8/16/08 -
Shopping Tips for Budget Living by Linda Hatton

For women that have chosen to leave the work force to become stay-at-home-moms, a recession may compel some to consider rejoining the job market.  Lowering monthly expenses may help maintain SAHM survival.  Finding a bargain in a tight economy is possible; all it takes is a little effort and creativity.

Before making that transition back into the work force, first try cutting costs by taking advantage of clearance racks, coupons and thrift shopping.

Clearance Shopping

  • Watch for after-Christmas clearance sales and buy ahead for your yearly gifts. For example, if you know you will need a birthday present in June, buy it at up to 90 percent savings in January.
  • If you visit the store before the clearance sale is announced, ask a store clerk when the sale is scheduled to start.  Additionally while you are there, scan items for price checks on items you are interested in.  Sometimes stores change the price in the computer before they announce the sale.
  • Make a habit of shopping ahead for the next season off the clearance racks, including buying sizes that your kids will grow into.
  • If an item is missing a piece – for instance, a suit is missing the jacket or if a package is missing or damaged – ask for an extra discount.  Many stores follow this policy to clear out items.

    Coupon Shopping

  • Many stores send additional coupons to their charge card holders.  To avoid paying finance charges, pay the balance off every month.
  • If you visit the store without a coupon, stop by customer service to see if they will give you one for your shopping trip that day.
  • Sign up for on-line newsletters – many stores mail extra coupons to newsletter subscribers.
  • Sign up for on-line coupon sites such as MyBargainBuddy and always check these sites for coupons before making a trip to the store.  You may not even need to leave your house to find what you are looking for.
  • Watch for coupons and then shop with a friend at warehouse stores such as Costco where you can stock up together and save.

    Thrift Shopping

  • Many people give away designer items to thrift stores that can then be purchased for a fraction of the original cost.  Shop during the week to avoid the crowds.
  • Shop early at yard sales and if you see something above your budget, don’t be afraid to offer what you can afford.
  • Visit on-line shopping sites such as eBay and Craigslist for additional bargains or hard to find items.
  • Join your local Freecycle group where you can find things people are giving away, as well as pass on items you no longer use.
  • While these tips are only a starting point for creative budgeting, coupons, clearance sales and thrift shopping can make a huge dent in your yearly expenses.