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Before you hit the shops to spend some coin, arm yourself with these budget-saving tips to keep the most money in your pocket.


Donít waste money on brand names. Donít believe the expensive marketing hype behind many brand-name products. Items carrying a brand are not necessarily better or worth the substantially higher price than the less advertised alternatives. Be wary of companies that spend lots of money on image-oriented advertising, as marketing costs big bucks and youíre paying for that cost in the product. Save 10% to 50% by purchasing quality generic food, clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries and kitchen supplies.

Ask for a discount. Asking to pay less for a product or service sounds difficult, but itís not. Just be polite and ask, ďIs this the best price you can offer me?Ē Finding a store manager can usually net good results immediately. Just by asking the question, Iíve walked away saving 10% to 15% on area rugs, mirrors, furniture and a camera. Offering to pay cash for an item rather than using plastic can often help too. Asking for a discount is free. Saving 10% with less than five minutes of work is time well spent.


Use your loyalty program points. If you collect points from loyalty programs like Air Miles or Aeroplan, then be sure to redeem them. Loyalty program points are not like money in the bankóthey donít earn interest and compound over timeóso it makes little sense to hold on to them for years. Also be aware that loyalty program points can expire if you fail to continue collecting for a set number of days. Cash in your points as soon as you can to save your real money. Check out weekly deals and specials on the programís website for great rewards for fewer points. BOTTOM LINE: Buying products and services with loyalty program points can save you from spending your real dollars. Just be sure to use your points before they expire.

Shop at off-price department stores. Check for deals at off-price department stores like Winners where brand-name clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture and housewares are available for 20% to 60% below regular department and specialty store prices. But before heading to the register with your fabulous finds, be sure to examine each item closely for damage, and watch out for factory seconds.

Buy used items through traditional sources. Need some furniture, books, clothing or a car? Buying used goods not only saves on taxes but saves you from spending top dollar on retail pricing. Buying used items in excellent condition from traditional sources like garage sales, classified ads, friends and family can save you at least 50%. It may take time to find exactly what youíre looking for, but given the savings, the time spent hunting is money in the bank.


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