6 scary saving mistakes that will haunt your budget

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Halloween shopping
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Ghosts and goblins aren’t the only spooky things at stores these days. In an attempt to shop savvy, many consumers go hunting for deals but end up making scary spending mistakes that cost them more in the long run. When it comes to bargain shopping, there’s a fine line between successfully saving and wasting money. With so many promotions and coupons offered by retailers these days, it’s easy to lose focus on what you really need and become overly consumed with scoring a discount. Unfortunately, there are several saving strategies that are actually doing more harm to your budget than good.

Learn how to shop smarter by avoiding these six scary saving mistakes, which will haunt your budget

Assuming sale prices are the best deals

Whether a retailer is promoting a store-wide sale or coupon, don’t assume the sale price is the best price you can get. While it’s nice to save 10 or 20% off, wouldn’t it be even nicer to save 30 or 40%? Running a quick search online for a coupon code and comparing prices to see what competitors are offering may help you uncover additional savings.

What’s more, Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com recommends using apps such as ShopSavvy for in-store price comparison and GiftCardGranny for discount gift cards to help score deeper discounts. She says that “just because something is on sale, doesn’t necessarily mean that you found the best price.” So, keep searching for that better price!

Buying more to save more

The “buy more, save more” deal is a popular promotion used by many different retailers, from grocery stores to big box retailers to clothing brands, and it often compels shoppers into spending more money than they planned. Tiered offers such as $25 off $75 or $50 off $150 are designed to make you think you’re getting a better value when you buy more even though the savings are usually the same percentage off. When such deals intrigue you, do the math to determine if you will truly get a better bargain. Otherwise, stick to your budget and enjoy whatever savings you receive as a result. One surefire way to reduce the temptation is to shop with cash. This way, you can’t spend more than you planned to in the first place.

Saving on cheap products

In your quest to save money, you may head to the clearance section or dollar store to find inexpensive products. No matter how little you spend on an item, however, something that doesn’t work well, falls apart or breaks easily is a waste of money that you’ll have to replace. Often times, it’s smarter to spend more on quality and longer-lasting items like clothing and certain gadgets.

Bodge recommends inspecting clothing carefully to ensure seams and buttons are in tact and that the fabric is of good quality. When it comes to tech items, she says to read expert reviews online to ensure the product will last and offers the features you need and want.  

Applying for a store card to get a discount

Shoppers are often tempted to sign up for a new store card in exchange for a discount of 10 to 20%. However, unless you shop at one particular retailer often the rewards you get won’t be as useful as those from a bank-issued card offering cash back or miles. Not to mention, store cards typically carry high interest rates with low credit limits and expensive fees. Plus, you’re likely to buy more during that transaction to benefit from the limited deal. If you’re looking to save money on any purchase, sign up for a retailer’s e-newsletter as many stores send coupons to new registrants. For example, Gap offers email subscribers 25% off full-priced items just for signing up.

Increasing your cart value to get free shipping

Many online retailers these days require you to spend a certain amount of money in order to qualify for free shipping. Such minimum order thresholds may reach as high as $50, $75 or even more than $100 before free delivery kicks in. When faced with this delivery charge conundrum, make sure to compare prices across multiple e-stores to see who has the best price and lowest shipping minimum. Spending a few extra dollars on the purchase in order to save on shipping is going to be a better buy in the long run, so factor this additional cost into the overall price. Otherwise, look for free site-to-store pick-up options or take advantage of 30-day trials at ShopRunner or Amazon Prime to get free, two-day delivery.

Overbuying daily deals

Daily deals create a sense of urgency and prey on our fear of missing out by promoting limited-time offers with significant savings on tempting experiences like dining out, spa services or adventure activities. The fleeting nature of these offers make them all the more appealing, yet many of these deals expire quickly and end up going unused.  To avoid the temptation to overbuy, unsubscribe from daily deal alerts and take their apps off your phone. If you have a daily deal you know you won’t use, try selling it on CoupRecoup.com to receive some of your money back.

RELATED: The Clark.com Online Shopping Guide

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Andrea Woroch About the author:
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps Americans find easy ways to live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers and super savers. As an established on-air contributor and sought after media source, ...Read more
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