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How to Save Money on Everyday Things You Buy

Updated on August 30, 2012

Shopping and Getting Smart Bargains

Smart bargains have been the cornerstone of the history of retailing. Shopping is an activity we all engage in.  The history of shopping can be trace to ancient times and is a major factor in the exploration and to more people discovery of new lands.  Through these trade routes, more commodities became available and more goods and services were exchanged. Weekly markets and bazaars led to the establishment of local towns with shops lining the village streets. As the development of postal routes improved, mail order catalogs became available to people who didn’t have easy access to more populated areas with where stores would sell their products. From individual stores, chain stores began to spread throughout the country and shopping malls became central locations to shop while consumers try to get smart bargains or fulfill their needs for certain products . Local grocers became paved the way for supermarkets. Chain stores became superstores. The internet expanded on the ability of mail order catalogs, and shopping for any product imaginable became accessible to everyone with a computer.  Multilevel marketing, wholesaling, discount warehouses add to the myriad of shopping choices.

Shopping is a hobby, or a necessity

For some people, shopping is a hobby, a pleasure, a way to socialize, or fill spare time. For some people, shopping is a chore, or an unpleasantry that must be done to meet one’s needs.  In all cases, shopping offers economic decisions, both for the sellers and the buyers. Retailers, and big manufacturers spend a lot of money introducing their products to us, through promotions and advertising. It can be difficult to know what smart bargains  truly are, since the word sale may not necessarily mean the product is being offered at the best price.

Time Your Purchases By the Month for Smart Bargains

towels and linens
white sales started in 1878
Christmas cards and gift wrap
TVs and home theaters
spurred by the Super Bowl
exercise equipment
except Valentine's Day
gardening tools
video games
older model electronics
newer models are coming out
cooking utensils and kitchen accessories
home office furniture
snow blowers
vacuum cleaners
memberships in a gym
tools, hardware, and paint
home appliances
look towards the end of the month
lawn mowers
bathing suits
outdoor furniture
plants for landscaping
large appliances
school supplies
camping equipment
Black Friday Sales
after Halloween
wedding dresses
air conditioners

Other Ways to Save Money

In addition to timing smart bargains, being a savvy shopping involves other timing tips:

When it comes to traveling:

  • To get the best price on a hotel room call Sunday around 4:00 in the afternoon (the hotel’s time) on their local phone number. Request to speak to the manager (because she/he has the ability to negotiate the rates). When you talk to them, just ask for the best rate he can offer you. If you are cordial, they may just offer you  smart bargains for staying with them.
  • Buy airplane tickets at Tuesday, 3:00 in the afternoon East Coast Time. Sales are usually promoted on Monday night, and competing airlines will look to match these bargain prices on Tuesdays
  • Look to travel on Tues, Wed, Sat for lower prices. Business travelers usually don’t book these days. The first flight of the day is usually the lowest price, if you want to get up that early, and the next lowerst price is early evening departures.

Grocery Shopping:
  • Some grocery stores have additional smart bargains on the first day thier flyer comes out.  For some supermarkets, it could be Wednesday, for some it may be Friday.  Check your local stores to see when they start their sale days.  The first day may have significant savings that will offer you smart bargains.

  • April through the end of August you can find sales on electronic appliances. Although look at the chart above to time your savings for the best smart bargains.

Night Out
  • Restaurants are the least crowded on Tuesdays and may find more sales

  • Big retailers will usually mark down the overstock of products 6 weeks after they first arrived. Smart bargains are best found on Thurs nights.

  • In October and November the retailers get competitve about moving their products

  • End of the month gives you the most negotiating power since, the dealerships are looking to move these cars off their lots before the new billing month starts for them and so they can meet their end of the month quotas.  Go to the dealership on the last in the afternoon on Tues and  Wed of the month to be ready to buy.  It is wise to look around earlier in the month or months before to educate yourself fully before you start negotiating.  Sept through Dec the dealers are trying to move out last year’s models. December offers the best deal being the end of the year.

Use the Internet for Smart Bargains

Using the internet to help you get smart bargains; here are just a few sites:

  • and for sporting event and show tickets

  • gives you low low prices on 5 items ranging from electronics to kitchen accessories. At this site you will find special promotions and drawings where you can win prizes and all you do is pay the shipping cost for the free prize.

  • get on your favorite store’s email and they will email you some exclusive sales

  • coupon codes are a great way to save money on the very products you are looking to buy. Google “coupon code” and (the name of the store in quotations) “Macy’s”
  • to peruse coupons
  • offers savings tips and coupons
  • look for free shipping at all the places you buy from

Smart bargains can come back to you by looking for rebates as a way to get cash back from the internet retailer.

  • type in the name of the store and it will tell you the reward
  • use your discovercard or credit card with rewards
  • Craig’s list
  • Ebay offer smart bargains

Let the internet do comparison shopping for you


Dollar Stores May Not Be Smart Bargains

There are many other ways to use the internet and many other sites that offer great bargains. This list is just the start of many ways you can do some research to get smart bargains and the best prices on the items you are looking to purchase.

Now let’s learn some things about dollar stores. All items in these dollar stores, appear to be inexpensive, but some items may not be as good a price as it seems, and some items should be avoided no matter how good the price seems.  Read on......

Dollar stores are a good place to buy paper good, gift wrapping, party and school supplies, and some cleaning products.  Some of the cleaning products may be more diluted than name brands, so know your products.  Be cautious of name brands in dollar stores, very often they are imitations, and be counterfeits.  There are some products that are not smart  bargains, no matter what the price and should be avoided. Items like toilet paper, cosmetics and toothpaste. The FDA has indicated tha that toothpaste brands like Colgate and other name brands may be imitations and can actually contain hazardous and unsafe ingredients.  It is also advisable to steer clear of buying children’s toys and pet toys which could create choking hazards or may be made in China with inferior products or made with lead.

Vitamins, and over the counter products like aspirin may be sold in these stores because it is beyond the expiration date or be made with inferior ingredients.  Consumer Reports stated that over 50% of these products did not truly have the ingredients in the products  that were listed on the label.

You might want to avoid ceramic mugs, dishes and pots, and similar items  if they were made in China, as the quality may be inferior and would mix with the food we are consuming.  

Batteries may also be of inferior quality. If they are made of carbon zinc they won’t last long, may leak, and could cause a fire hazard in the product you are using them in.  However the labeling may not be truthful either, so buyer beware.  The same goes for electrical extension cords. Very often they have wiring that is inferior and when the label says UL approved, they are just using these letters. Often these products have not been UL approved and can cause a fire hazard. UL approved means the item meets safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories.

In dollar stores, there are some smart bargains that will save you money, and some things that are not a bargain at all.   There are also some caveats, and a wise buyer is someone who knows what to buy and what not to buy.

There are great ways to get bargains in the supermarket. Watch this video to learn how to use coupons to save money on the products you use

Save on Beauty Products

There are ways to save on beauty products; learn from this video to get some good ideas.
By shopping  in drug stores and using coupons you can save money easily on the health and beauty products you regularly use.

Look for Smart Bargains to Pamper Yourself

If you enjoy getting some pampering there are ways to save and still get a day of beauty for yourself.  Some spas are destination spas and some are neighborhood beauty spas

  • get on the email list of your favorite spa
  • go to and spafinders spa insider to get the latest spa deals
  •, and will list regular specials in spas in many locations
  • to get a deal from your local spa try to set up a group to get a group discount
  • buy the packages they offer, very often you will get a day of beauty at a lower price than if you bought everything separately.  Check to see if taxes and gratuities are included.
  • Some days of the week may be a better price than other days, so always ask.

As much as we try to get smart bargains, retailers do whatever they can to make our shopping experience one in which the store will benefit by selling us more than we planned to buy.

Know the Tricks Retailers Do

There are many tricks that  store use to make us unconsciously spend our money.  Stores look to get us to spend more time in the store, thereby extending our shopping time and causing us to buy more. They are experts in studying the purchasing habits of consumers.

Stores try to accomplish this by creating an inviting shopping environment through lighting, music, the color of walls and products displayed on the shelves in the store.  Approximately 70% or what we buy is spontaneous. Sometimes stores will use carpeting to create a buying path.  The flooring subtly leads us into the store towards certain areas.  Have a mind of your own and walk off the path.  You will probably save yourself money.  Items are purposefully placed in certain areas of the stores and on shelves that are eye level, when the retailers want  to direct you to see particular items.  Sometimes stores put expensive items where you will first see them, so the “sale” items seem even cheaper.  

Stores very often make items accessible to touch because marketing research experts have proven that if we touch a product, we most likely will purchase it.  Again, we may buy something we didn’t plan on buying because we looked at it, felt it, and made an unconscious decision that we should buy it.

Shopping carts have gotten bigger in some stores, because retailers ahve figured out that people tend to find more items to buy if they have room in their cart. And the opposite becomes true for product sizes.  Sometimes we will buy the same product and not notice it is a smaller size.  The price is what we looked at and as long as the price didn’t go up, we assume we didn’t spend more.  But if we got less at the same price, we did spend more, and we may not have done any price comparing because the price didn’t go up.  Always look at the size and the price to make sure you are getting tsmart bargains and the best deals.

Stores also design their layout to make us walk from one end of the store to the other to get the most commonly purchased items.  This is most easily seen in supermarkets where milk, meat, and fresh produce are put on opposite ends of the store.  As we walk through the supermarket, we are bound to pick up unintended items as we see them.

Sale Words

When stores use promotional words like Sale, Special, Mark down, Price reduction, etc, they are often trying to get your attention to look at the product.  It may not be a bargain. , So you walk over, and touch it and we already knows what happens when we touch products. Retailer survive by using clever tricks. They are better at selling their products than we are at buying.  They study us, and our habits, and we just know words that key into our brain and compel us to purchase items, sometimes mindlessly.  It happens to us all and we can’t completely stop it.  We can learn good shopping habits, good times to buy items on sale, ways to negotiate so that we save money.  We can find smart bargains when we make our purchases. Whether shopping is a fun pastime, or necessity knowledge is power, and knowledge can save us money.  So the next time you shop, keep these tips in mind and let me know how much money you saved.  


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    • xixi12 profile image

      xixi12 6 years ago from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it.

      Saving money is key especially in this economic situation. Will definitely keep these tips in mind. Thanks for sharing

    • Tobster1 profile image

      Tobster1 6 years ago

      great suggestions I love it great hub as well !!!


    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      What wonderful and useful information...definitely to (pardon the pun) treasure...especially in this economy. Thanks for sharing.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo thank you for all this great information and advice to help everyone save money which is so important for many now.

      Great hub!!! Thumbs up !!!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      This is a fantastic guide- never before have I seen savings laid out in a seasonal format like this, and it makes a big difference- I always think if those things too late and then I miss out on the opportunity. Great resource!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Useful information that I will keep in mind.