Saving money is like losing weight – we all know what needs to be done, but more often than not we are easily distracted from our end goals and instant gratification wins out over logic and common sense. In celebration of National Coupon Month in September the savings experts and enthusiasts at Valpak have racked their brains to come up with NEW ways to save on the every day items, so you can still afford to do what you love, go shopping for the things you want, and enjoy your life. It comes down to basic planning and a few fresh ideas on cutting corners to help stretch that hard-earned dollar.
30 Creative Ways to Save Money in September (and all year long)
1. Fall is around the corner. ‘Spring clean’ at the start of each season – and take unwanted items to local thrift shops or host a yard sale to help you make money on clothing and items that would otherwise collect dust.
2. Shop the off season. Buy jackets in the summer and grills in the winter.
3. Be a cheap date. Check out what is going on in your area when making plans for the weekend. There are numerous free concerts, museums and events that could be fun with a date or friends.
4. Make a shopping list on your smartphone before you head out to shop for the week. Lists trim impulse buying and make it easier to search for coupons ahead of time. This goes along with menu planning!
5. Never leave a store without giving the clearance aisle a once-over. Plus, many stores even allow you to use coupons on clearance items.
7. Get dialed in to savings. Shop around for the best phone plan for your family – there are a host of options today ranging from monthly plans from traditional phone companies and cable services to pay-per-use options from VoIP telephone services.
8. Transfer prescriptions to pharmacies that offer coupons and loyalty programs.
9. Look for dining deals with an app that shows what’s nearby to cut down on gas consumption. Around town, sensible driving can save 5 percent– up to 24 gallons of gasoline or $91. Two out of three consumers say they have changed the way they purchase, including how and what they buy as a result of high gas prices.
10. Plan your meals at the beginning of the week and utilize your grocery stores’ savings flyers to make the most of your groceries.
11. If you don’t have a coupon, try generic brands of items you buy regularly. One third of consumers have started buying generic brands as opposed to the name brand products, and still find that the products taste/function the same. Personally we love the Wegman’s generic brand of everything!
12. Perform regular maintenance on your vehicles to avoid costly repairs. Many local businesses offer maintenance coupons on tires, oil changes and more so always check for print and online offers before scheduling service visits.
13. Automatically sneak cash into a ‘rainy day fund’ from checking into savings after each pay day – you probably won’t notice it’s missing, and you’ll be saving without even thinking about it.
14. Dine on a dime. After paying off debt, 27 percent of consumers say the next thing they spend their money on is dining out – look for local dining coupons to try new menu items and cut your bill in half.
15. If you’re really thrifty, you can reuse the wax paper liner that cereal comes in. It comes right out of the box and it’s clean.
16. Always check for coupon promo codes before committing to your online shopping purchase.
17. Check daily deals in your area for bargains on everything from the things you need to fun activities for the family, such as martial arts classes and bounce house party rentals.
18. Ditch the “junk in the trunk.” An extra 100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical vehicle‘s fuel economy by up to 2 percent. You can save up to 9 gallons of gasoline per year – almost $40 – by removing an extra 100 pounds of unneeded items from the trunk.
19. Make timeless, not trendy, updates to your home to avoid being outdated in just a few years. Thirty-two percent of consumers are planning to spend money on interior improvements to their homes, and home improvement is one of the most coupon-active industries.
20. Dry your razor blades after use or store them in alcohol – they’ll last a lot longer.
21. Learn basic sewing skills to repair gently-used clothing yourself. There are great how-to resources available online to learn how to sew on a missing button or hem a pair of pants. Advanced savings enthusiasts save a bundle by tailoring and designing clothes from the wealth of secondhand clothing at garage sales, thrift shops and clothing swaps.
22. Get fancy for free. Most hair and nail salons offer discounts for first-time customers – try out a new place and save on costs.
23. Use cash instead of credit cards when you go out. It’s easier to split the bill or share a cab, and when you see and touch the money you are using, it makes it harder to spend frivolously.
24. Avoid buyer’s remorse by following the 24-hour rule on splurges. If you find something you love, take a day to see where you can cut back in other areas and make sure it’s worth the cost.
25. Hold the phone. Pick the right mobile phone plan and check your usage. You could be using less than the minutes and texts messages included in your current package.
26. Expect the unexpected with appliances and you can save on service costs. Submit product registrations for new appliances and file the warranty card and receipt so you can find them when something goes wrong down the road.
27. Compare prices when booking travel or hotel stays. The lowest prices can often be buried or omitted in search results, especially if you bundle your package. Compare sites to ensure the lowest prices.
28. Borrow your books – check them out from a library or find ones that have been gently used. This can cut the cost of something you use once by as much as half. You can even rent eReader editions or reserve books online at many public libraries.
29. Always check your Valpak Blue Envelope® for a chance to win $100 instantly. Each month, Valpak randomly selects envelopes and gives away money for free!
30. Watch Valpak’s new “Coupon Me, Baby” video to get you motivated to use coupons and save!
What are some other ways you save money on everyday purchases?