1. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. At first, it may be uncomfortable, but quite often people are willing to drop their price by a small percentage to keep a sale, especially in today’s economy. Remember, it only takes a second or two to ask and you may be financially rewarded. If not, you have three choices: you can pay the asking price, shop elsewhere, or come back in a week or so and try again. Usually the longer an item hasn’t sold, the more willing a salesperson may be to negotiate. Also, try to negotiate with a manager. Often a salesperson does not have the authority to make an adjustment.
2. Don’t shop for an item when you really need it. If you have time to shop around, you are likely to find a better price by comparison shopping.
3. Look over your big financial costs at home. It is easy to get comfortable with your current insurance companies and phone companies. However, if you are willing to comparison shop periodically, you can often find a better deal. Don’t forget to shop mortgage rates now and then too.
4. Many companies are losing long-term customers on non-essential items and services today. If you are willing to forego your newspaper, lawn service, or fur coat storage, you may be surprised to be offered a better deal. Some companies may offer reduced rates to keep your patronage and others may throw in perks such as free delivery that they charged for in the past.
5. Spend a little less on beauty services. If you normally get a manicure or pedicure a couple times a month, opt for a polish change half the time instead or look into getting services from a beauty school if there is one in your area. Even cheaper, polish your nails at home.
6. Be willing to barter. The internet has barter message boards and you may be able to exchange services.
7. Make sure that you are really using the items you are purchasing. Some people enjoy shopping. Others enjoy season tickets to ballgames or plays. Are you really wearing what you buy? If not, return it if it is not worn in two weeks. Are you struggling to sell your tickets at the last minute? Are you purchasing the season tickets because you want to see a particular game or two or because you really enjoy going to every game? If you are struggling to use the items, maybe it is time to evaluate whether to purchase an isolated game or play as opposed to the whole series.
8. Are you using your large appliances efficiently? Are you running partial loads of dishes and laundry? The cycle costs the same to run no matter what you put in it. You can also contact your electric company and ask if there are times when the charge for electrical use is cheaper.
9. If you are carrying a large credit card balance, transfer money to an interest free card. If you have an interest free card and expect the rate to go up, call the company and ask for an extension. Some companies will extend your interest free rate for several months if you ask.
10. Be willing to shop at more than one grocery store or be flexible about your purchases. Sales vary so you can get the best deals by reading circulars and shopping where the sales best meet your needs. Stock up on items that are not perishable when you see competitive prices and don’t forget to use coupons. When you purchase items with rebates, take care of the rebates immediately before you forget.
11. Take advantage of low cost and free community activities.
12. Unplug electronics when you are not using them since many of them have lights or clocks that continue to use electricity even when the item is not used for its primary use.
13. Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones because the cost of recharging them is cheaper than replacing them.
14. Lower your thermostat by one degree in the winter and raise it by one degree in the summer.
15. Take advantage of your local library. Books and magazines are expensive. If you must have a subscription, ask for a reduced rate. Almost all magazines offer discounted rates and you can exchange with a friend who subscribes to a different magazine.
16. Pay your bills online or use automatic debit and your postage bill will be minimal.
17. If you need a tutor, contact a guidance counselor, who may be able to recommend a high school student.
18. Learn to say, “No!” All too often, you have seen the parent who initially refuses to buy an item for a child. If your children know you won’t give in, the temper tantrums stop, and your wallet will have more. Better yet, don’t take the kids shopping.
19. Use medical staff and physicians in your insurance network.
20. Buy generic prescriptions and shop pharmacies because prices vary. Many prescriptions are available via mail order at a cheaper