SPECIAL REPORT: Never Pay Retail - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SPECIAL REPORT: Never Pay Retail

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - From lavish vacations to a night out on the town.  No matter what you're buying, you can live it up for a lot less.  "You never want to pay full price for an item, in fact you probably never need to pay sale price for an item," says Founder of Couponmom.com Stephanie Nelson.

How do you do it?  According to Nelson, there's a simple formula for saving on anything.

A little planning to find the deals, match those with other discounts, leads to extra dollars in your pocket.

"We call it stacking the savings, it's possible to get things absolutely free."

Here's a list of things you should never pay retail for:

Travel--There are plenty of websites out there to follow, like Travelzoo, Kayak and Hotwire, some will even send price alerts when airfare drops. Check out Bing travel, formerly Farecast.  It features a price tracker.

"I have an entertainment book and if you do, which you should, you can go to entertainment.com and register the book and then that enables you to get these really deep discounts on car rentals," explains Nelson.  As far as hotels, travel websites are just one way to save. 

Nelson says the old fashioned method of calling the hotel itself could score you an even better deal.  "Because sometimes they have special rates that they're giving out directly that can save you a lot of money."

Clothes--"If you're doing a big, shopping clothes trip, it's possible to save $100 with a coupon," says Nelson.  How?  According to Nelson, retailers are much more aggressive with sales than they used to be.  For example, years ago, and item would be full price at the beginning of the season, then go on sale at the end of the season.  Now, shoppers can catch sales all times of the year.

"Wait for a little time to go by to get the great sale, combine it with a coupon, you may save 75% on a nice clothes."

Other tips, get close to the clerks so you get insider treatment and a heads up for markdowns.  Take advantage of any customer rewards programs, and get deals delivered directly to your inbox.

Personal Care Products--"Because those are all items that frequently go on sale, always have coupons and at the drug stores they have automatic rebates."  This includes items like shampoo, toothpaste and diapers.

"If you can save say, $100 on personal care items, you actually have $100 extra to spend on the food that you like."

Groceries-- "Up to 40% of the average American's food dollar is wasted."  Nelson says that's because consumers either shop for food and never eat it, or double buy what's already in the pantry.  "If we were just smarter with our planning, you would save a lot more," adds Nelson.  They key of course is to combine sales like buy one get one, with coupons and stockpile items when they're at the lowest price.

Restaurants--At websites like restaurant.com, you can sometimes get $25 gift certificates for $2.    "I don't go to any restaurant without just going to Google and writing in that restaurant's name and the word coupon," says Nelson.  You can also take advantage of coupons that come in the mail and get specials delivered via email from your favorite restaurant.

Books and Magazines--Nelson says she shops at the Salvation Army or Goodwill for second hand paper backs.  I recently got a free, magazine subscription for three, different publications just for answering a survey from a retailer.

Movies/DVDs--I subscribed to have specials emailed, as well as come through text from Redbox.  The company will text you free, rental codes each week. Other companies offer similar discounts.

Prescriptions--You can talk to your doctor about samples before you buy a full prescription.  Publix offers free, antibiotics.  Plus, several drug stores, as well as retailers like Target offer gift cards for transferring prescriptions.

Appliances--Major retailers will often discount older models and even put them on clearance at some point.  Check several to price match, also look online and check with retailers to see if they have outlet or clearance centers.

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