How to Save Big on the Little Things (Part 1)

020My husband and I recently bought a new chandelier to replace the old one over our table. We went to our local home improvement stores and browsed the light fixtures, landing on three we liked well enough to buy. None were on sale, so we waited and checked back, and waited some more. When we checked back recently, we found one of the three had been marked down to almost 60% off. The fixture retailed for $159 (the most expensive of the three we liked) but was marked down to $69. We bought it and saved $90 off retail.

If we hadn’t kept our options open and been willing to wait, we wouldn’t have saved the $90. But since we didn’t have to have a specific fixture, and since we didn’t have to have it right away, we saved some money.

1. Keep your options open

Instead of committing to buy my favorite item (which is probably more expensive), I can save money by picking my “top three” and then waiting for a deal. I may not get my first choice, but saving money is equally gratifying (if not more gratifying) than getting exactly what I want.

Depending on the item, sometimes I still want to stay within a particular brand or type to get something longer-lasting/better-performing, even if it’s more expensive (especially true with appliances and electronics). But if the quality of several items is equal, I can often get an item at about half the price of my “first choice” if I keep my options open (and sometimes I can get my “first choice” half price if I wait).

2. Wait for a sale

Walking away and waiting for a sale is not fun at the time, but it’s even worse to buy something at full price and then see it was marked down later (some stores will honor a later discount if you show your receipt soon enough). It takes patience to watch and wait for a sale, but if I’m already keeping my options open, I shouldn’t have to wait too long. And if the item is available online, I can definitely get a sale by using promo codes, grouping the item with a “percent-off total purchase” deal, or waiting for a seasonal/holiday sale.

Using these two principles can save a lot of money, and saving money is always fun!