We constantly talk about how we need to start saving money and make wiser decisions when we are shopping. We watch extreme couponer’s fill carts with hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and other items, only to pay next to nothing as they checkout. “I can do that,” you think to yourself. “I am going to start couponing!” Yeah, I have had the same thought, but once the time comes, laziness sets in and time becomes more valuable than money. That is, until we review bank and credit card statements only to feel disgusted at all of the missed opportunities we had to save.

Rule number one of the Saving Thousands Rules to Success is an important guideline to follow for saving money. It will also come in handy as you prepare for the upcoming holiday season. You don’t have to be extreme when trying to save money. There are actually several opportunities and tools you can use to receive discounts, compare prices and ultimately save money. The best part is that it doesn’t take that much effort, so drop the excuses and start using these easy ways to save money.

Store Newsletters

Brands spend a lot of money to build loyal customers. With markets being extremely competitive, they explore every avenue to have ensure that their brand and products are in front of their audience. One way they do this is through newsletters.

All kinds of stores and restaurants offer a newsletter sign-up for their customers. Though they are using it to build loyal followers, you can use it to take advantage of discounts and deals they offer. Many times, they will send you a coupon or discount just for being a loyal customer.

I am sure you are thinking about how you don’t want your inbox full of spam emails and newsletters. Hint: Create a totally different email address just for that reason. Every time you check out they ask you for your email address so they can send you updates and coupons. Make a separate email address and create a folder for each store. That way you can keep it organized and your regular email free from being overloaded.

Social Media

You use Twitter for instant news updates and information, so why not use it to stay up-to-date on deals and discounts with your favorite stores? You might be wondering why you would need to follow a department store or brand, but it is a great way to keep up with what is going on with their sales.

Have you ever tried directly tweeting at them or commenting on a post? If you find a great deal at one of their competitors let them know. If they are smart, they will respond. It’s, at least, worth a shot.

You can also compete in social media contests that stores and other websites are hosting. They are doing it for a specific purpose: to grow more followers. Join in and see if you can win some money or a gift card. PCworld.com has an excellent step-by-step guide on how you can enter Twitter contests.

Mobile Apps

Get off Candy Crush and start using apps that will help you save some time and money. With the holidays coming up these mobile applications will definitely be of use. Go download these apps, after you finish reading this of course, and start saving some money and earning rewards.

Shopkick Rewards You for Just Showing Up

Shopkick needs to be on your phone. It becomes addictive, but the good kind of addictive. You receive points just for entering the store. Points are called “kicks”. The more kicks that you accumulate, the more reward opportunities that you have. You earn kicks three ways: walking into the store, scanning specific items with your phone and making purchases. You can then cash those kicks in for gift cards and other rewards. If you are going to shop, you might as well get rewarded for it. Do you ever get bored while your significant other is shopping? Go on a scavenger hunt and find the items you can scan for points in Shopkick. It helps pass the time.

ShopSavvy Helps Find the Best Deal

Not sure if you are getting the best deal? ShopSavvy is here to help. All you have to do is simply scan the barcode on the item you are interested in and see if you can find it cheaper at a different store. You can also get updates directly to your phone when new deals happen on items that you are interested in. It helps you easily find deals in your area.

Video courtesy of ShopSavvy.com

Other Apps to Consider

Stockup– Shoppers enter prices, create shopping lists and compare deals for other shoppers while earning points.

Wal-Mart Savings Catcher– buy at Wal-Mart and enter your receipt to see if a competitor beat their prices. If they did, receive the difference from Wal-Mart in a gift card.

PriceGrabber– Scan items to see if there is a better deal in your area.

Coupons.com App– Choose from thousands of coupons and clip them to help save money.

More can be found here.

Credit Card Rewards

This is where a red flag comes up for some. Credit cards?! “Stay away!” Actually, use them— but use them wisely. Check to see the conditions of your credit card rewards program. If you use a card that provides cash back on purchases, use that card when making the purchase and immediately pay it off. You get the points without racking up your balance. Some even have a rewards program for shopping online through their rewards program to earn even more rewards, like the one you can find here.

Deal Websites

Today, there are websites for everything. Some are worth reading and, well, others are not worth your time. There are a few, however, that have proven to help consumers find deals and save money. These websites and blogs help deliver that latest deals and ways you can save while you shop.

DealNews.com

 

 

Woot.com

 

FatWallet.com

 

RetailMeNot.com