Never Pay Retail Again

Part of being a good steward of the money God has given us is finding the best prices on the things we buy every day. Some people have the resources to buy whatever they want whenever they want, but many of us are in lean times right now. The Lord may provide for our needs, but we also have a responsibility to keep our home in functioning, working monetary order.

There is absolutely no reason why we should ever have to pay full, retail price for our daily purchases. With a little planning and a little knowledge of the stores we shop in, we can find good uses for each dollar.

1. Make use of the Internet. With computer access, you can find hundreds of coupons, frugal living web sites and sale notices every day. Many stores and businesses have discount racks online that cut prices from what you'll find in stores. Do a little browsing and see what kind of savings you can stumble across.

2. Understand the seasons. Early in the summer isn't the time to buy bathing suits or outdoor furniture. Put off buying Christmas decorations until after December 25. Stores are fairly predictable in their sales, trying to get older merchandise out before the next season's come in. If you can be patient and forward-thinking, you can schedule most of your major purchases for the times when they'll be drastically reduced.

3. Pay attention to the sale papers. Grocery stores are especially good about getting sale papers into your hands each week. Plan your meals around them, wait to make purchases until the paper shows they're marked down and think ahead to how you might be able to use some of those items in upcoming days and weeks.

4. Combine your offers. Match your Internet coupons with the sales in the paper. Use a coupon from your favorite clothing store while they're having their big end-of-the-season sale for deeper discounts. Unless your store specifically says you can't, you should be able to combine savings items in several different ways.

5. Communicate with your favorites. Check to see if your favorites stores and restaurants have buyer cards or clubs on their web site. If you get on an e-mailing list, you can learn about sales ahead of time, receive coupons via the computer that other customers won't get and you can get discounts every time you shop.

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