Working moms are sensitive to scarcity of resources. We are particularly sensitive to the scarcity of money. That’s probably because we work so hard to earn our paychecks. Indeed, for those of us with very young children, every hour that we are at work is an hour that we are away from our children. So, money is not something that we want to squander.
We are particularly sensitive to money at this time of year. We are just starting to receive our credit card bills from our holiday purchases. While the holidays are magical they are expensive. So, now more than ever is the time to maximize every dollar. Below, is a list of three tips for getting the best deals in 2014. I compiled them using some tips provided by Jean Chatzky and “The Today Show” the other day as well as things that I have learned from years of trying to live the most glamorous live possible at the least possible cost.
- Research Prices: Many stores will match the lowest advertised price of a competitor. So, if you have the time, shop around. Best Buy, Home Depot and Staples will match prices. All you need is proof of the competitor’s price.
- Look for Coupons: Going on-line to find a coupon or a promotional code before buying anything--electronics, clothes, or even groceries. There are coupons for everything. Just Google whatever you’d like to buy. Giant Eagle will even cash competitor’s coupons. So, take note, you can shop where you normally would and still save! Ebates is a great way to get cash back from on-line purchases. If you’re going to buy the item anyway, Ebates is a great way to make it less painful. First, you need to sign up for Ebates, then visit the site before making a purchase. Look on the site to whether your online store is registered with Ebates. If they are, just log in and shop!
- Shop Discount Stores: The secret to getting what you want and not going broke is buying it at the right price. I am a HUGE fan of discount shopping. I’ve shopped at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for years. For on-line shopping I am partial to Bluefly and Neiman Marcus Last Call. They have great fashionable clothes as well as unique items for your home.
- Ask for a Discount: NPR runs this series called, "This American Life" The other day, I heard a segment called, "The Good Guy Discount". Here's a link to hear more http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/515/good-guys. In a nutshell, there's this belief/practice that "good guys" like other "good guys" and want to help them. If you apply this shtick, you can save lots of money. Not being a guy or necessarily good, I haven't tried that. However, I have tried asking, "is that the best you can do?" or "Are you running any specials?" At certain stores, like Macy's, it usually saves me some money. It is also highly effective with hotels. I used to get upgraded on flights using that, but the airlines have become stricter. MJ Tocci Co-founder of the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women insists that everything is negotiable. She was even trying to get a discount on gasoline for a while. I'm not sure if that worked or not.
- Make an Effort: When you're shopping, look good and wear a smile. I may not be sold on the "good guy discount", but my grandmother taught me about the power of flattery and looking good. It can get you everywhere...almost.
Bonus Tip: Here’s a bit of unsolicited advice, only buy things that you can afford. As working moms we should be reluctant to carry a lot of debt. Having debt means that your job owns you. Being in that position makes you vulnerable, scared and does not bring out the best in you. “Leaning in” should be voluntary and not be imposed upon you because you have chosen to live above your means.