15 Simple, Proven Strategies to Save on Every Purchase

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All told, the average American household spent $51,100 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the bulk of that money went for housing, we still spent more than $1,600 on apparel and services, $2,482 on entertainment, and another $2,625 on food away from home. Then there is that mystery category, “all other expenditures,” where we rang up, on average, $3,267.

Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a little less?

Fortunately, there are a number of tried and true ways to save money on virtually everything you buy. Watch Money Talks News money expert Stacy Johnson outline the key points in the video below, and then keep reading to discover savings strategies that work regardless of whether you are buying tires or shopping for makeup.

1. Never buy new what you can buy used

To start, if you want to save money on everything you buy, you should never buy new. Well, nearly never buy new. You might possibly want to buy new underwear from time to time.

But for much of everything else, let someone else take the depreciation hit. The average new car loses 11 percent of its value the moment it’s driven off the lot according to insurance site TrustedChoice.com. After five years, new vehicles typically lose about 63 percent of their value.

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Cars might be the best-known example, but virtually everything depreciates over time. Jewelry, furniture, appliances, and even video games and movies can depreciate faster than you can say “impulse buy.” Check out Craigslist, eBay and Half.com for practically new items being sold for a song.

2. Save big with bulk purchases

Let’s say you use a lot of batteries. Why buy four batteries when you could buy 40? Buying in bulk can be an excellent way to lower your per-unit cost. Check out Amazon prices on Duracell AA batteries as an example. As of this writing, you can buy a four-pack of batteries for $5.59 or get 40 for $19.25.

However, not everything is a steal. If you’re thinking about going the warehouse route, read this article on what to buy at warehouse stores before you start shopping.

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Comments & discussion

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  • tom mayer

    Think number one and number sever are truly horrible advice.
    Used does NOT always save $. Example: we bought an HP factory reman laptop. Thought we were saving 50% and that HP could be counted on to provide a functioning machine. Wrong. Adding up the various costs, not including aggravation, within 18 months of purchase we’d have been 25% to to the good with a new machine. At 36 months we threw the remanufactured machine away rather than throw more money at it.
    I would never again have a partner in any piece of machinery. Owned an airplane once with my best friend. After two years we were barely speaking to each other and dissolved the partnership. Main issues devolved around where, when and how much to spend on maintenance. Our ideas of what constituted legal and safe were very different.

  • pennyhammack

    I shop frequently on Amazon but you have to be really careful. For example on the AA batteries: several are listed with a unit cost, while others are listed with cost per ounce which is meaningless. Also they list many vendors that are not included in the Amazon Prime designation. Those vendors will charge shipping which, when included in the cost raises the cost per unit to more than you pay using a Amazon Prime vendor. Keep a hand calculator handy.

  • Ticobird

    I’d argue that the ability to buy a new car is much more comforting than buying a used automobile that you probably know so little about. After all, it is more than likely that the previous owner decided to switch for a negative reason other than providing the used car shopper a good deal.

    • Elizabeth Bennett

      I agree. The day I went out & bought a newer car, & got rid of my older Jeep, that I had sunk untold thousands and thousands in repairs in … was the smartest day of my life! I’ve only had to pay for oil changes in my newer car, whereas my older Jeep was literally in and out of the repair shop every other 3 or 4 month, at a pop of $500 to $800 / per visit. I just couldn’t afford the older car any longer. I suppose if you’re a mechanic and have access to cheap parts, then buying an old car makes sense. But for a single lady who doesn’t know the 1st thing about cars, I have to have a functioning car … that I can count on.

  • Smath56

    Buy used and pay cash!

  • jerrymandel

    1.Bargain on everything possible. 2. Your battery prices are silly high. Anyway, buy a battery charger and rechargeable batteries for big savings.