Ay ay ay, it's been quite a long time since you've heard from me, friends! Don't worry, though, I've still been busy scoping out great deals and ways to keep my - and your - wallet afloat!
Today, I'm writing to share with you two little stories. First, this one:
When I was growing up, my grandmother had a reputation in our family as being an amazing - sometimes shockingly amazing - Scrabble player. Some of us would sit in awe as we watched her racking up 50, 60, 90 point words. "How do you do that?" someone would sometimes ask. Her advice? Don't stop at one special square. She would explain how sometimes people would see a chance to put a word on a "double word score" spot and sit back, thinking it was enough to put them ahead. But her goal was always to try and get at least two special squares in a single play - say, a double letter square AND a triple word score square, or two triple letter squares. Or even better, to add on to an existing word and get those points, as well as one or two additional special squares.
Why am I telling you this story?
Because this advice also applies to things like coupons and sales.
One sale - say, an item being 20% off - might look very appealing, just like that old triple word score square. But in the end, that's really only one "special square." Instead, every time you're purchasing something brand new, try out my grandmother's advice, and round up at least two or more ways to save on the item and then "play" them all at once! This will take you from someone who stumbled on a sale to someone who is a shockingly amazing saver!
Here's my second story, about what this looks like in action. Recently, I tried this strategy out at Sears.com, and I managed to reduce my cost from $104 down to just $30, by playing several "special savings squares" all at once. Here's how that went down:
Microfleece zip up sweater, orig. $36
Dress shirt, orig. $14.99
Pants, orig. $39
Shipping, orig. $13.95
ORIGINAL TOTAL: $103.95
SAVINGS "SPECIAL SQUARE" #1: Sales and Clearance:
Microfleece on sale for $11.99
Dress shirt on clearance for $9.99
Pants on sale for $17.99
Total Reduced To: $53.92
SAVINGS "SPECIAL SQUARE" #2: Memberships
As a Sears "member" (Not a Sears Card member -- just being someone who has signed up to subscribe for their e-mail list, which is FREE), I was eligible for a special "members only" sale on the pants, which brought them down to $9.99.
Because of my Sears.com free membership, I had somehow received 6000 "surprise!" points from ShopYourWay.com, which meant I got an additional $6 off my purchase.
My membership also allowed me to sign up for a free 90 day trial of "Shop Your Way MAX," which gives you FREE 2-Day shipping on many items. Two of my items qualified. That brought my shipping down to just $5.35.
Total Reduced To: $32.92
SAVINGS "SPECIAL SQUARE" #3: Coupon Code
Last but not least, I also found an online coupon code to enter that took 15% off my entire purchase.
This code did not apply to clearance items, so I didn't get as much off as I otherwise would have, but still, it took off a few extra dollars once tax was added in....
GRAND TOTAL INCLUDING TAX = $30.
Plus some extra perks: My free trial of SYW MAX means I'm getting my stuff even faster than if I had paid for shipping. AND I was able to earn additional Sears.com points for this purchase, which I'll be able to use the next time I decide to buy something there.
As you may be able to tell, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself - this may be one of my greatest "cheap" accomplishments to date! (Especially considering that at the Goodwill by my house, just a pair of pants without holes in them usually runs about $20 with tax. )
But this isn't a lightning strike that will only happen once. The same thing can work for you, as well! Just remember: just like how anyone can put down a word on one "special square" on the Scrabble board, anybody can find a clearance rack. But by taking an extra minute or two to create a multi-level strategy, you can "level up" to being a truly saavy shopper.
Happy savings, friends!!