Winter vacation is over, the temperature is rising, and the snow is melting in the yard. That's the good news. The bad news is that I get a clear picture of how awful my lawn looks. I have a lot of spring cleaning to do.
Great, another expense looms large on the horizon. If I don't plan for it, it will cost me. Cost me in purchases that I will make on their terms instead of mine. Advantage: big box store. They love a desperate, unprepared customer, don't they?
However, it's not too late to plan to save. I received a 10% off coupon in the mail for Lowe's Home Improvement Store. Good start. Knowing that I have a number of things to buy and will end up spending money there, I look through my "gift card bulletin board" to see if I can get any help there. I read recently that the average household has > $300 in unused gift cards lying around! I keep them all out in the open on full display so I don't forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind. I found a few bucks in there but still not enough to make me feel like I'm making a dent. I will also search for weekly sale items to add some savings.
Opening a store credit card is an option for additional savings on a one time purchase but that's not a good practice for your credit rating so I don't consider that a practical option to save on this purchase.
Discount gift cards are the best option I have found once I got over my own personal stigma of them... Remember that nervous feeling you had when you used a home-printed copy of a ticket or coupon for the first time? I thought an alarm was going to go off when they scanned it and security was going to come out and cuff me for trying scam the store. I'm over that feeling now and have used these discounted cards several times. (20% from Ann Taylor- that's a win/win for my wife and me!)
ABC Gift Cards and Plastic Jungle are the two spots I have used to save between 7-22% on things I was going to buy anyway. That's a built-in discount, a reward for my planning is how I like to think about it. And on top of the sale and the coupon, I'm on my way to saving 20%+!
All it takes is a bit of planning. The savings is there. I hope my sad lawn and I will prosper from this effort this spring.
What else do you do to save a few bucks on upcoming large purchases?