6 Ways To Buy Things For Less

1
Make it your job

Sales sticker on computer keyboard.
Make it your job to save money and you'll watch your bank account grow. JGI / Jamie Grill

One saying that has stuck with me through the years: “A dollar saved is worth two dollars earned.”

What does that mean? Think about it... after paying income tax, payroll tax, sales tax, etc., out of every two dollars you earn, you are left with about one dollar to spend. If you want to save money this year, you can go out and earn more, or you can use the six tips below to buy the things you want for less.

Look at what you spend over the course of a year on clothes and household items. Suppose that number is $10,000. Make it your job this year to buy whatever you are going to buy, but for half the price. If you save $5,000, that's like earning an extra $415 per month.

Two places to start that will give you fabulous tips on how to save on everything:

  • A wealth of information is available at  Coupons and Bargains which provides suggestions on how to kick start your savings.
  • You can also learn more in Frugal Living section, which provides practical make-it-yourself and do-it-yourself advice that can save you bundles. 

2
Ask and you shall receive

Two men negotiating prices with a salesclerk.
In the retail setting, there may be room for negotiation or discounts for seniors or veterans. Ryan McVay / Getty Images

Call me a fool, but for years I did not know you could barter with retail stores on major purchases. One day I went shopping with a good friend of mine, and watched her negotiate her way to lower prices on everything. It was an eye-opening experience. I realize now that most of the time, all you have to do is ask. It’s the people who don’t ask that pay full price.

You may feel awkward asking for discounts at first, but with practice it gets easier. And think about it, what is the worst thing that can happen when you ask for a discount? They say no. That's not so bad. 

Learning from experts on How to Bargain can also help you gain the extra confidence you need to get the very best price.

3
Shop consignment and save

Caucasian woman at a furniture consignment store.
Consignment stores are great for finding bargains. Dave and Les Jacobs / Getty Images

Just about every piece of furniture in my house was bought from a consignment store. Why pay the high price of new? Consignment stores can be a great way to find practically new stuff at a fraction of the price.

The best things to find deals on at consignment stores: furniture and designer clothes. Scout out the stores in the nicest neighborhoods, and you’ll often find things that were never used at all. In addition, you can find unique items that no one else is likely to have.

Many people are not aware that Consignment Shopping Saves You Money and you can use this extra money for other important uses. You may be interested in using consignment to sell items which may not fit your lifestyle anymore.

4
Use online auctions and ads

Senior man with laptop and credit card shopping online.
If you know what you want to buy, you may be able to find it online at a discount. Westend61 / Getty Images

Once you’ve found a brand you like, check online before you buy. I’ve been known to try on my favorite jeans at department stores, figure out what size works, than buy them on Ebay for almost nothing. I’ve found $300 jeans for $20 before. I like Ebay for smaller, lower ticket items.

For larger items, that you can pick up locally, Craigslist is great. You can find deals on washers and dryers, mattresses (yes, new ones), furniture, lawn mowers and much, much more.

Be prepared to ask questions of the seller, and when you go visit the merchandise, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not what you want. In addition, reread tip #2 and make sure you ask them if they’ll take less!

Never shopped online before? Start here:

  • For newcomers to online auctions, a Guide to Ebay will provide you the basics to get started.
  • Remember when garage sales were listed in the classified ads in the newspaper? Today, the internet is a faster and less expensive way to let people know you have things for sale.

5
Patience pays off

Mature man fishing on peaceful riverbank.
With patience comes opportunity. Zero Creatives / Getty Images

Create a watch list, or wish list, of items you want to acquire at half price. Develop a routine of checking in with the stores to see if your items are on sale. At one point, I had my eye on a pair of chaise lounges from Frontgate; each week I checked their website, and by the end of the summer the chairs were half price. Patience pays off.

Patience also means being willing to walk away. You'll find this is a huge asset in helping you get the things you want at the best prices.

Have trouble getting over the instant gratification mentality? Oprah.com offers a great article on this called Patience is a Skill which reminds us to be in control of our decisions.

6
Use age to your advantage

Portrait of a senior man in a store,
Use senior discounts as much as you can!. Tim Gerard Barker / Getty Images

Of course, I know you’re not a “senior”. But heck, if it puts money in your pocket, who cares what word it is? Don’t be shy about asking for senior discounts. If you were under 18 you certainly wouldn’t hesitate to ask for the student discount. Be brazen and bold about asking. Use your life experience to your advantage, and save yourself some money.

Use your experienced age to save money using Senior Discounts, Bargains, and Benefits as often as practical.