CNN reports we may be in for a bumpy ride. Despite what the administration keeps peddling, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy is down for the first quarter of 2014. In fact, “the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic growth, fell at a 1% annual pace.” Economists remain optimistic, however, claiming it’s likely to bounce back this spring and summer, but for those of us that feel like the country never really came out of the recession we may need a few more practical steps to increase our savings.
So what do you do if you need to save a little extra money? Experts at CNN claim it’s not really that difficult. Make a few small changes in how you spend your money and it could add up to big savings by the end of the year.
Dining out dos and don’ts
If your family is like mine you eat out a lot and we all know restaurants are in the business to make money and maximize profits. In fact, restaurant workers are taught how to make you spend more. The most common method is the suggestive ordering: “Would you like fries with that?” But it also can be more subtle. For instance, experts suggest even menu placement can suggest items that they really want to highlight because they make more money if customers order them.
Next, watch out for what food experts call the add-ons or extras. Maybe at one time you could order a side of ranch or salsa and it would be free but not anymore. Anything extra or added on will generate higher costs for you and profits for restaurants.
Big savings while shopping
Another way to increase your savings is to shop outlets and hit the clearance racks. But experts claim some brands will manufacture clothes to be shipped directly to their outlet locations. CNN reports, “J. Crew marks the label of made-for-outlet goods with two small diamonds.” Also shopping in the right months such as March and August and shopping the deep discounts towards the back of the store can pay off big.
Negotiation is key to big savings
Next, consider negotiating. A friend of mine once saved $1,000 for surgery just for getting up and walking out the door. The doctor called her later and ask how much she was willing to pay for his services. Keep in mind, whether you are shopping for a new car, a gym membership or medical care the advertised price is rarely the best deal. Ask for a deal and find out if the seller is willing to negotiate.
Experts suggest, however, competition and customer interest may be key. For instance, negotiating a top rate for gym membership around the first of the year when hundreds of customers are clamoring to lose their holiday weight may not be the best time to try to negotiate.
The next big place to find big savings is the grocery store. Grocery store savings can actually be quite simple. One of the easiest ways to save money is to shop at stores which match other competitor’s coupons. Next, don’t assume bigger is better, actually compare the price per unit. Finally, shop the highest and lowest shelves. Grocery experts know that the center of the row is prime real estate, and the highest priced items are usually right at eye level.
Saving money doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Make simple choices and you’ll have extra money despite the economic downturn.
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