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How to Save Money around the House

June 24, 2011

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If you’re on a strict budget (and who isn’t?), every little savings helps. Whether you’re buying small, everyday items like toothpaste to special items like purses, you can save money with these tips:

  • Buy in Bulk

For items like toilet paper and paper towels, buying in bulk can be the best option, and it can save you money. However, a note of caution about buying in bulk: if the item expires, make sure that you really will use it quickly. An example of this is makeup. Although may warehouse clubs sell makeup in bulk, keep in mind that these items do expire, and using them after they expire is just asking for trouble. Instead, if you want to buy your makeup in “bulk,” look for a friend willing to split the price or look for kits that include a number of pieces, rather than just 30 tubes of the same color of lipstick.

Keep in mind also that this is not always the best deal. Be the smart consumer and carry a calculator. Break down the price per piece or price per ounce to see if you really will save, and don’t forget to take into account that you often have to pay an annual membership fee to access the warehouse club deals.

  • Know When You Favorites have their Annual Sales

Most stores, especially those selling clothing, have a few items on sale all of the time.  However, most stores also have one or two large sales events every year, and at those times, absolutely everything in the store is discounted. You can really stock up on some great name-brand items for 70% off if you hit the sales at the right times.

One of the most famous examples of this is the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale, held every January and June. Nordstrom’s “half-yearly” sales are also popular, with the Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids in June and November and the Half-Yearly Sale of Men in June and December. They also have an annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale each July, and you won’t just find last season’s fashions at these sales—they have new merchandise at highly discounted prices as well.

Your favorite store probably also has an annual or semi-annual sales date. Just ask! Even if they aren’t as famous as at Victoria’s Secrets or Nordstrom, you can still pick up some excellent bargains during these events. Remember, shop early if you can. Otherwise, the good items will be gone before you get there, and the shelves probably won’t be restocked until the sale is over, and then you’ll pay full price.

  • Clip those Coupons

I know it’s a bit time consuming, but clipping coupons really can save you money, and not just on your groceries. Weekly coupons are also available for makeup, toiletries, and even clothing items if you’re lucky. Work on a week-by-week basis, making sure to carefully note the expiration dates on the coupons and the sizes of items you have to buy for the discount to be valid.

You can find coupons in two main places: in your Sunday newspaper and online. If you don’t get the newspaper, purchasing the Sunday version only may be a great idea, simply because you’ll save more in coupons than you will spend buying the paper. You can also ask a friend or family member to save their coupons for you after they’re done. The best coupons might be gone, but everyone’s looking for different items, so you still will find a few that you can use. Online coupons can be great, but retailers are aware of the many, many scams with coupons. If you print off of the Internet, make sure that the store where you shop takes these printed coupons. Some simply do not, because they don’t have time to train their employees to spot the frauds.

Double up on your coupons by buying when the item is on sale as well. This is best done with makeup at a grocery store. Some stores even offer what are called “double coupons” or “triple coupons.” These allow you to double or triple the savings of any coupon you hold. Let’s say you have a coupon for $1 off of mascara that originally costs $10. If you wait until that mascara is on sale, you’ll only pay $8, and only $7 with your coupon. If you have a triple coupon, you’ll only pay $5. You just saved 50%!

No matter what how much you spend on items around the house, remember to protect your purchase with a renter’s insurance policy. This type of policy ensures that you’ll be reimbursed for any damages due to natural disasters, theft, and vandalism.

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