Coupons and vouchers
Okay, maybe you used to laugh as you watched people pull out their coupons and vouchers at the Tesco till, but the truth is that using them can save you hundreds every year. Coupons and vouchers can be used at grocery stores, retail chains, or any store where the discounted item is sold. Be mindful that coupons and vouchers are not just for food items, and by scouring your local newspaper or free magazines you can find them for all sorts of merchandise that may prove useful to you.
Buy in Bulk
It is true that warehouse shopping can save a lot of money. Even if you have a small family, you can always split large quantities. The price of items in bulk is generally a great bargain. If you are single, you should go in with friends or family on bulk items.
My sister is a very keen gardener. I'm sure that if we lived on the same continent, she would soon get my garden looking attractive. If you are like my sister and like to do regular home improvements i.e. considering creating a nice flower garden area, shopping for plants can be expensive even on sale. Before you go out and start spending, look around to see if you have other plants that can be split from your existing flowers. Additionally, if you have a good relationship with any of your neighbours, you might ask them if they have any plants you could use as a starter. Another great idea is the next time you are in the market to buy a lawnmower, purchase one that mulches leaves. This way, rather than buy mulch for your flowerbeds every year, you can simply use the mulch you make.
Reuse, recycle, re-everything!
When you shop, look for items that can be reused. Rechargeable batteries are a perfect example. Even though the initial purchase may be more than non-rechargeable batteries, there is a definite savings over a long period. This idea saved me hundreds of pounds over the years, especially when my children were young and had toys that required a lot of batteries! Another application for reuse would be to purchase a nice, artificial Christmas tree. Many of the current artificial trees look amazingly real and with the right lights and ornaments, you can change the look from year to year at little cost.
Always head straight for the clearance section, as where you can find amazing bargains. Sometimes you may have to dig a little to find the right item but the savings will be well worth your time. Most clearance sections offer variety and great value. For example, supermarket fresh food items close to the use-by date are reduced for a fraction of the original cost at certain points in the day. Be sure to have a look and see what's available.
Unfortunately, thrift and surplus stores have been given a bad rap. Many of these store types are filled with hundreds of top quality items. Name branded merchandise is easy to find but just like clearance sections, it takes some time to find. Find a thrift or surplus store close to where you live and then plan spending some time to find those outstanding bargains. My sister in West Virginia, USA took me to such a store about 15 minutes from her home. After shopping through every isle over the period of two hours, we walked out of the store with 3 huge bags filled to the brim with designer clothes, many with the original tags still attached. I had an entire season of work clothes and best of all, I paid less than equivalent of £200. Charity shops are also worth a look around. I have found some designer name bargains on many occasions.
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