are also great for your bargain hunters looking for many house hold items.
Complete Your Kitchen
If you find that you are missing things to complete your kitchen, shopping thrift may be the way to go.
You can save money and look for items for students, things to do DIY projects with and finding vintage kitchen items.
I love plates and dishes, so finding beautiful patterns. You can even find sets of dishes and bowls at great discounted prices.
Shopping your baking sheets, pans and storage containers is possible as well. And if you don’t find everything you need, come back in a few days to your favorite stores, inventory is always changing.
Find awesome and unique items for the holidays in the kitchenware aisle and hopefully in a holiday section. And don’t forget to look for costumes, wedding and prom dresses!
Don’t forget to declutter and take items you no longer need and list them online to sell or donate them to local shops, like Volunteers of America.
Whether it’s in person or an online purchase, you do not need to pay full price to decorate, clothe or buy groceries for your home. Use these bargain shopping tips and you can save money to go pay bills, save for a trip or whatever your goal is.
Let us know what you do to save money and your best bargain shopping tip.