August 11, 2009

Home Design Money Saving Tips

Over at Young House Love, young home owners Sherry and John posted some money saving tips they've come across to keep some more dough in their pockets each month. They've inspired me to share some of my money saving home design tips:

• Use Coupons!
This one may seem fairly obvious, but it’s actually surprising how many stores offer coupons, they’re not just for grocery stores! Before making any big purchases (online or in-store), I Google the store name and “coupons”, “printable coupons,” or “promo codes” and see what comes up. Sometimes I find nothing, but other times I can save big. Either way, it’s worth the 2 minutes to do a simple search. Some stores, like AC Moore and Michaels, always post their coupons online so I never go into the store without having one printed. Just this week, I saved about $7 by using 40-50% off coupons in AC Moore.

• Sign-Up for Store Mailing /Emailing Lists
This one goes along with the coupons suggestion. Signing up for mailing lists, email lists, newsletters, and shopping clubs is a great way to get sale notifications, special offers, and coupons. I sign up for pretty much every store email list I come across using a separate email address just for these types of emails, this way my personal email doesn’t getting clogged and I don’t miss out on any deals. I get coupons emailed directly to me and I store them in my inbox until I’m ready to go to the store and print them. Even stores with highly coveted coupons like Home Depot send coupons by email. Recently, I joined the Home Depot Garden Club and have been receiving some sweet coupons for 10-15% and buy one get one free off plants (which I used on my gorgeous hibiscus). When installing my patio this summer, I saved over $150 by using 10% off movers coupon at Home Depot.

• Shop More Often
This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve saved lots of money by shopping more often! The trick is to go shopping without necessarily buying. I regularly stop by stores like Ross, Christmas Tree Shop, and Home Goods to check out their inventory. Buy stopping by these types of discount stores regularly, I can catch great deals when they come in, saving me money over having to buy the item in a more expensive store later. Plus by going into these stores regularly, I can wait for things to go on clearance and grab them off the sales rack to save even more. I can’t even begin to estimate how much I’ve saved by buying things on clearance because about 90% of what I buy has that lovely read clearance sticker on it!

• Comparison Shop
I won’t even go into the need to price compare between stores since I expect all Thrifty Theresas and Frugal Franks to already be doing this (plus it’s so easy to do online these days!), but I will mention price matching. Many big stores, like Home Depot and Lowes and electronics stores, will price match you if you find the same item cheaper elsewhere. But sometimes they will even price match another store if you find a similar item cheaper elsewhere. For example, Lowes was selling some patio pavers for a $1.74 each while Home Depot was selling very, very similar ones for $2.34 each. I wanted the Home Depot ones more and they wanted my business so after mentioning the thousands I’ve spent in their store recently and asking for a price match, they gave me one and I saved about $20.

• Buy Used
Buying gently used items from garage sales, craigslist, and flea markets is one of the best ways to save lots of cash. In addition to saving some green, you’re also being green by reusing someone else’s unwanted items and preventing them from ending up in landfills and stopping more waste by purchasing items new.
    o Craigslist Craigslist is such a great site, whenever I’m looking to make a big purchase that I wouldn’t mind buying used I start searching on Craigslist. I’ve saved hundreds (really!) by buying items on Craigslist like an elliptical machine (saved over $100) and a brand new bed boxspring (it was right from the store and still in the plastic, but I saved over $100 than what I would have paid in-store). Craigslist even has a “free” section where you can get other people’s cast offs for no change at all.
    o Garage Sales I love the fun of hunting for items and never knowing what treasures you’ll come across. Like Craigslist, garage sales let you save green and be green. Plus they’re a great way to get some fresh air and even exercise on a Saturday morning instead of lying around in bed. Most recently, I’ve scored some great garage sale finds like a $35 lighting fixture I was going to buy at Lowes anyway for just $1, a pair of buffet lamps for $5, a cool tea box for $3, and a cookbook for 25 cents. Just from those garage sale finds I saved about $100.  
    o Flea Markets Like garage sales, flea markets are great to save tons of cash on used items, but they are also a great place to buy new items. Many flea markets have stands with “dealers” selling new items they’ve bought at store closeouts. Flea markets are also a great place to buy plants, flowers, and trees. Recently, I bought 4 golden threadleaf cypress shrubs for $10 at a local flea market, while a pricier garden center was selling them for $40 each, a savings of $120! I also bought a crape myrtle tree that’s about 6 feet tall for $20, where the big home improvement stores were selling 1 foot trees for the same price.

So the total savings over the last couple of months just from the examples mentioned above is a whopping... $600!!!

How do you save money around your home?

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