10 Tips to Save Money Shopping

10 tips to save money shoppingI grew up frugal, and understanding the value of money.  I work hard for what I earn, and I don’t want to waste it.  Here are my top 10 tips for saving money shopping.  If you’re looking for apps and websites to help you have money, check out my post on that topic!

10 Tips to Save Money Shopping
  1. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it or really want it.  Easy. If you’re clothes shopping and find something that is just ok, don’t buy it.  It doesn’t matter how great the price is, if you buy it and never wear it, it was a waste of every penny you paid for it.  
  2. Buy store brand products.  You may end up spending a lot more money to always buy name brand products.  If you are willing to buy any brand, check out your local store brands.  I almost always get better prices on store brand items than name brand, even if there is a sale or coupon for the name brand item. 
  3. Coupon carefully.  Manufacturers provide coupons to entice buyers who otherwise may not buy their product.  If you don’t have a need or use for the product, you’re still spending money that you don’t need to be spending, even if you had a coupon!  I’ve also found that even with coupons on manufacturer products, generic/store brand are still often less expensive.
  4. Shop with a list.  Create a shopping list before you go into a store, and stick to your list.  This will help you avoid impulse purchases.  I find this particularly helpful when I go food shopping when hungry.  (Be aware that some exceptions are ok.  Today I was in the grocery store and saw the containers of organic baby spinach and mixed greens.  Upon seeing it I remembered I was out at home and had forgotten to put it on the list, so I bought it.)
  5. Learn what a “good price” is for items you commonly purchase.  I have a general idea what the prices are for things I regularly purchase, including produce, pasta, yogurt, and eggs.  I keep an eye on the grocery store circulars (you can get them electronically all in one place using the Flipp app) and try to purchase the items I need from the store with the best price that week.  There are also some items for which I will not pay more than a certain amount, so if I am out shopping and the item (like fresh blueberries) is above my threshold, I just wait a week and check again.  
  6. Shop sales. Check those circulars, especially for non-perishables and frozen items.  Stock up when you can get the best prices.  And plan your meals around produce and other items that are on sale that week!
  7. Buy in bulk when practical.  Many grocery stores have “stock up sales” where common non-perishable items are on sale.  This is a good time to evaluate what foods you and your family consistently eat, and how much space you have to store these items.  Before purchasing during these sales, be sure to confirm that you’re actually getting a good price!  The stores advertise these big sales, but not everything that is discounted may be the best price you’ll see that month.  If there is a good sale any time of year, it’s a good opportunity to stock up on things you’ll use!  
  8. Consider warehouse stores.  Depending on how much your family will actually shop at warehouse stores (like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Sam’s Club), it may be worth the annual membership cost to become a member and shop there.  Walk through the store to see what they sell before purchasing a membership.  I can save almost $10 on a year supply of allergy medication at BJ’s, compared to purchasing anywhere else.  This savings alone is 20% of the cost of an annual membership.  Combined with the other items I will purchase in a year, it may be advantageous for me to have a membership.
  9. Shop at discount stores.  Aldi has been spreading into New England in the past several years.  I was cautious at first but have had really good luck finding bargains on quality food.  Another great thing about Aldi- all of their store brand products are free from artificial colors and flavors and other chemical addatives.  
  10. Shop at salvage grocery stores.  These are more common in Europe than the US, but you can find some in the US.  In salvage stores you’ll often find products nearing or beyond expiration, damaged containers, etc.  The food is safe – these stores are still regulated by the government.  Definitely be picky when shopping here – I avoid foods with oil if it is beyond expiration since it can go rancid, but I have had good luck with things like pasta, canned goods, and items sealed in glass jars.  A couple years ago I found Luna bars for $0.10 each.  In regular stores they go on sale for $1.00 each.  This was quite a bargain!  I’ve also seen some fantastic prices on good quality pet food.  Salvage stores I know about in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area are The Auction Store in Swansea, MA, and Frugal Frank’s in Fall River, MA. 

These are my top 10 ways to save money shopping.  To me they are simple tips to keep in mind to save a few cents or a few dollars here and there.  Be sure to check out my post about money saving and money making apps and websites!

Do you have any tips or tricks to save money shopping?

Great Money Making and Money Saving Apps and Websites

I have found many websites and apps that help save money when making purchases, or otherwise help make money by doing simple tasks.  While none of these will make you rich fast or replace income from a regular job, it can be a nice supplement.  Since I am always looking for ways to save, I love these little ways to save/make money.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register with a website/app using these links.  There is no cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

Great money make and money saving apps and websites

  1. Swagbucks

    Swagbucks is my favorite way to make money online.  Through this money making app and website, you complete activities to earn points, which can be redeemed for gift cards.  There are many ways to earn points through the app and the website, including taking surveys, watching videos, clicking links from the Swagbucks website to retailer websites before making a purchase, and more. I use the app on my phone and have it play videos when I’m not using my phone.  When on my computer I play videos in the background or click through other activities.  Every day there is a “Daily Goal” of points to earn, and you get a bonus if you complete that goal.  You get more bonus points if you meet your goal for 7, 14, 21 consecutive days, or all days in a month. Using this app I make about $50-$75/ month in gift cards.  Examples of gift cards available are Amazon; various restaurants; airlines; cruise lines; gas stations; retail stores  including clothing, drug, pet, and electronics stores; and more. 

  2. Ebates 

    Ebates allows you to earn cash back shopping at online retailers when you navigate to the retailer website through the Ebates website or app.  Earnings are paid every 3 months, as long as you have earned over $5 during the previous quarter.  My first year using this site I earned over $70.  More recently I have earned slightly less, as I shop around to determine which website provides the most cash back from my purchase (see items 1 and 6 in this list).  Overall it is still a great money saving app/website.

  3. Receipt Hog

    This is a money saving app for your smartphone.  With this app, you just take pictures of all your store receipts. Everything, except gas and restaurant receipts, is worth points; receipts not eligible for points are eligible for “spins” which may results in points. When you earn enough points you can cash it in for Amazon gift cards, money to your Pay Pal account, or magazine subscriptions. 

  4. Ibotta

    Ibotta is a money saving app has rebates for specific retailers.  There are many grocery  and drug stores as well as other retailers such as clothing and electronics. After making a purchase, you scan the barcode of the eligible product then take a picture of your receipt.  This app mostly has rebates for brand name products, but most weeks there are one or more “any brand” produce, dairy, and/or meat items, which is where I make most of my money with this app.  

  5. Checkout 51

    This is another money saving app like ibotta, but rebates can either be for a specific store or any store. I like this one because every week there is at least 1 “pick your own” offer for $0.25 off one of 4 or 5 produce items. The other items are name brand so I use those less frequently.  

  6. Bank and Credit Card Reward Websites

    Bank and credit card reward websites.  Many credit card companies have websites that will give you cash back on purchased when you navigate to online retailer websites and make a purchase (like how you earn cash back with Ebates, and one way to earn points with Swagbucks.  Navy Federal Credit Union has a Member Mall for credit card customers.  Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards has a shopping page for credit card customers.  

  7. RetailMeNot.com

    Retailmenot.com is my favorite website for finding coupon codes and printable coupons for online and brick-and-mortar stores.  Almost everywhere I shop has a page on retailmenot, and I have never found a coupon that was NOT on the retailmenot page.  This is my one stop shop for online coupons!

 Do you have other apps or websites that you like to use to save or earn money?