Over the years I've learned a lot about how to budget and make a dollar go much further. I often get asked what my "secret" is The truth is I don't have a specific secret, but rather some "rules" I've learned along the way and have implemented into my buying practices.
Watch The Flyers Before, And After, You Buy
While most of us are great with watching flyers before we make a purchase, how many of us look for the items we have bought in a flyer after its already been paid for and picked up? You might not do it, but it's a great way to save money. Most stores have a policy that if the price drops within 30 days of your purchase they will give you the discount. So after making a purchase I'll keep my eyes peeled on the flyers for the next couple of weeks. Last summer I got $50 back on one thing I bought and another time got a whole bunch of free accessories for a camera when they offered the deal two weeks after I had bought it. It pays to keep your eyes open.
Know Your Prices
Many people don't realize that there is something called the scanning code of practice that can be a consumers best friend. Here's how it works: some of the big box stores, such as Walmart and Canadian Tire, signed the scanning code of practice as a way of keeping themselves accountable for accuracy when it comes to the prices that are "scanned in" for items you're buying. That said if you are in the checkout line and you notice the price that has been scanned is wrong all you have to do is mention the scanning code of practice and if the item is under $10 you get it free. If it's over $10 you get $10 off the purchase. I can't tell you how much money I've saved with this. I've gotten free DVD's, money off fishing equipment, even free groceries. It's a great system because not only do get the item for the price it should be, but you get up to $10 off. Plus by saying something you let the store know that something is wrong with their system and then they have incentive to fix it for other shoppers who might be unknowingly paying more for their purchases.
Make Your Credit Cards Work For You
While I'm not an advocate of using credit cards when you can't pay the balance when the bill is due, I do use them regularly for my everyday purchases. When you have the right cards you can make them work for you when you do this. It all comes in choosing the right cards to use for your purchases. For example, I have one card that gives me a discount every time I fill up my gas tank at their pumps. So just by paying at the pump and using their card to do so I save a couple of dollars every time I fill 'er up and it does add up. Another card I got gives me a certain percentage of cash back at the end of the year. Where with points you might never get enough to cash in, with this system I get actual money back every year. This year I got enough cash to cover two roundtrip tickets of airfare- no complaints there!
48 Hour Rule
I have a "48 hour rule" that I live by. So what is the 48 hour rule? If I see something that I want in the store or online that isn't an essential purchase I make myself wait 48 hours before buying. This reduces a lot of regret purchases as after time passes often the excitement or impulse disappears.
Ask Myself The Best Question Ever
In his series "The Best Question Ever" Andy Stanley teaches how to avoid making foolish decisions and much of it wraps around a very simple question: is this the wise thing to do? I've found asking myself this question before making purchasing decisions especially saves me a lot of heartache and regret. When the time came for me to buy my first vehicle I asked the best question ever and decided that instead of using my savings as a down payment on a new vehicle the wise thing for me to do at the time was to save up until I had enough for the full price of a second hand vehicle. For me in the place I was financially at the time, that was the course of action to take and I've been so thankful many times over that the only payment I have to make as far as my vehicle is concerned is insurance and gas. For you the wise thing to do might be different. That's why it's the best question ever- it's something that we can apply to our own lives based on our past, present and future circumstances.
So do you have any secrets to saving money? If so, please share!