Money-Saving Secrets from the Show
1. Don't Use a Shopping Cart
"When you have a cart," money coach Clark Howard says, "the problem is you, on impulse, put things in there." Anytime you're shopping at a place with a "concrete floor," Clark suggests you walk the floor first, so as not to make impulse purchases based on your oversized cart.
2. Take Your Razor Blade Out of the Shower
Razor blades only degrade from moisture, not from actually shaving. By removing your razor blade from the shower, Clark says your razor can last about a year.
3. Look for the Right Clearance Numbers
Generally you are not getting a great deal with items that end in $.99. At Costco, the best deal is on items that end with the number 7. At Sam's Club, anything that ends in a penny has been marked down, even if the product is not being promoted as a clearance item.
4. Buy Private Labels
While the familiarity of brand names may be tempting, private labels - or "off brand" labels - are generally a much better deal, especially with items such as diapers, paper towels and trash bags. Clark Howard says you save about 30% on average when buying off-brand.
5. Go to the Seasonal Aisles
Season aisles, generally in the middle of the store, toward the back, will carry products that are no longer in their prime purchasing season, and thus heavily marked down. Christmas items, for example, go up in August, and most stores start marking down Christmas items on December 1.
6. Shop After-Season Sales
In conjunction with seasonal aisles are after-season sales. At outlet stores and department stores alike, your best deals will be at these sales.
7. Check out the Housewares & Hardware Aisles
Clark Howard says the most heavily discounted aisles at superstores are the housewares and hardware aisles.
8.Buy Only Food at Supermarkets
The non-food aisles of supermarkets are where they make their big markups. Items such as paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap and detergent should be purchased at stores such as Wal-Mart or one of the warehouse clubs.
9. Go for Medium
With products that have small, medium and large sizes, such as jars of peanut butter, always opt for the medium… you'll be getting the best bang for your buck.
10.Toilet Paper: Let Your Body Decide
Even money coach Clark Howard's wife refuses to skimp on toilet paper; in general, off-brand toilet paper has more on the roll for less money, but in this case, you have to let your body decide what's best.
11. Categorize Your Coupons
Organized coupons make it easier at the checkout lines in stores.
12. Collect Discarded Subway Cards
If you live in a city, start picking up those discarded subway cards you see on the station floor. Some cards still have a monetary value, and by adding them up, your fare could be paid for.
13. Think of Coupons as Cash
By thinking of coupons as cash, you'll start to see their value rather than throwing them away.
14. Sign up for Value/Loyalty Cards at Grocery Stores
Sale prices or coupons are sometimes only valid for cardholders. Signing up for a card is usually free, so sign up for as many as possible to ensure optimum savings.
15. Mattresses: Buy Wholesale
The best deals on mattresses are either at original mattress factories or at the warehouse club stores.
16. Air Conditioners: Be Efficient
The best time to purchase an air conditioner is in the fall, when your AC is on its last leg. Be sure to purchase the most energy efficient unit that you can afford. Clark Howard recommends checking out Energy.gov for information on how to determine what efficiency you need.
17. Explore Clipping Services
If you don't have the time or need to actually use coupons, instead try selling coupons online. There are a variety of "clipping services" online, where extreme couponers will actually purchase your unused coupons. Ebay is a great option for this, too.
18. Use Technology to Save
While it may benefit you to sell your coupons online, don't think you have to actually buy them online, too. There are a variety of blogs and websites that offer free coupons, such as Coupon World. Other websites, such as OBot.com, will help you decide when it's a good time to purchase certain items.
Also, explore the App Store for coupon apps such as "Shop Savvy," which is a helpful, savings-based shopping aide.
19. Don't Use Private Loans
Unless it's absolutely necessary, stay away from private loans - especially as a student. The interest rates on private loans are very high.
20. Take Advantage of Birthday Deals
A variety of restaurants have Birthday Clubs or birthday deals. By joining or signing up (usually for free) you can get free meals or snacks on your birthday.
21. Follow Your Favorite Brands on Facebook and Twitter
A lot of companies will have deals that are exclusive to their Facebook fans or Twitter followers. Be sure to follow these brands to take advantage of their sales.
22. Create a Shopping List
By going to the store with a mission in mind, it helps prevent impulse purchases.
23. Never Shop for a Car at the Dealer Lot
Clark Howard advises that you buy a new car online, where there are often instant, guaranteed prices which eliminate the back-and-forth with the dealer.
24. Try Upcycling
By taking old items such as bottles or cans, and creating something new, you could save an enormous amount of money. On the show, Danny Seo shows us how to create tables, chairs and gadgets for your home using items you would otherwise throw away.
Find out Danny Seo's book, "Upcycling," on Amazon.