Everyone loves getting a good deal. Now bargain shopping is easier than ever with group deal sites like Groupon® and LivingSocial, and other coupon sites offering databases of coupons and even tutorials on extreme couponing. But make sure your zeal for finding a deal doesn’t have you spending more than you save.
Frugal or Frenzied?
If you’re spending money on products or services you normally wouldn’t buy or can’t use, you’re losing money no matter how deep the discount. Following are some tips for making sure the bargain you’re hunting isn’t circling back to bite you.
- Beware of BOGO. Buy one get one free deals seem like a steal, but if you end up with more than you need or can use, you’ve helped the store move product without helping yourself.
- Look into location. If you purchase a voucher for a shop across town or have to go to three stores to use all the coupons you’ve clipped, your gas usage will likely undercut your savings.
- Focus on the fine print. Coupons purchased through group deal sites may offer half off or better on various products and services, but restrictions often dictate when they can be redeemed or tie the savings to other purchases. Make sure you know what you’re getting and that it fits with your schedule before you pay for the deal.
- Mistrust the mob mentality. The excitement of getting in on a good deal can cloud your reasoning. Take a deep breath and think about whether you really need the product or service offered before you spend to save.
- Eye the expiration date. A coupon purchased but not used before it expires is money wasted.
- Be conscientious about your credit. Buying your bargains with a credit card won’t be much of a deal if you fail to pay off the balance and allow the interest to add up.
Coupons and group deals can be a savvy way to save money. Just keep in mind that when you buy a bargain, you’ve still spent money. You only win if you’ve spent less for what you needed to buy anyway.
Save ‘N Up
With the Navigator Credit Union Save ‘N Up Debit Card, you’ll save as you spend—with no coupons required! No matter how you choose to use your Navigator Credit Union debit card—to buy lunch, gas, coffee, groceries, or just about anything you want—your purchase will be automatically rounded up. With every transaction you complete, the difference between your purchase total and the nearest whole dollar amount will be transferred from your Checking Account to your high-interest Save’N Up account. Go to www.savenup.com to learn more.
THRIFTY MEASURES THAT REALLY PAY OFF
You don’t have to be a bargain-hunter extraordinaire to save yourself money. Here are a few sure-fire ways to cut spending without clipping any coupons.
- Visit your local library for free books, movies, music and magazines.
- Don’t miss deadlines for returning rented movies and pay off credit cards or other bills on time to save yourself late fees and added interest.
- Comparison shop by looking at cost per pound, ounce or other unit of measurement to determine which products are the best deals.
- Avoid impulse shopping by taking the time to know what you want and what you’ll actually use, read reviews online and scout good deals. Then sleep on it before you make your purchase!
- Dine in rather than going out and bring your lunch from home during the work week, and you may save more than $1,000 over a year.