Posting today is Sheila Conway, American Woman’s money guru. Even if you’re not in the financial abyss I’m stuck in (really, how many of you have a loan shark breathing down your necks?), in these economic times we can all use a little help making those Washingtons, Lincolns, and Hamiltons stretch a bit further. Sheila will post from time to time, offering tips to help you do just that.-- AP
Sheila here. And happy to be part of Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers even though I want no part of killers -- crafty or otherwise -- unless we’re talking about killing a few pounds. I’m all for that, and thanks to health editor Janice Kerr’s post last week, I’m now walking more.
Before I go any further, first, a disclaimer: I am neither an accountant, a banker, nor a stock broker. So I won’t be offering advice in my blog posts on the nitty gritty of finance. No suggested stocks to buy. No questions answered regarding IRAs or 401Ks. No discussions on money markets vs. bonds. What I will offer are practical tips for helping busy women make the most of the money they have. Because when you do that, you wind up with more money.
Today I’d like to tell you about a little used source of shopper savings. We all clip coupons, right? Personally, my dream is one day to have enough money that I don’t have to clip grocery coupons every week. Realistically, that’s only going to happen if I win the lottery, and how realistic is that? Especially since I don’t buy lottery tickets. Enough about me, though. How many of you check the Internet before you shop?
The Internet offers a wealth of discounts, whether you’re shopping online or the old-fashioned way by actually going to a store. Whenever you order something online, first do a search of the retailer’s name, followed by “coupon codes.” Even if the site isn’t offering any deals at the moment, there may be multiple offers still available. I recently ordered some clothing from an online retailing who was having a 25% off sale. The homepage gave the coupon code to enter at checkout to receive the discount. However, by doing a quick search, I discovered another still valid coupon code that not only gave me the 25% discount but also included free shipping. I saved an additional $12 by spending a minute or two doing an online search.
In addition, before going shopping or out to eat, you should make a practice of first checking the store or restaurant website. Sometimes special offers are listed right on the website homepage, but often you have to hunt them down. Search for the retailer’s name, followed by “store coupon,” or the restaurant name, followed by “discount offer” or “coupon.”
In these tough economic times retailers and restaurants are offering more and more incentives to lure in customers and diners. Become a savvy consumer and take advantage of these offers.
Have a tip for saving money or stretching your dollars? Let's hear from you. Everyone who posts a comment this week will be entered in a drawing to win a book donated by our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP