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6 Money Saving Tricks That Make You Spend More

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Money saving tricks are great to use, but some can backfire and cause us to spend more. Here are 6 to watch out for.

The following is a contribution from Consumer Saving Expert Andrea Woroch for our Frugal Hack Friday series. If you’d like to contribute to Frugal Rules, please contact us.

Americans are finally feeling good about the economy. In fact, a recent survey shows consumer confidence is at its highest level since August 2007, before the market crash. Between then and now, however, those who faced financial hardships were forced to find new ways to stretch their paychecks. With the rise of couponing, money saving websites and online thrift stores, saving money has never been easier. Maybe that’s why the desire to save money has given rise to a few money saving tricks that actually deceive you into spending more than you should.

While adopting such savvy savings habits into your daily routine is important, not every method is worth keeping. The truth is, some of these cost-cutting measures don’t work and you may be blowing more money than you’re saving. Here are six saving strategies that you need to kick to the curb.

#1 Subscribing for Coupons

 

Signing up to receive a retailer’s e-newsletter often means you’ll get a new subscriber coupon for 10 to 25 percent off plus ongoing updates on the latest sales. While this strategy ensures you never miss a deal from your favorite stores, these emails can do more damage than good, which makes them a prime candidate for inclusion in this money saving tricks list. Flooding your inbox with tempting sales and limited-time promotions, retail newsletters cause distraction from work and tempt you to spend.

Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s a good deal, especially if the store inflated the original price to make the discount appear like a better value. The best way to find sales and coupons is to review deal sites like CouponSherpa or a store’s social media page when you actually need to buy something.

#2 Only Shopping at Walmart

 

If you associate Walmart with low prices on everything, you may need to rethink your shopping strategy. Retail analytics firm Boomerang Commerce found that this big box giant isn’t always the cheapest place to shop. This recent survey shows Walmart actually has higher prices on certain goods compared to Amazon, specifically electronics and video games.

Though you can certainly save big on home goods, pet care and automotive products at Walmart, it’s important to compare prices. Luckily, tools like ShopSavvy make it easy to review prices instantly from your mobile phone while PriceGrabber shows you the cheapest offers online.

#3 Racking Up Credit Card Rewards

 

Using a credit card that offers miles or cash back is a great way to offset travel spending and other expenses. However, if you’re driven by reward collection and failing to pay off your balance in full each month, it’s not a good strategy.

Consumers often justify spending more on these cards to reap the rewards which ultimately overwhelms the benefits. It’s better to shop with cash or your debit card if you’re prone to overspending.

#4 Focusing on the Cheapest Price

 

Basing your entire purchase decision on price alone may cause you more frustration and money in the end. When it comes to certain consumer goods like furniture, home appliances and electronics, quality should always play a role in your buying choice.

Clothing is no exception, either; I recently contributed to the TODAY show about discount clothing sites that offer sweaters and dresses for $10 to $20. Most of the super-cheap items were poorly made and didn’t fit right. Instead, search local consignment stores for gently-used merchandise for a fraction of deparment store prices or scope out sites like thredUp.com and RecycleYourFashions.com which specialize in used clothing from top brands.

#5 Browsing the Clearance Rack

 

Heading straight to the clearance rack every time you enter a store certainly belongs on our list of money saving tricks because it could spell disaster for your spending, especially if you’re tempted by sales and markdowns. While searching for deals on items you need or plan to purchase is a smart shopping strategy, buying something just because it’s on sale is a waste of money.

If you’re contemplating purchasing a discounted good, always ask yourself if you’d buy the item at full price. If the answer is no, you don’t need it and should move on. Instead, snag sales on items you actually need by tracking price drops available through one of the many free money saving websites out there.

Money saving tricks are great to use, but some can backfire and cause us to spend more. Here are 6 to watch out for.

#6 Selling an Old Cellphone

 

Sites like Gazelle.com and NextWorth.com offer consumers the opportunity to sell unwanted gadgets for cash. While selling your old mobile device to offset the cost of a new one seems like a wise move, it may cost you more in the end, thus it rounds out this list of money saving tricks.

According to Plaxo’s Mobile Trends Study, one third of smartphone users lose or damage their devices. Replacing these phones can get ugly, running up to $750 for the latest models like the iPhone 6 Plus. Holding on to an old cell phone will act as a form of cheap insurance and buys you time to save up or wait for a reduced upgrade should something happen to that expensive smartphone.

What are some other money saving tricks you think we tend to fall for? What is your go-to site to save money? What questions do you ask yourself before making a purchase?

About Andrea: Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps people find easy ways to live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers and super savers. She is a regular guest contributor for the FOX News & FOX Business channels and has been featured among hundreds of popular media outlets such as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, Kiplinger Personal Finance and many more. When not being interviewed, Andrea is on the other side of the news desk writing for New York Daily NewsClarkHoward.com and other top news sites. Follow her on Facebook, or Twitter for daily savings tips.

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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16 Comments

  • I don’t think the prices at Walmart are cheaper at all. I save a lot more by shopping sales at Kroger.

  • It would be interesting to see how much money companies make off of sending out the coupons. They probably make a ton because they get people who had no interest/need for a product buy it simply because it is in the flyer or on sale. The increase in sales would offset the lower sales price resulting in them making a ton.

    • Andrea Woroch says:

      Companies can certainly make a lot of money by lowering prices to increase the volume of merchandise they move!

  • Great points. Funny how “money savers” can be just as tempting and as much a “danger zone” as anything else.

  • Kalie says:

    I agree with all of these so much, though I’ve been tempted by them as well. One of the best things we’ve done to save money is just not shop by automating and simplifying errands. We have automatic, discounted Amazon deliveries for certain household products and buy almost everything else at a once-weekly trip to the discount grocery store. Not going into big box retailers eliminates a lot of temptation and challenges us to use what we already have.

    • Andrea Woroch says:

      That’s a great idea! I am always tempted to buy things I don’t need and by avoiding stores that trigger those impulse buys like Target, it helps me control my spending.

  • Money Beagle says:

    Normally, over half of our grocery items are on sale one way or another. Since Wal Mart really doesn’t do sales, it would definitely be more expensive to do all of our shopping there. Technically, we might be able to save a little by going there and getting the non-sale stuff, but there’s a big trade-off for time and convenience there, and given that they always have huge lines at our local store, the value for that doesn’t even come close to making it worth it.

  • Kim says:

    I have been fooled by many a clearance rack. That’s a great point about not buying unless you would like it at full price. I also think Walmart is not a great place to shop, not only can you do just as well online or at the grocery stores, but it cost so much in mental stress that it’s not worth it.

  • I am a big fan of credit card rewards and when you use them wisely, it really does save you money over the course of a year without much thinking behind it.

    • Andrea Woroch says:

      I believe rewards can be a big financial help but I know too many people who carry a balance month over month and don’t see anything wrong with that. For these folks, cash is king!

  • Michelle says:

    I always try to avoid sales racks. I get swooped up too easily by price when I probably don’t even need the item!

  • Tawcan says:

    Buying the cheapest may end up costing you more money because cheap items can break down easier than quality items. Great points.

    I used to go through Groupon emails to check out on the deals and decided to filter these emails because what you stated – inbox being flooded with tempting “sales.”

  • Great tips. I have definitely seen people chase after savings and not realize that it was actually costing them more, from running around after the lowest price to low quality products that need to be quickly replaced. Stores know the tricks that tempt us to buy because we believe we’re saving money, even when we’re not.

  • Jason B says:

    I agree with Holly. Kroger has much better prices than Walmart does.

  • Oh I can attest to how dangerous clearance racks are. I’m a sucker for clearance at Target and typically end up buying a bunch of clothes I had no plans on buying at the time.

  • Pamela says:

    Walmart is definitely not the cheapest but apparently they do price match if you have another store’s ad to show. I treat clearance racks like any other rack in that if I’m not looking for a specific item, I don’t buy something just because it’s on clearance. Prime example was I needed to replace a worn out t-shirt and cardigan in black. Found them both on clearance so I bought them and nothing else.

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