15 Ways to Never Pay Retail Again

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2012

I don’t believe people who claim they never buy anything without a coupon – because I know that’s impossible. Coupons don’t exist for everything, and certain types of coupons are released a lot less often than others.

But what is possible is never paying retail.

For the past year now, I’ve maintained Money Talks News’ deals page and curated our deals posts, sifting through hundreds of deals a week. That job quickly made me realize: There are so many ways to avoid paying retail that it’s almost never necessary. So I started keeping an anti-retail list. I’m at 15 and counting. If you have more tips to add, I’d love to hear them…

1. Coupons

Your Sunday newspaper is still one of the best places to find coupons, but it’s not the only place. Printable coupons can be found all over the Internet. I cherry-pick the best ones I see for our deals posts and pages, but you can find more by doing a Web search or checking the websites of your favorite brands.

2. Online codes

You should never buy anything online without first checking for what’s called a coupon code or promo code. These alphanumeric codes are the online version of a coupon. Instead of handing your coupon to the cashier, you enter the code at the online checkout. I post the best codes I find on our deals page, but you can also do a Web search for a product name plus the words “coupon code” or “promo code.”

3. Sales

I still find sales are one of the best ways to save. I cherry-pick the best deals I see for our deals posts and pages, but I also highly recommend regularly reading your local Sunday newspaper ads, which you can also find online for free at ShopLocal.com/sales.aspx.

4. Free stuff

I’m not a big fan of freebies, especially online freebies. Too often, they require you to do something in return or give up personal information, which hardly makes them “free.” But true freebies are out there. I recently scored a free reusable grocery bag from Target – which I’d told you about in my April 20 deals post – and you can find more legit freebies on our freebies page.

5. Deals of the day

Amazon.com is known for its steeply discounted Deal of the Day, but the trend is spreading. Lots of online stores – from Target and Walmart to Home Depot and Hotels.com – offer up one item each day at a bigger-than-usual discount, sometimes with free shipping thrown in. Stop by our deal-of-the-day page for a list of links to retail daily deals.

6. Cash-back websites

Online cash-back services like Ebates and Big Crumbs are a sure-fire way to shave at least a few percentage points off the price of just about any online purchase. Plus, the cash-back can often be combined with online sales and codes to maximize your savings. If you haven’t already signed up with one of these services, be sure to check out my recent article, How to Make Money With Rebate Websites.

7. Cash-back credit cards

If you pay off your credit card each month, a cash-back card can ensure you’ll pay less. For specific options, visit our credit card page or email Money Talks News credit card guru Jason Steele.

8. Mail-in rebates

These aren’t as common as they used to be, but when I do see them, they’re usually significant savings – if you can remember to mail them back before the deadline. (I kicked myself for forgetting about the $100 rebate that came with my cell phone.) The other risk with mail-in rebates is that they can get lost in the mail, although I’ve never had a problem with that.

9. Amazon-like retailers

Who doesn’t love Amazon.com? They sell seemingly everything imaginable – and not only is pretty much everything sold for less than full retail, many of their prices are unbeatable. Buy.com and Overstock.com can be worthy competitors, though.

10. Wholesale clubs

Shopping at warehouses like Costco is perhaps the best way to save money on groceries. Other potential warehouse deals include everything from furniture and electronics to clothing and fine jewelry. If you don’t already belong to one, check out my article How to Pick the Best Wholesale Club.

11. Outlet stores

Consumer Reports says you can save an average of 38 percent at outlet stores, but it’s not always a deal. Some outlets stock lesser-quality versions of what their non-outlet stores sell. To get what you pay for, check out 5 Tips for Finding Outlet Store Deals before making a long trip to an outlet mall.

12. Dollar stores

Not everything at the dollar store is a bargain either. Before you buy something, you have to stop and think about whether you could find it for less money elsewhere. Still, it’s a great place to find everything from gift wrap to cleaning supplies at well below retail. And yes, we’ve done that story too: 10 Dollar Store Duds and 5 Dollar Store Deals

13. Yard sales

Yard sales and garage sales can be a great place to find all kinds of things for a fraction of their retail price – if you know what you’re doing. Money Talks News’ expert yard sale shopper, Angela Colley, recently shared some of the best yard sale-hopping tips I’ve ever read in 10 Ways to Save Time and Money at Garage Sales.

14. Secondhand stores

Thrift stores are another great place to find items like housewares and clothing for a fraction of their retail price. They can be hit-or-miss, however, so instead of making a trip just to go thrifting, plot nearby stores on a map and stop by when you’re in the area. And remember that upscale finds are more common in stores in upscale neighborhoods.

15. Haggling

You have nothing to lose by asking for a lower price. In fact, Money Talks News founder and serial haggler Stacy Johnson says it’s “the easiest way to save money.” For haggling tips, check out last week’s article The Simplest Way to Save on Everything.

Karla Bowsher runs our deals page and covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Products That Will Help You Save Money
10 Products That Will Help You Save Money

Sometimes, spending a little cash right now can save you a lot of money down the road.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately
30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save. These canny deals are a good bet for savings.

5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’
5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’

These safety-conscious home upgrades can help retirees stay in their home.

Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card
Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card

Before you spend another dollar on items and services like these, check with your public library.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.