3 unexpected ways to save money

Are you spending more money at the store than you'd like, and not saving enough for a rainy day? Read these helpful and easy tips to help you become a pro penny pincher.

3 unexpected ways to save money

1. Become a pro shopper

  • Educate yourself: An ancient lost art will put thousands of dollars into your pocket every year. Here's what to do: establish a specific price in your mind—let's say $20—and anytime you're going to buy an item that costs more than this amount, first thoroughly educate yourself about the product, urges Alan Zell, a retail expert in Portland, Oregon, who calls himself "the ambassador of selling."
  • Take your time: Long ago, shoppers researched the difference between quality brands and poorly made brands. They learned to recognize high prices and bargains. They thought long and hard over their purchases before they put their money on the counter. Shopping carefully like this has become a lost art nowadays, and that's how businesses like it! Stores are more than happy for you to simply grab whichever item is convenient, since you often give them more of your money than you would if you took a little time to make a well-informed purchase.

Remember: stores are professionals at selling you stuff. Level the playing field by becoming a pro at shopping. Once the price passes $20, give all purchases your full attention.

2. Pay some bills in big chunks

  • Are you still paying bills every month? Put your chequebook away so you can save your time—and money.
  • Many of the service companies you pay regularly, such as your insurance or lawn maintenance, may charge you a lower fee if you pay every six months or annually rather than monthly. Always ask the service provider if you can lower your charge by paying in big chunks once or twice a year. If you can get a discount this way, take it! Not only will you save money on the service, but you'll save time and money on filling out cheques and buying postage stamps.

3. Learn the skill of negotiation

  • In plenty of locales around the world, the price tag on an item is merely the starting point — you then discuss a more reasonable price with the store owner.
  • Make haggling a regular part of your shopping experience, urge Toronto-based Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic, bargain-hunting hosts of the TV show The Shopping Bags and authors of The Shopping Bags: Tips, Tricks, and Inside Information to Make You a Savvy Shopper. You'll be astounded how often retailers will give a discount in order to make a sale, they say.
  • Tip: Look for a small imperfection in the item—perhaps a bouquet of flowers looks less than fresh—and ask for a discount. However, never name the discount you'd like. Just ask for a better price and let the salesperson toss out a figure. When you name the price, you may be offering a figure that's higher than the salesperson would suggest.
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