I'm a lazy shopper. Here are the easy ways I save on stuff

Jeanine Skowronski


Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Former Head of Content at Policygenius

Jeanine Skowronski is the former head of content at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, MSN, CNBC and more.

Published March 6, 2018|4 min read

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I'm a lazy shopper. OK, maybe lazy is the wrong word. It's not like I just want to do crossword puzzles while watching RuPaul's Drag Race all day and not save money. It's more ... I'm a busy lady and, during my few hours of down time, I want to do crossword puzzles while watching RuPaul's Drag Race. I don't want to showroom or webroom or drive to estate sales or even head to the store to skip shipping fees. (OK, on second second thought, maybe lazy is the right word.)

Whatever you want to call my shopping habits, I have found a few easy ways to not pay through the nose for everything I buy. Here are my proven money-savers.

1. I only buy clothes on clearance ...

No, I don't scour clearance racks (that's too much effort). But I've learned, mostly from shelling out full price for a sweater on sale just one month later, nice stuff gets marked down online all the time, too. So, whenever I need new clothes, I log onto my favorite retailers' website and only buy items on sale. Or, because you never know how marked up stuff is to begin with, I set a hard price limit. No shirts over $9.99, let's say. I can't tell you how many pairs of $75 leggings I got for $24.99. (Lots of them. The answer is lots of them.)

2. ... & in bulk(ish)

I said "whenever I need new clothes" because I try not to make a habit of clearance surfing. If I was hitting up my favorite retailer's site every day for deals, I would spend more, not less, just for the love of a discount (and clothes). Plus, if I wait until I need multiple items, I'll spend enough to skip the shipping fees ... without spending enough just to skip the shipping fees.

3. Don't knock shoes from T.J. Maxx

I've always found off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx or its sibling store Marshalls hit or miss when it comes to finding clothes. You have to hit your local store at the right time and then you're got some rack-scouring to do (again, too much effort). But their shoe game is pretty consistent. My husband is still very proud of the $19.99 Converse sneakers he "found" at Marshalls. So, unless I'm looking for some uber-durable winter boots, I rely on off-price or outlet stores for footwear.

4. I always check my inbox for discounts

I don't think I've given an inordinate amount of retailers my email address, but, well, they seem to have it anyway. And that's fine, I guess, thanks to how Gmail sorts things. In any case, before I hit up a store or its website (usually its website), I enter the retailer's name in search bar of my inbox. I mean, that's where the Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons go now.

5. I Google for coupon codes

If my inbox comes up empty, I take two seconds to search for online coupon codes. Sites like RetailMeNot, CouponCabin or Offers.com tend to come through, though I hear coupon aggregators cut out some legwork. I just haven't carved out the time to download one yet.

6. Two words: Amazon Prime

As you might have gleaned, I do about 90% of my shopping online, so Amazon Prime has always made sense for me. Yes, the online giant recently raised its membership price to $12.99 a month, but you can save by opting for a $99 annual membership.

7. I rack up credit card points

I put almost everything I buy on my credit card, excluding lunch and coffee, because that just feels wrong. Truth is, I should probably charge lunch and coffee, too, because a rewards credit card is the only payment method that ... well, rewards you for spending in the form of points, miles or cash back. And those coffers come in handy when you're looking to travel or have to buy your family holiday gifts. But (and this is a big but) ...

8. I never carry a balance

Because if you wind up paying interest, you negate any rewards you earn (plus some) and the whole point of this spending strategy. To keep myself in check, I charge most things to my credit card, but pay them off every week or every other week, via a linked banking account. That way, I don't get surprised with a monthly bill I can't actually afford.

Got any lazy savings tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments section!

Image: Pekic