Saving Money While Shopping…And a $500 Giveaway!

How to Save Money While ShoppingAs someone who has taken careful steps to change my bad financial habits of the past, I make sure to save as much money as possible when spending my hard-earned cash. As far as shopping is concerned, it’s still a bit of a sport to me; but for very different reasons…

I used to be the girl who would shop for sport in terms of making mindless purchases all in the name of having the latest gadgets or fashions. I used to shop when I was bored, with friends as a social outing, when I was stressed, etc, etc, etc.

Now, I’m the girl who makes a sport out of saving money while shopping. I still do shop, but I’m now purchasing necessities and/or items I’ve saved and budgeted for.

Ways I Save Money While Shopping:

Shop Sales & Clearance Racks

I’m not too proud to sift through clearance bins during the semi-annual sale, nor am I too concerned with labels to pass up a well-structured, no-name item that is marked down to pennies on the dollar. Where most may see trash, I’m usually able to find treasure–with a bit of creativity, I’ve been able to style some very cute, unique outfits that have cost me less than $5 for everything I’m wearing.

My biggest haul from a savings rack? Combined with some coupons as I’ll talk about below, I once purchased an entire wardrobe for $483. If I had paid original prices for everything I bought? My total would have been over $3,700!

Coupons

I love coupons, to an extent. You’ll never see me toting around a binder of neatly organized coupons through the grocery store, but you will see me using coupons in clever ways (speaking of grocery shopping, have you read my post about 19 easy changes you can make to cut your grocery bill?). For instance, I once piggy-backed expired coupons at Bed, Bath and Beyond to save an additional $17 off a $25 purchase. I still can’t figure out how that worked so well, but I’m not complaining about paying $8 for something that originally would have cost over $35 had it not been on sale as well!

To find my coupons, I usually look through the weekend circulars (when I have time; this happens maybe once every other month..haha!), read my junk mail (including emails!), and find mobile coupons to load onto my iPhone. I save all coupons I find because I’ve learned, more often than not if you’re polite in your request to a manager, they will usually honor expired coupons.

Staying Realistic

Shopping can still be a challenge for me because I can easily get caught up in the ‘buy, buy, buy’ mentality. Luckily, I’ve created some rules for myself that curb virtually all mindless spending and superfluous purchases.

First, I resolve to only buy what I need rather than what I want. To keep myself on the straight & narrow, I shop with a list and give myself a set amount of time during which I can shop. If the two hours is up, I’m headed home. This may sound extreme, but I’ve found that reducing the amount of time spent in a store is exactly what I need to do to help myself avoid impulse purchases (duh!).

Second, I remind myself of the lies we tell ourselves to rationalize spending. You’ve heard them before or perhaps have said them yourself: “I have no food”–when you’re standing in front of a packed refrigerator or “I have nothing to wear”–when you’re standing in front of your over-stuffed closet. Keeping these tendencies in mind is a great way to keep yourself focused on your goals while shopping or spending in general.

Top PF Blog

Before I get to the giveaway portion of this post, I want to take a minute to ask your help with voting for The Happy Homeowner. I’ve been nominated as one of the Top Personal Finance Blogs of 2012, and I’m thrilled! Please vote for me today–I’d be so happy if you did (just a few clicks; no entries, etc!). :)

$500 Giveaway

Last but not least, I’m excited to be part of another giveaway. Today’s giveaway is for a $500 PayPal cash prize! It is brought to you by Rather-Be-Shopping.com, helping consumers save money with online coupons since 2000.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Photo credit: andrewarchy

The Happy Homeowner

The Happy Homeowner

We're a team of freelancers who are on a mission to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Work from The Happy Homeowner has been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Wisebread, Lifehacker, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Housekeeping Magazine and many other outlets.
The Happy Homeowner

18 thoughts on “Saving Money While Shopping…And a $500 Giveaway!

  • February 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm
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    Great tips and congrats on the nomination! Well deserved.

    I like the set amount of time to shop tip. Although as a guy who does most of my shopping online, 2 hours shopping would probably drive me insane.

    Thanks for participating!
    My recent post Frugal Hack #6: Go Social and Save Money

    Reply
    • February 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm
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      Thanks for organizing :)

      I agree about the online shopping–I'd so much rather shop on Amazon! And I can only really last for 2 hours of shopping anymore only if I'm in Home Depot or bouncing around various home goods stores…hahaha

      Reply
    • February 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm
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      Thanks! I can't imagine spending all that time to be an extreme couponer. Not worth it to me!

      Reply
  • February 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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    I agree with Kyle and the amount of time to shop. As long as you keep yourself to it, it can be a great way to keep the shopping in check so you have less chance to buy something you should not.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2013 at 1:24 pm
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      Absolutely! I have to keep myself in check because it's still far too easy to get carried away…

      Reply
  • February 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm
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    Great tips! I use all of them when I shop :) It' s really important to know what you already have and make mindful purchases.
    My recent post Easy sticky drumsticks.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm
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      Yes–thanks for adding these tips! Knowing what you have is crucial–I still cringe thinking about how I used to shop–I once cleaned out 5 black T-shirts from my closet….3 still with tags on…Oy

      Reply
  • February 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm
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    There is no problem with clearance racks. I hit them up at any store that have them. You never know what you will find.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013 at 9:54 am
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      Exactly! I love seeing what bargains I can find, but only if it's something I truly need

      Reply
  • February 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm
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    I like the idea of Olympic shopping! I love online shopping because I use shopping bots to locate the lowest priced items. Of course, I always locate coupons if available.
    My recent post Rental Property Investing Tips

    Reply
  • February 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm
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    I am so in love with coupons as well. Anyway, Staying Realistic is indeed very nice thing to do when you do shopping. Make sure that you become practical and don't just shop the things that you like.
    My recent post What is a Prestige Joinery?

    Reply
  • February 8, 2013 at 10:49 am
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    I'm trying to get better at combining coupons with sales to make it a really good deal. I think I need to be more patient when it comes to shopping and make sure I wait for those sales.
    My recent post Link Love/Week in Review 2/8/13

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm
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      Patience is key when scoring the big deals. But I've found that once you get into the groove of things, it gets easier to keep saving/combining!

      Reply
  • February 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm
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    Shopping with a plan and sticking to it is one of the best practices I learned. There is a reason you researched and made a plan, so it should be stuck to. I think it has saved me money on numerous occasions, especially in electronics stores!
    My recent post Saving Money on Gas via Shopping Programs

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm
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      Definitely! Why waste all that time you spent planning just to go rogue and blow your budget in the store.

      Reply

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