Also, don't miss out on community-based services like the Freecycle Network, where people in your area post items they want to give away. (The caveat: This setup isn't a one-way street -- you are expected to post your goodies for swap, too.) Similarly, also check out Swaptree.
Get a credit card that earns you points or awards, and then put all of your purchases on it. The trick to making this tip pay off for you is to make sure that you pay your bill off in full each month, lest finance charges negate any savings you're making.
We've used Discover Platinum for years and put everything from groceries to school bills to gas on it. With this card, they give you a cash back bonus in monetary form, or you can choose to increase the amount with one of their partner stores. We always opt to increase it and get gift cards for places like restaurants (Red Lobster and others) and bookstores (such as Borders). We've often doubled our cash back bonus by getting Blockbuster gift cards (pay $20 in cash back money and get 10 rentals -- worth $40). We haven't had to pay to rent a movie in years!
One Phoenix, Arizona mom recently moved to a new home, and for convenience, she charged all of her home improvement expenses -- everything from sheetrock to carpeting -- to a single Visa card. (The bill was paid in full each month.) A couple months later, she turned her accumulated points into a new top-of-the-line iPod, which she kept for herself as a reward for having lived for months with half-built walls and ancient linoleum floors.
You can also depend on Target clearing out their baby gear (strollers, high chairs, car seats, etc.) each January to make room for the new year's arrivals. We bought a Maclaren umbrella stroller this year for $80 (was $170, and still sells for that online). But be quick: Usually the baby clearance items only get down to about a 50% discount before everything is snapped up.
According to Kim Danger of Mommysavers.com, who also authored the article, "Hitting the Bullseye: Strategies for Shopping at Target," the typical Target store follows this weekly markdown schedule:
Monday: Kids Clothing and Electronics
Tuesday: Women's Clothing and Domestics
Wednesday: Men's Clothing, Toys, Health and Beauty
Thursday: Lingerie, Shoes, Housewares
Friday: Cosmetics, Housewares, Automotives
With this method, Gloria often gets meat at a huge discount -- for example, whole chickens for $3.00. Simply combine coupons to this strategy to make an even sweeter deal!
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