Ways To Save Money With A Personal Budget

February 10, 2023
Ways To Save Money With A Personal Budget

If you are prepared to wait for something to go on sale to avoid paying the highest retail price for that item/purchase, you risk it being sold out when the deal gets promoted. Setting price drop alerts are a fantastic way to be notified not to miss out but get the best price for your personal budget. In today's blog, I want to cover all the other savvy ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs for shopping.

In today's blog, I will cover how to:

  1. Compare Prices
  2. Price Alerts and Price Tracking
  3. Price Matching
  4. Review Cancellation Policies
  5. Find out Return Policies
  6. Use Coupons
  7. Sign up for Bonuses
  8. Find Rebates
  9. Get Discount Codes
  10. Use Credit Card Offers
  11. Negotiate

You might also want to know Top 10 ways to fight inflation by buying what you need at the right time

1. Compare Prices

Thanks to a new host of shopping comparison apps and websites, it's easier than ever to compare where to buy an item online. The best way to search for an individual item to compare is to put it into Google.com/shopping, and Google will find you all the top retailers with their best prices.

What if you want to compare entire lists of items to see which store has the best overall price for your personal budget?

For example, groceries. The best App on the market is Frugle. This App lets you build lists of items and compare them against competing leading supermarkets. See our handy list of other grocery shopping comparison apps and what they offer.

2. Price Alerts and Price Tracking

Would you like to see more information about an item's price? Like what it was during the AfterPay sale six months ago? Want to get an alert if the price drops? Then, my friend, there is an App for that.

Fetchie- Save items from any retail stores in one place and get up-to-date pricing, pricing history, and price drop alerts. Add as many products across multiple retailers as you want to your Fetchie, and it will track the prices for you, show you the historical pricing trends for the item, and you can set an alert for price changes. Perfect for buying at the right time of year and knowing exactly when a sale affects what you want to buy.

Come armed with the information you need to prove the prices. Try using the Fetchie App to keep tabs on the costs of items from multiple retail stores, so you can confirm what the prices are across the board and be sure to read our blog article on the 12 Best Price Comparison Apps in Australia.

3. Price Matching

"If you find a better price, we'll beat it by 10%"

There are many reasons we buy from certain shops, convenience, good customer experience, and a decent price match policy certainly doesn't hurt. There are many ways to take advantage of price matching, but you must understand all the catches. For example, some hotel chains require you to complete your reservation before submitting a price match request, while others have timelines of when you can claim.

Sometimes items go on sale after you've made a purchase, but the retailer may have a "find a cheaper price after your purchase and we'll refund you the difference" policy. It's worth understanding the policies on offer, so we've put together this handy guide for you and your personal budget.

4. Review Cancellation Policies

Sometimes a company's price match policy dictates that you must first buy the item in question or book the hotel room before you can ask to match a lower price.

Research the cancellation policy so that if the price match does not work in your favour, you are not stuck paying the higher price than your personal budget and can cancel your purchase and buy or book elsewhere. When you book accommodation, you enter into a contract with your chosen provider, which includes terms and conditions regarding deposits, booking fees and cancellations.

There's no one type of cancellation policy a provider will offer, but there is Australian consumer law they must abide by.

Some example cancellation policies you might encounter include the following shown below:

These tips will help protect your rights when shopping online. Consider only buying from online sellers in Australia or overseas that:

  • Have a good reputation; you might want to read Google reviews.
  • Display transparent processes for solving problems and giving replacements and refunds.
  • Display transparent systems for protecting the security and privacy of your personal and financial details.
  • Display their business registration number, phone number, and physical address.
  • Before buying, check the terms and conditions carefully, so you know what you're paying for and that there are no hidden costs or restrictions.
  • Before you start, ensure your computer, tablet, or phone is secure by installing or updating security and anti-virus software.
  • Shop around. Ask questions and ask for pictures, so you know what you are getting. Compare prices on different sites.
  • Before paying: beware of sellers asking for your bank PIN or password. Never buy from these sellers. Please report them to the ACCC.
  • Check that the site is secure. It should have a padlock symbol and an address starting with https://
  • Ensure that you can check the progress of your order online.
  • Consider using a third-party escrow agent to pay for valuable items, as they'll hold the payment in trust until you receive and accept the item.
  • Keep copies of all documents, including electronic records of auction bids, item descriptions, emails and receipts, in case of a problem later.
  • Email the seller outlining the issue and how you want it resolved if there is a problem.
  • If you paid by credit card and did not receive the product or service, contact your bank and ask them to reverse an unauthorised charge.

5. Find out Return Policies

Thankfully, many online shops are now offering easy ways to return items if they don't suit you. This is especially helpful with clothing & footwear, but you need to have a quick read of the return policy; otherwise, you might be unable to get your money back. Many retailers, including David Jones, Myer and THE ICONIC, will happily offer a change of mind refund. Lots of stores do! If you often change your mind about purchases, you should stick to shopping with stores that offer refunds for change of mind, especially for a personal budget.

Are you entitled to a refund? Run through this checklist, and you'll be able to work out if you can get a refund under Australian law.

  • The item is faulty or damaged
  • You were sent the wrong item
  • You were sent the wrong size
  • The item doesn't work as a reasonable person would expect it to work, e.g. an LED makeup mirror that doesn't light up.
  • The item is significantly different from the product images and description.

6. Use Coupons

While here in Oz, we might not have the same coupon options as the ones we see on extreme coupon shows in the USA, but Australia does have ways to get coupons and discounts.

Special deal sites - Businesses place special offers on sites such as Groupon, Catch and similar. Their deal of the day is usually the best offer.

The Back of Receipts -Many stores have coupons at the back or bottom of receipts. Pizza, dry cleaning, carpet cleaning and accommodation are the most common options on my receipts. Check the expiry date, as sometimes they are pretty short. Try using Shopadocket

Bloggers/Influencers and Social Media – Influencers often have great discounts, coupon codes and special offers when they do reviews. Check hashtags such as a freebie, discount, comp, giveaway etc. for deals and giveaways. Numerous businesses share exclusive ones on their social channels you can't access elsewhere.

7. Sign up for Bonuses

When making any purchase, check to see if they have a rewards program, loyalty club or newsletter with bonuses. Most sites will have a pop-up offering a discount if you subscribe to their marketing newsletter. If you want tips on managing all the email subscriptions you accumulate from signing up for marketing newsletter, have a read of our blog here.

8. Find Rebates

With Cashback sites, you can get money back from online shopping and rebuild a personal budget. From food to clothes or accommodation, everything is covered. They all work similarly, are free to join and can save you heaps.

You can download the apps to your phone and add them to your Chrome toolbar at the top. Each site offers instructions on how to do that. This way, no matter where you shop online, you can be sure you are getting a discount if one is available.

Shopback – You can receive a slice of the commission that Shopback earns from its partners. Get Cashback and other rewards as you shop, and use those for future purchases or withdraw the Cashback you've earned.

Cashrewards- It's free to join; you find your favourite stores on their website or App and click to shop as usual. Get cashback into your PayPal or bank account.

9. Get Discount Codes

Honey by PayPal- Add the website extension, which automatically looks for codes when you shop on selected sites. Honey does the hard work of finding working codes and can apply the one with the most significant savings to your cart. Although honey is a great coupon, cashback and more product, it's primarily aimed at the US, but hopefully, it will extend more to Australia in time.

10. Use Credit Card Offers

It may sound counter-intuitive, but using credit cards can save money if you or your family travel each year. Credit cards get a bad rap, and that's mostly because they can lead you to temptation to spend beyond your means, but if your yearly plan includes travelling and you pay off your balance each month, there are savings to be had in your personal budget.

Using a credit card comparison site such as Finder will let you compare major credit cards to see what offers they include. You can get things like annual travel credit (usually equal to the yearly charge for the card), free travel insurance, airline points for every dollar spent, lounge passes, seat upgrades, free flights, cash back, and more. All with their own catches though, so do some comparison shopping first.

11. Negotiate

It's to your benefit to embrace the art of negotiation. Having worked in retail for many years, I know there is always room for face-to-face negotiation, in-store and possibly over the phone. Retail staff often have visibility where there is wiggle room on profit margins and can often put packages together for you with discounts on items with higher profit margins.

Retail workers may have targets they are trying to meet, so if you are willing to buy a bunch of things in one go, like a computer, bag, mouse, software, and other accessories, all you need to say is, "What kind of package offer can you give me?" Staff will help you work out all the accessories that would suit you and your personal budget; then they can look on the computer for what the total profits on the sale are and offer you a discount based on profit margins. Here are a few phrases to try, depending on your situation.

Here are a few phrases to try, depending on your situation.

"All I have in my budget is X" -Now, the key is to stay about 10% under the actual number so that if the total you negotiate is a little over your nominated amount, you can still say "Deal!" and walk away with what you want.

"What would your cash price be?" -Many small businesses will offer a discount if sales are secured via cash, but it's less effective with large multi-chain type stores.

"How far can you come down in price to meet me?" -Similar to the maximum budget statement, you can test the waters to see if the salesperson knows first-hand how much profit can be sacrificed.

"Is that the best you can do?" -This can be a well-timed phrase near the end of the negotiation; you may get offered a freebie at this point to close the sale.

"I'll give you X if we can close the deal now" - This phrase works best if the salesperson you're working with requires a sale as fast as possible. Therefore, it's an excellent idea to deploy this discount technique during the target season at the end of each month or quarter.

"I'll agree to this price if you can throw in something for free" - This phrase is one of the easiest ways to get a discount as salespeople often have wider latitude to give away free goods than a price cut.

"Your competitor offers the product for X, but I'll pay X right now" - Many companies offer discounts if you can prove that their competitor sells a product for a lower price. Some will even go further and offer to sell at a lower price than a competitor if you buy the product from them. So always be bold and point out a competitor's rate if it's cheaper.

Come armed with the information you need to prove the prices. Try using the Fetchie App to keep tabs on the costs of items from multiple retail stores, so you can confirm what the prices are across the board and be sure to read our blog article on the 12 Best Price Comparison Apps in Australia.

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