7 Tips for Shopping Smart

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Yesterday I took the kids to Kohl’s in search of underwear for my potty-training 2-1/2-year-old.  I looked all around, but the only packages I could find (7 pairs) were marked $18.00, and when I took one to the cashier for a price-check, it rang up for $13.99 (or $2.00 per pair).  One of my children wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to forget the underwear and try another store another day.

After checking Target and Walmart on-line, I decided to go to Walmart for underwear today.  I found a 7-pair package for $9.47, and a 6-pair package for $4.66, for a total of $14.13.  Although there were several other sets and combinations I could have chosen, I ended up spending about $1.09 per pair.

When we were done shopping at Walmart, I headed over to Dollar General, because I’d read on-line that if you spent $6 on Suave products, you would get $2 back.  I chose 8 family-size bottles of Suave Shampoo and Conditioner for $1.50 each.  When I was checking out, the Suave products rang up at $1.75 each.  I pointed out the error, and the cashier double-checked the shelf, then adjusted the price.  I got $4 back from the sale, and ended up paying $8.60 for 8 bottles, or $1.08 per bottle.

Here are 7 things you can learn from my shopping adventures:

  1. Have a written budget.  In our family budget, we have envelopes for clothing and groceries.
  2. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right.
  3. Do a little research on-line to find the best price, and save yourself time.
  4. Follow a deal blog (like Money Saving Mom) for the most up-to-date sales, coupons, giveaways, and freebies.
  5. Shop with a list.  Don’t buy extra stuff you don’t need.
  6. Pay attention at the check-out.  Cashiers and stores occasionally make mistakes.
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  I know I could have saved more money by purchasing different underwear at Walmart, but I chose the ones I liked the best and were easiest to distinguish from my older daughters’ clothing when we’re sorting the laundry.

What tips would you give someone hoping to become a smarter shopper?

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