Small business owners: should you ever pay the full retail price of ANYTHING? If you are questioning everything, the answer, increasingly, is no! In an effort to lure reluctant shoppers, retailers seem to be discounting or rewarding us for shopping more than ever. We are talking everything from office furniture and equipment to software to food to clothing. There has never been a better time to be a (savvy) consumer. And those with extreme cost-savings methods have financed college educations on their savings (you could use to help fund a small business) -and given a great deal to their communities as well.
Step one on your plan to save big: sign up for Groupon and Living Social, both social/group buying sites. You will most frequently see restaurants and personal services listed on these daily sites but they also run a pretty broad variety of retail goods.
Step two: list ALL of your favorite merchants, including small business suppliers, and go to their sites and register. Be sure to check the “yes, send me special offers” box to receive coupons via email. Be sure this includes your favorite grocery stores and move on to step four.
Which is: keep all of your loyalty cards on a key ring OR consider the CardStar app for your smartphone. You can store all of your loyalty reward numbers on this and show this checkout. Always use your rewards cards. Most large grocers (they have apps too!) allow you to download coupons directly to your loyalty card and keep track of coupons, gas points, etc. via the grocer app.
Step five: investigate some secrets of extreme couponers. Let’s be real. Few of us have the time/energy to go to the 20-40 hours per week of work these folks do, BUT they do sometimes save $60k or more per year and often donate huge amounts of food and personal products.
Step six: dig deeper into your airline rewards program. Generally you can use your rewards card to get discounts on everything from meals to clothes and accrue airline miles in the meantime! Shop via their site first.
Step seven: consider used. Seriously, with Americans being the #1 consumers in the world, we give away or throw out perfectly good things. Check craigslist for electronics, furniture, vehicles, office equipment and check Amazon for books, music, electronics, etc. Don’t forget your local thrift store for clothes. Ask yourself IF you have to buy it new.
I could write an entire book on this topic, but if you only do a few of these things and track/invest the funds toward your small business or other goals, you will be surprised at how quickly the savings. What do you use for big savings?
by Steven Schlagel