Top 3 Ways Smart Shoppers Can Streamline Their Budgets

When most frugal-minded folks look at an over-stuffed budget, their first inclination is to start making cuts.

While we’re all for eliminating unnecessary purchases, being frugal isn’t just about denying yourself things that you want but don’t need.

It’s also learning to optimize your spending habits so you CAN have some of those toys now and then.

Check out our 3 favorite shopping tips that should help you get more out of your budget each month:

3. Buy at the Right Time

Timing is everything, they say, yet many people don’t know how crucial timing can be when making major purchases.

Knowing the best time to buy that new car, house or lawnmower could be the difference between saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year.

Rather than slashing pricey purchases from your budget, savvy savers are better off planning ahead, anticipating key purchases throughout the coming year and identifying the optimal shopping date.

Some buying dates are no-brainers that just require a little discipline.

Air conditioners, for example, are cheapest in October once the sweaty summer season has past.  Makes sense.

Sure you might feel silly shopping for a new unit while your friends are picking out winter coats, but you’ll be the one laughing once they see how much money you saved.

Other items, though, can be trickier and require a little insider info.

Did you know that January is the best time to buy a bicycle?

How about that October is the cheap season for jeans shoppers?

To help layout your shopping strategy, check out FreeShipping.org’s “Best Time to Buy Guide” for 75 products and services.

2. Cash In On Gift Cards

Unused gift cards are a multi-BILLION dollar black hole in American budgets!

It’s been estimated that there’s around $40 billion in unclaimed gift cards collecting dust in US homes right this moment.

Go through your drawers.

Check those jacket pockets and clean out the desks.

Gift cards are easy gifts but are sometimes just as easily forgotten.

Another simple way to stretch your budget with gift cards is by purchasing discounted cards for everyday purchases.

Using websites like GiftCardGranny.com, you can find cards for brands like Best Buy and JC Penny on sale for 10-50% less than their value.  Stock up and save.

1. Never Pay for Shipping

After doing your frugal best to sniff out a great online deal, there are a few moments more deflated for shoppers than seeing exorbitant shipping fees tacked on to your formally fantastic price tag.

Paying for shipping in 2010 is just unnecessary and something all of use can virtually eliminate from our budgets.

Check out FreeShipping.org for free shipping coupons to over 2400 merchants like Sears and Victoria’s Secret and keep those discount prices where they belong.

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