This Saving Money Super Page contains a growing list of tips for saving money on everyday expenses!
This Page contains tips for saving money including: using cash; tracking sales cycles; bartering; negotiating; shopping on CraigsList and military discounts.
The Windfalls Plan Really Works!
One of the first MoneySmartFamily.com articles I read was about Windfalls. I found it interesting and told my husband about it that same night.
We both wrote down 5 things we each wished for. Some things on our lists were the same, some were not. We combined these and added debt payoff (50%) and charities (giving -10%). I typed the list up with a prayer at the bottom. Within 3.5 months my husband received 2 raises at work and we received 2 windfalls totaling $10,700.00, all completely unexpected!!!!!!
We completely paid off credit card debt and achieved a couple of our windfall goals.
Our other goals now have nice starting points too. It was so wonderful to know exactly where the money would go before it came in. No stress. No arguments or debates. It was all written down.
My husband also received 3 gift cards to local dinner spots and one to a movie theater. We were able to treat the whole family to an afternoon at the movies, something we almost never do.
We have been so amazed at the blessings and prosperity that has come our way recently. I absolutely love your newsletter. We have always been pretty good at keeping our debt down but we’ve been very “reactive” to our monthly paychecks. Not proactive at all. Your two most recent newsletters helped me so much. I am so motivated to get these accounts going. I have dedicated this year to making our finances proactive and to work for us. Thank you, thank you so much! Kelly – Glendale, AZ
Editors’ Note: The 3-minute interview below describes our windfall plan in more detail, and so does this blog post called Windfalls: Bonus or Bust?
Target Savings with Rain Checks
Here are several tips for smarter shopping at Target. Target offers rain checks for most items that go on sale, whether the item is sold out at the moment or not. They allow a substitution of a similar item with the same percentage off as the sale item. We use this to our advantage by obtaining a rain check on an item. Then, we pick out an item that is similar but less expensive and use the discount from the rain check. Keep in mind rain checks do expire. Also, if you purchase something full price (God forbid!) and see that it has now gone on sale, you can take your receipt back to the store and get the difference back if it’s been less than 2 weeks since the initial purchase. Audra Roes – Chattanooga, TN
Online Savings 1, 2, 3
Here are four ways to ensure you get the best deal possible
- Test Go to the larger department stores to have a demonstration of the product you are researching. Be sure, particularly with computer printers regarding speed and consumable costs.
- Research Go home and do a search on the internet for the specific model you tested.
- Verify the on-line store. I only buy from reputable on-line stores that are located in my country – this way I can phone them first if I have any questions or doubts about their service.
- Compare prices and you’ll find vast differences – as a result, you can save much, much more. And, they courier to your door – sometimes at no charge.
By following these four steps I’ve found savings in excess of 30 percent with a full guarantee. D. Eller – Australia
Speak Up For Cash
I like to pay with cash instead of using other methods. However, there have been several times when I’ve run into difficulties at a store or restaurant when paying the cashier. After I’ve handed them a twenty-dollar bill, they’ll forget what I’ve given them and start making change for a ten! They swear that I only gave them a ten! This is really frustrating. Since it’s my word against theirs, the business always seemed to win. So, I came up with an alternative strategy when paying. Now when I pay the bill with a twenty, I say OUT LOUD, “And here Sir (or Ma’am) is my Twenty-Dollar-Bill that I’m paying with.” I say this loud enough for my wife and usually several others to hear. No more mishaps and everyone stays honest. In all fairness, there are many “quick change” artists that do pay with a ten and insist that it was a twenty, so I can understand the retailers’ caution. Curtis G. – Spokane, WA
Sales Tracker for Saving Money
I keep a 12-month calendar in a 3 ring binder. Regularly I make notes of sales with dates and other finds I come across. After the first year of doing this, I started my second calendar. Now, each month I look back at the previous year in anticipation of what sales should be coming up each month. This gives me a good idea of when to shop for certain items or at certain stores. Jennifer G. – Norfolk, VA
Electronics Component Compatibility
If you purchase electronics and want to purchase an additional accessory, later on, take the owner’s manual(s) with you to the store so the salesperson will know exactly what you’re working with. This is especially helpful if you go to a different store and will give you a better chance of having all of the components working together. Jennifer Dahl – Bayard, IA
Barter, It’s Smarter!
I am surprised I haven’t seen a tip on your website about bartering. I’ve found it to be a terrific way to save money. I make quilts (crib size to king size) and am always looking for ways to use my quilting as a bartering tool. Recently I placed an ad on a local free website offering to barter a quilt for someone laying flooring in our RV. I received replies from several interested people. I have bartered quilts for massages and other things our family might need. It works great. You could even barter kids school uniforms-someone willing to trade size 6 uniform pants (4 pairs) in great shape for several size 8 shirts, etc. Bartering is a terrific tool. Jean Kester – Tolleson, AZ
Cheaper Technology Buys
My husband and I never buy new technology. We wait a few years for the glitches to be worked out, the size to decrease, and the price to go down. Then we buy on sale. Never pay full price for anything! Steven & Chrissy – Phoenix, AZ
I was in the military for several years and one thing that military people should always ask is “Do you offer a military discount?” Many companies and stores offer these types of discounts, but you have to ask. Also, we always took advantage of shopping at the military commissary and the exchange retail store. Laura L. – Houston, TX
Editors’ Note: If you’re are current military or retired military, you’ll want to read this blog about VetTix discounts and deals.
Low-Ball on Craigslist
In a past issue, one of your readers commented on the benefit of Craigslist. We agree wholeheartedly! We purchased a very nice treadmill and a like-new baby crib for hundreds of dollars less than their original owners paid. One trick we’ve employed is bargaining just before the listing expires. Craigslist ads in our area are limited to one week before they have to be re-posted. Most sellers don’t want to field emails for another week or bother with re-posting their item, so we found that making a “low-ball” offer on items we want a day or two before they are about to expire, is a great way to get some awesome deals.
Susan and Stephen – Falls Church, VA
One great way to save money is to negotiate the price you’re willing to pay. We’ve negotiated at the grocery store, thrift store, universities, with people selling their own appliances, cars and with our own family members — especially for Halloween candy. These quotes below express how we view negotiating.
Bottom Line on Price Tracking
Every time you put away your groceries, put the price you paid on the bottom of the product. That way you will always know the price you paid and I try to always beat that price. It keeps me focused and I never forget prices. Marsha Munter – Hickman, Nebraska
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In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
Chester L. Karrass
My father said: “You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.
J. Paul Getty
Necessity never made a good bargain.
Quite often, your indifference can be the greatest negotiating weapon you have.
You must be fully prepared to lose a great deal in order to make a great deal.
Collected by Steve Economides – Scottsdale, AZ
If you have a money making tip or trick, please leave it in the comments below and we’ll review it for posting on this page.