Taking control of your personal finances can be as easy as determining how to get more for less. Simple steps can lead you down the path to more money in your bank account. I'm all about the “easy” and “simple”, aren't you? Go back to your ABCs – or in this case, Cs. Think clubs; think coupons; think clarity.
Wholesale clubs charge a fee, but the savings you gain can repay that within a month. Consider splitting the fee with a friend or two, and turning your shopping days into social events. (Just don't get carried away once you're there. Too much of anything, even at half-off, is not a bargain.)
Clubs are not only of the Sam's or Costco variety. Other memberships have their privileges. Bookstores like Border's offer membership for free, and that translates into weekly and monthly discounts. Other retailers are getting in on the act: World Market, for example, offers its members not only every-purchase coupons, but also special discounts that change from week to week.
Your favorite place to shop may have its own club – check their website, or ask the next time you're visiting. Store managers encourage their employees to sign up shoppers for email lists. You needn't fear getting spammed, though, as most companies, responding to customer concerns, refuse to sell their lists nowadays.
The internet is also a fountain of coupons. Many companies have ceased buying newspaper space for these, so if you want that extra fifty cents off your next box of laundry detergent, try websites dedicated to brand names – like Tide – or to general retailers, like Target. Once you have signed up for a discount offer from the former, emails with coupons usually follow. And Target is one company that has its own link for printable coupons for store brands and overstocks.
Retailers also send out customer surveys, either by email or by linking to them on a receipt. Definitely, take the time to complete these! The retailer gets the feedback, and you get a coupon for anywhere from ten to thirty per cent off your next purchase.
Many companies now have software that tracks customer purchases. This can be based upon member cards or same-time buys. The end result is that their database is able to determine your favorite, or at least, most frequently-purchased, items, then generate and send the appropriate coupons for the next time you shop.
As far as clarity is concerned, it saves money to be clear on just what you intend to shop for – before you shop for it. That means, make a list. Going to the grocery store with one of those makes you less prone to impulse-shop, and less likely to forget the specific thing you'd intended to shop for. Doing the latter can mean a trip back to the store, which means using gas. Like interest on your credit statement, that adds up, and alarmingly so.
And so: embrace your Vitamin Cs! Join the retail clubs. Clip the coupons.
Clarify your intended purchases with a list before you leave. Add sunshine to your bank account…(oh, you knew I was going to say that!) Improving your financial state needn't be complicated.