I haven’t blogged in a very long time. I find it easiest to blog in times of sorrow and without too much sorrow these days I haven’t felt inspiration to write anything worthy of being read by the public.
Today I got an idea, however, to do a blog on my money saving tips. Everyone likes to save money and I think saving where you can is smart, no matter who you are. Saving money isn’t always easy because it can require waiting to buy something until it goes on sale or shopping around for the best deal before you buy. I am going to do a list of what i think are best ways save, please comment if you have others!
1. Use coupons!!!! I used to think I was above coupons until I realized I am definitely not above saving money! Coupons are readily available all over the place. My favourite sites are smartcanucks.ca and save.ca for the best up to date info on the latest opportunities to save. Another great thing to realize is that most brands offer regular coupons for their products, for instance Procter and Gamble, who have a large line of products, have a site called brandsaver.ca and will mail you the coupons you tell them you want and sometimes even free samples. Stores used to be more confused when I brought in printed off coupons but now it seems to be more normal for them to see. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets the coupon books in the mail, look at them before you throw them out — these are often the same ones you can get online but sometimes they are different. The key is though is to remember that even if there is a coupon if it isn’t something you need, don’t buy it — coupons can tend to draw people towards buying things they normally wouldn’t and that makes couponing counter productive.
2. Shop around!!! Some people say they don’t have time or they couldn’t be bothered to do their research and that is how stores make their money. Retailers know that many people don’t know what the price is elsewhere because they just want to go to one store get everything they need and be done. For some people this might be necessary, or it might not matter, but for those of us who want to keep as much of our money in our own pockets shopping around is key. For instance we know where our yogurt, coffee and cereal are least expensive so we usually make a trip to grab those items and other things that might not differ much in price from another store and then do the rest of our shopping elsewhere. Obviously too much shopping around could be a waste of your time and gas if you drive from store to store to buying the best deals but it never hurts to know where to get the best deals.
Shoes and electronics are definite things you should shop around for. Luckily if you have a specific item or place in mind you can easily do a search online for price ideas. Most “name brand” shoes and electronics are carried by various retailers so you have different choices as to where you can buy what you are looking for. Stores are always having unique sales so make sure if you have something specific you want to buy that you see who sells it and how much each store has it on sale for at the time you want to buy it. If there is no price difference at the time you want to buy then choose the store you prefer or better yet, the one you can collect some kind of loyalty points at — Sport Check, Shoe Company and Visions for Airmiles, Best Buy for BB Rewards, etc.
3. Never pay retail for most of electronics, household items, beauty products, toiletries, furniture, appliances or over the counter pharmacuticals. All of these things (which is most things) go on sale ALL the time. The key to making sure you get a good deal is being patient, obviously there are times you might be in need and can’t wait, but most times you can.
Toilet paper is regular about $12 but usually once a month Shoppers and Safeway have it on sale for $5 — that’s huge savings on something you use a lot and just flush down the drain. Another huge potential savings is on laundry detergent and fabric softener. Laundry essentials go on sale regularily, just like almost everything, and it’s often for up to 50% off the regular price. Other great deals you see all the time include cleaners, like Lysol, Method and Mr. Clean, various brands of soap, body wash, toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant, all marked down at least $2-4. The best thing to do when these types of things are on sale is to stock up with a month or two supply while they are on sale so you have enough to last until they go back on sale. It’s extra savvy if you can manage to find a coupon to use while they’re also on sale.
Over the counter meds can be quite costly, especially for those of us who have allergies. Luckily for us, over the counter pharmacuticals like Tylenol, Reactine, Claratin, Aleeve and even vitamins go on sale regularily as well — they even usually have online coupons!
Some say that shopping at the Walmart and Superstores of the world are the best ways to save on that stuff anyway, no need to worry about Shopper’s or Safeway because they are too expensive. I usually buy from Walmart or Superstore if the product isn’t on sale and I really need it, because their regular prices are usually always the lowest, but Safeway and Shopper’s sale prices are generally the best you can get.
Name brand beauty products usually sell for the same price at all vendors, it doesn’t vary much unless they go on sale. Shopper’s beauty boutiques can have 30-40% off some of their top brand names like Vichy, Roc, La Roche Possay, etc. so look out for them and stock up on the expensive products you need while the going is good! Why pay $30 for your cleanser when you can pay $20?
For bigger ticket items, any of you who can’t afford to, or don’t want to, spend the kind of money Pottery Barn and the like charge for furniture, or you are intimidated about needing a new fridge, remember that there are stores like The Brick, Leon’s and even Sears that have a variety of products always going on sale. Promotions for furniture and appliances are always happening and you can usually barter a bit at the Brick and Leon’s or get better pricing when you bundle things (ie: washer and dryer; fridge and stove; couch and love seat).
Electronics, like everything else listed above, are always going on sale as well. TVs, computers, tablets, video games — you name it, it will likely go on sale. If you can wait a couple of weeks to buy a new TV you could save big. Stores bank on impusle buying and if you can be the opposite of an impulse buyer you will save yourself a lot of money. You should usually always choose Best Buy as well. Best Buy will match the price of any store that has the product cheaper, which rarely happens for me because they’re usually always cheapest, and the process is generally painless. Another great thing about Best Buy is that if you buy a product that goes on sale or is marked down even less than you bought it for you have 30 days to get the difference refunded. I bought my boyfriend a video game he wanted for Christmas that cost $60 and I went in a week before Christmas to see it marked down to $40. I went to the customer service desk, didn’t even have my recipt just the credit card I paid with, and they found my transaction and refunded me $20 — I do suggest having a receipt to ensure you get your refund though.
4. Try not to pay retail for clothes and shoes either. As a woman it is hard to resist a cute shirt or nice pair of boots but shopping is one of the worst hobbies you can have, especially when it’s on clothes and shoes. I used to buy all kinds of expensive clothes and shoes, and although sometimes it’s good to pay for quality you can over pay for a lot of crap too. Stores like Smart Set, Fairweather, Le Chateau & GAP have some really over priced items. What makes the overpricing worse is that when they mark them down they are generally a fraction of the price, how crappy does it make you feel when a top you spent $60 on gets marked down to $25 or even just $40? The best part is a lot of these shirts end up getting snags or those micro holes we never know how we get and the lifetime of that $60 shirt is cut short. Unless you need an outfit for something specific or you just have money to burn, watch your clothes and shoes spending and watch for the sales. My favourite store to get sales on name brand clothes is The Bay. The Bay always has something on sale but when they have Bay Days or seasonal clearances the mark downs are up to 70% off! I’ve gotten $140 Ralph Lauren dresses for $40, $60 bathing suit tops for $20, $90 pants for $26, $110 BCBG dress for $30… and the list goes on. Why pay more when you can be patient and pay less? Also remeber not to buy just because it’s on sale! How many of us buy something because it’s on sale and never wear it? Always be selective, even with sale items, don’t lower your standards just increase your awareness to pricing.
5. Don’t stay faithful to brands or retailers. Sorry to tell you but as loyal as you are there is no trophy at the end of 5 years to thank you for being a loyal shopper. We are all just another number to most retailers and as helpful as staff can be, you’re still not getting anything out of being loyal. If the same product is cheaper somewhere else, go there. If Purex is $4.99 and you usually use Royal but it’s regular price at $12, buy the damn Purex!
Some people do need to use specific products due to allergies or like to use specific products because of preference but most of us don’t have allergies and preference is subjective. For most things, brand doesn’t make a difference and for people with allergies there are still coupons and sales for your items!!
6. Don’t be afraid to shop online. Sometimes online shopping is an even better deal than in store sales because often times you can also find online promo codes that will give you further discounts than the already marked down pricing that you would get in store. One of my favourite sites, bargainmoose.ca, usually has the most reliable codes but sometimes the retailer’s Facebook or Twitter accounts will provide special codes to their followers beyond those you find on savvy saving websites. Make sure you are getting free shipping to make the online purchase worth it though — or find a free shipping code! Indigo usually has really awesome online pricing.