15 Golden Rules for Saving on Every Purchase

We've got a big list of ways to save on everything -- and we do mean everything.

7. Make a habit of sharing purchases

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Look for ways to share purchases with others. Maybe that means something as formal as creating a neighborhood co-op where families come together to make shared purchases on tools and other items you only use occasionally. Or, it can be as simple as calling up a friend and asking whether she wants to go in on a purchase or rental of a particular item.

8. Consider whether you can make it or do it yourself

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You can save a boatload of money if you do things yourself rather than paying someone else to do the job. From making your own laundry detergent to DIY home repairs, many of the things you purchase can be replaced by your own ingenuity or a little elbow grease.

9. Compare, compare, compare

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Knowledge is power, and your money will have more buying power if you take the time to do a little research. Never make a purchase without first checking prices at other retailers and online. Websites such as PriceGrabber, Shopzilla and NexTag make it easy to find the lowest price.

10. Don’t let can’t-miss deals fool you

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Slick salesmen and retailers might pressure you for an immediate sale, arguing that prices have never been so low.

They are toying with you, my friends. Like a cat plays with a mouse, they are trying to back you into a corner where you feel you can’t possibly say no. But competition is fierce, and the reality is there will always be another sale.

Don’t buy unless you’ve done enough research to know the deal is good.

11. Try doing without

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You might be inclined to run out and buy something as soon as the old version has worn out or breaks. Instead, wait a couple of days or even weeks before making a purchase. You might do fine without the item, or discover you have another item that can work as an acceptable substitute.

12. Look for a coupon

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Coupons are available for everything from groceries and auto repairs to online purchases.

If you dine out regularly, see if a coupon book or key card would be a good investment. These are often sold as fundraisers through schools and clubs, but you can also buy them online. You can also get coupons by signing up for the mailing lists of your favorite stores or agreeing to receive mobile alerts.

Finally, don’t forget to search for coupons and promos when shopping online. And remember that Coupons.com releases a fresh batch of coupons on the first day of the month.

13. Reduce the bottom line with online rewards

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In addition to coupons, you can save money by taking advantage of online rebate programs. Our favorites are Ebates and Swagbucks but a simple web search will turn up many others. You can also use rewards programs. You might not get savings upfront, but you can receive a nice check or other rewards later.

14. Use a rewards credit card

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Rewards credit cards provide overall savings on your purchase in the form of cash back or rewards points that can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards or travel.

The one caveat with rewards credit cards is to be aware of their interest rates. If you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, the amount of interest you pay can negate any rewards you receive.

If you don’t already have a card, you can find a comprehensive list of rewards credit cards in our Solutions Center here.

15. Only pay cash

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Finally, if you really want to save money on everything you’ll ever buy, only pay with cash. Research shows that using cash discourages spending, while using credit cards and gift certificates may encourage it. In addition, spending cash keeps you accountable by ensuring you only use the money you have on hand rather than basing your purchases on some vague notion of what might be available in your bank account or on your credit card.

Did we miss any great ways to save? Tell us your favorite money-saving method in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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

Maryalene LaPonsie
Maryalene LaPonsie
After 13 years as a staffer for a Michigan legislator, I decided it was time to quit the commute and work from home instead. For the past three years, I’ve been penning ... More

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