There is nothing I love more than finding a great deal. I truly think seeing or finding a deal releases dopamine in my body; it’s that bad. I like to think I am the princess (my mother is the queen) of frugality. I want to quickly clarify the difference between being cheap and being frugal. To me, being frugal means you are always looking for a deal but don’t prevent yourself from doing things. Being cheap on the other hand, means not wanting to spend the money to do things regardless of how much it costs. My mom would probably argue I’m cheap and not frugal…I disagree.
Being in my mid-twenties (that pains me to say) and struggling with the ridiculous amount of expenses all adults incur while trying to have fun and save, I have no choice but to be frugal. There are some key things I do to help me keep my costs down when shopping. I’m sure that my fellow frugal frannies (anyone remember that store?!) already know these but I’m here to impart my wisdom, what little I have, to those who don’t.
Walk to the back of the store.
Whenever my mom and I would go to the mall to go shopping, we’d enter a store and walk straight to the back. Why? This is where most stores’ clearance or sale sections are. This is something I still do so that I don’t get distracted by the beautiful full-priced items that will likely go on sale. Typically, the clothes are not for the current season but that’s the best way to do it! Shop for the opposite season than it currently is and you will save so much money!
Put an item in your cart but leave it for a few days.
If you are shopping online and you see something you like that’s not on sale put it in your cart and leave it. A lot of companies have tools that analyze the trends, interests and behaviors of their customers. By leaving an item in your cart this tells the retailer that you are interested in the item but contemplating on whether it’s worth it. Many times, they will send you some sort of coupon! Loft is notorious for this for all my lady friends!
TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross are my BFF’s.
I am a Maxxinista and PROUD of it! I know most people shop at these stores but who wouldn’t?! You can get designer brands for super affordable prices or you can find the exact replica for half the price. I included Ross’ only because for those of you who are short, fun-sized, like myself, they actually have a great selection of petite dresses! That’s really about all I go there for. Also, I must add that Costco has some great brands for really cheap!
Food apps = free food.
I couldn’t talk about being frugal and not mention free food. For those who know me, you know my obsession with Chick-Fil-A and their app. If you don’t have this app, stop what you’re doing and download it. No, this is not a paid sponsorship by Chick-Fil-A, I wish. The amount of free food I get through this app is insane. I’m learning that most restaurants now have apps and some sort of reward system that leads to free food. Yes, you have to spend money to get the points, but that doesn’t mean you have to be going there a lot, it’s good to have when you do! Above I mentioned putting things in your cart and leaving them for a few days, a similar principle applies here. Some apps will send you free food if it’s been a while since they’ve seen you’ve visited. All I’m saying is it has come in clutch for me when I don’t have food to cook but don’t want to spend money!
Ibotta and GetUpside
Speaking of apps, Ibotta and GetUpside are two apps that I use and need to be better about using that give you money back! Ibotta has a ton of different retailers including Target, Wegmans, Amazon, etc. and each retailer has different items that if you buy, you get money back. In order to get the money back, you simply select the items you will purchase and then upload your receipt! Some retailers like Safeway will even give you $.25 back just for uploading your receipt. No, $.25 isn’t much but a little can go a long way.
GetUpside is an app that gives you money back on gas. If you need to fill up you open up the app select the station from their list you want to fill up at and then upload your receipt after. Some gas stations will give you back $.40/gallon which again, definitely adds up over time.
As Rachel once said on an episode of Friends, “Well maybe I don’t need your money. Wait. I said maybe.” All I can say is, I’ll take all the free money I can get 🙂
Happy shopping…and saving!