Who doesn’t love to save money? When we come to new country like America, as an Immigrant or on H1B Visa, that is totally new place, we obviously don’t know much about the place and how we can save money. We only know what we learn from others or explore ourselves. If you are from a country like India, you may think of the best way to bargain and get some deals. As an Indian moved to US, I have gone through the journey and learnt few money saving tips in US over a period of time and shared with my friends too. I wish I knew few things earlier too, but it’s never too late than never.
Discounted Gift Cards
One can get gift cards for a variety of stores, that are at a discounted price on ‘Raise’, ‘Gift card granny’, ‘Card pool’ or ‘ebay.com’. I personally shop from ‘Raise’ mobile application. These savings can be as high as 30 %-50% especially on restaurants and clothing retailers. Example I got a $220 JCPenny card for $180, a $150 Burlington coat factory for $115, Adidas and many others. If you are a brand loving person, you can get good brand products at nice bargain. Imagine, I got around $120 of clothes from Gap factory Outlet for just $18 last thanksgiving by combining gift card savings and sale. These sites offer a money-back guarantee as well, which protects you in case something goes wrong with your purchase. Also, read Why NOT to buy clothes in Fancy Malls
Coupon codes: Although it is always advisable to shop during sale period but whenever you are shopping whether online or in-store, never ever forget to check coupon codes before heading to checkout. ‘RetailMeNot’ is by far the best.
Online rebates/cashback: If one is an avid online shopper, he/she should definitely shop through ‘Ebates.com’. Saving can be from 2-10%. Not only this, you can get rebate on travel deals as well. Like, when my in-laws were here, I booked hotels from Priceline (through ‘Ebates’) and saved $30-40 per trip.
Grocery cashback: Yes, you can get paid for buying grocery that you use in daily basis. Consider downloading applications like ‘Ibotta’, ‘Checkout51’ and ‘Saving star’.
Store credit cards: Many retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenny, Gap etc. have their own cards and offer certain minimum discount every time you shop so if shop at particular store more often, consider getting that. For Target shoppers (even for grocery), there is a Target red card which offer 5% off on every transaction.
Reward/Loyalty cards: Many stores like Walgreens, CVS, BestBuy etc. have reward cards or so called loyalty card, so every time you shop (prescriptions as well for drug stores) you get certain percentage of points in your account that you can further turn into dollars. Also, for stores like Walgreens, CVS you can open online account linked to your store card, clip coupons online and redeem at checkout. One more store like ‘Kmart’, has ‘shop your ways rewards’ program through which it randomly sends its costumers free surprise dollars/points to shop from.
Gas cards: Though Sam’s and Costco gas stations have gas at lower price, one can use loyalty cards for Shell, Mobil or other as well (if you use these gas stations). I personally like Gas cards which I get from Publix, a $50 card for $40. If you shop from Publix and have a bill of $50 or more in groceries (even diapers, bakery), you can get your choice of gas card for $10 off (but do check store ad if the offer is running for that week or not).
Baby clubs: If you are expecting or have a little one at home (2 yrs. or younger, 3 in few too), consider joining free baby clubs at Publix, Target, Amazon, Winn-Dixie, Enfamil, Babies’ R Us and many more, they not only send you high quality samples, parenting books but provide coupons too. Imagine I have a little one going to be 3 years in few months but I still get monthly coupons that include savings on bread/chips as well from one of store. One of best and simplest way to save big on diapers/wipes is Amazon Mom. You can get free 30-day trail as well.
Newspaper coupons and online print: You can clip grocery coupons from newspaper or print from ‘coupons.com’, ‘redplum.com’, ‘smartsource.com’ and ‘pgeverday.com’ etc. Sometimes, you can get dollar off coupons (like $5 off $30 of shopping) in newspaper or in-mail store ads too. Few stores have their store coupons too, like wholefoods, Target, Walgreens, Publix etc. Check back your store’s website and their coupon policy. Also, never forget to take a glance of weekly ad of store you shop from before shopping. You don’t need to be a frugal couponer, even checking store ad in advance and planning can help you save.
Local/ Travel deals: Need a spa, haircut, go for bowling or local sunset cruise, ‘Groupon’ or ‘LivingSocial’ will take care. Don’t forget to stack coupon code on local deals from ‘RetailMeNot’. For other hotel deals, check ‘Goseek.com’ or ‘Dunhill travel deals’ as well. Other good option is ‘Hotwire’s hot rate hotels’ or ‘Priceline express deal hotels’, these are unnamed branded hotels but you can crack a good deal according to your preferred star rating and guest score and don’t forget ‘ebates’.
Compare prices: Whether you are buying travel insurance, car insurance or transferring money, do compare prices online. There are plenty of sites to do so, just ask Google uncle ;). For deals on specific product try ‘Deal Squad’, just add your product link and their agents will do all hard work for you for free and tell you the best deal. One more thing is ‘Price match policy’ in major retailers like Walmart, Target, Best buy, Home Depot etc. Whether in-store or online, if you find an item for lower price on other store than the store you are buying at, contact customer service and show them the other store ad, you will get your item at lower price. Walmart has another feature ‘Savings catcher’ on Walmart application where you scan your receipts and application compare Walmart prices with other retailers so if you bought something at higher price than the other retailer, Walmart will refund your money.
Sometimes back, I read somewhere “Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist”, well yes, I have tried a number of times. Thankfully, I am able to save on my shipping trips. I hope these few tips will help all other people too, especially those in initial phase of settling here.
My personal tip: Life is to live. Savings are important but they are not life, don’t live to save, live to enjoy and save while enjoying, Happy savings…Cheers!!!
None of these pay me to advertise but these are my personal experiences. If you have additional experiences, please feel free to share with people.
Any money saving tips from your side? Share your thoughts and ideas
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