10 Tips For Hassle-Free Bargain Shopping

Growing up in a Cuban-Dominican household one thing that was a given – besides a daily dose of rice and beans – was bargain shopping. My mamá had her systems down, whether it was Sunday paper couponing, stocking up at Shoprite’s yearly can-can sale, or getting the best bargains from the clearance sales at Macy’s in Paramus, NJ – where all the sales associates knew and loved Mr. Diaz –  mamá was the family go-to bargain expert. I learned a ton from her and still use her techniques.

However, my bargain shopping has extended to the online universe where I find amazing cost saving information and tips. And I love to share a new source! Kendal Perez founder of www.HassleFreeSavings.com is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. Her site is chock-full of great tips and insights.

If you are a bargain shopping Latina like myself you will LOVE Kendal’s list of the 10 most overlooked discounts:

1. Receipt Coupons

I opt for self-checkout whenever possible to ensure swift service. That means grabbing the receipt on the way out and stuffing it in my bag, never to be seen again. Mistake! Not only is it good to review your receipt to ensure you weren’t overcharged, but they’re also a great source for discounts on groceries and local services.

2. Catalina Coupons

Similar to receipt coupons, Catalina coupons are usually printed from a small machine at the register. These coupons are triggered by your previous purchases, yielding useful discounts on products you typically buy. You can even use them at other grocery stores when they’re offered by the manufacturer. For more information on Catalina coupons, consult this article from Savvygirl Living.

3. Customer Service Surveys

Readers of my blog already know I’m a fan of The Limited, but even I forget to take advantage of an easy resource for savings. Every time I’m handed a receipt, the cashier circles a phone number I can call to offer feedback on my shopping experience. In exchange for a few minutes of time they provide $10 off my next purchase of $50 or more. Lots of retailers have similar offers, so pay attention and make the call.

4. Mobile Coupons

Despite my best intentions, I’ll often leave carefully clipped coupons on my kitchen counter and miss out on the discount I intended to score. Thankfully, my husband’s smartphone gives me online access to deals via the Coupon Sherpa mobile app. This app allows me to search for retail and supermarket savings on-the-go, and I can also download grocery discounts directly to my loyalty card.

5. Peelies

It’s always a bonus when something you intended to purchase comes with a peelie — or a coupon adhered to the product for immediate use. However, these sticky gems do you no good if you fail to point them out to the cashier. To ensure savings, remove the coupon from the product before checkout and hand it to the cashier.

6. Status Discounts

Most seniors I know are pretty good about asking for discounts, but I often overlooked my savings potential as a student. Additionally, teachers and military personnel can score great deals from retailers, restaurants and even travel agencies. It never hurts to ask whether discounts are available for your particular status; just be ready to present the necessary proof.

7. Preferred Customer Offers

I get $10 in DSW Rewards every now and again, and my husband will score $10 in savings on his next Dick’s Sporting Goods purchase. How do we land such great discounts? We accrue points via “preferred customer” programs that yield savings after a certain spending amount is reached. Since we frequent these retailers it makes sense (and cents!) to sign up for their free programs.

8. Sports Tickets

Like Catalina coupons, your ticket to last weekend’s big game might have some local coupons on the back. Some people save sporting-event tickets for sentimentality, but everyone should glance at the back of their stubs before tossing them. More often than not you’ll find discounts for local restaurants or retailers.

9. Magazines

If you’re like me, the first thing you do before thumbing through the latest issue of your favorite magazine is remove the annoying subscription offers. As you tear them away, don’t overlook potential coupons. I’ve found discounts and even free samples for makeup and other items in conjunction with the magazine’s advertisements.

10. Recycling Programs

You’re likely in the habit of recycling what you can, but did you know some retailers offer discounts for your efforts? I didn’t either until recently, when a box of Kashi cereal prompted me to sign up for RecycleBank.com. By entering a code printed inside my cereal box, I earn points toward discounts on products I already buy.

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