Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saving Money on Shopping for the College Student

Today is laundry day. I woke up this morning and realized that I had run out of laundry soap at the end of fall semester. #collegeproblems

This called for a trip to Rite-Aid with a pit stop at Dunkin' Donuts. I got 4 Cup of Noodles, laundry detergent, and contact solution. Easy enough trip. What I didn't realize was that I have a deal-seeking missile now that I am broke college student. I'm certainly not on the Extreme Couponing level, but I do try to save here and there. It definitely adds up!

That is why I've opted to write a post on saving while shopping for the college student.

1) Buy the store brand.

Whether it is Rite-Aid, Shaw's, or Hannafords, the store brand is almost ALWAYS cheaper and tastes nearly the same. According to a Consumer Report article, "In our latest price study, filling a shopping cart with store brands saved us an average of 30 percent. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, those savings add up to more than $1,500 a year." While you may not spend $100 a week on a full meal plan, 30% is a pretty good discount.

2) Get the membership cards.

I have a Shaw's card and a Wellness+ card. Both of these cards give members discounts denoted by special tags on the shelves. For example, I was going to buy laundry detergent. There was deal for Wellness+ members: 2 laundry detergents for $10. One container was $9.29. Therefore, I bought two and I will certainly use them this semester with all the ski clothes I have to wash. You'll also see small discounts such as 50 cents off if you use your Wellness card.

Don't want to carry all those cards around? Download Key Ring for iPhone. You can save all the barcodes from your cards to the phone and have them all stored in one place. Nifty, huh?

3) Make a list.

And stick to it! If I don't have list, I spend WAY more than necessary. I go for toothpaste and I leave with toothpaste, a new hair clip, nail polish, eye liner, and gum, most  of which I didn't really need. A list generally assists with minimizing extra purchases. It also helps to remember everything. It is simple and I highly recommend it.

4) Join email and text lists.

I get weekly texts with my debit card balance. That means that every Friday at 9 pm I know my balance. This helps me to know when to save and when I can splurge a little. I also get texts from Charlotte Russe (sign up here) about their "Happy Hours." For example, I got a text on Thursday telling me about the Happy Hours on Friday and Saturday where all pumps would be $20. (Let's be honest, there is a good chance I'll buy a pair of shoes today. The reason I like Charlotte Russe pumps is that they make size 10 and 11, so I can actually fit in them.) I'm also on the email lists for Old Navy, Gap, BCBG Maxazria, amongst others. They go to a special folder in my email, which I can look through for sales and coupons. This is especially useful when I need something like new work clothes, a dress, or accessories.

So good luck and save! Have questions?
xoxo Gabbi


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