Shopper Alert: A Money Saver Round Up

6:47 PM, Feb 25, 2010   |    comments
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Steals and Deals For Frugal Shoppers
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  • ShopSmart
  • Consumer Reports
  • WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- When it comes to our four-legged loved ones, we can spend up to 15-hundred dollars a year feeding and caring for them. 

    But you can tally up huge pet-care savings just by buying in bulk, using coupons, and looking for sales even online.

    For supplies, check out Web sites like eBay, Craigslist and Freecycle.  And, save hundreds more on your pet's prescription meds.

    "Always ask your vet if there's a lower priced generic available.  And, ask if the drug is available at your pharmacy, where you might be able to get it for less," says CR Money Adviser Mandy Walker.

    Consumer experts say if you skip the health insurance, you'll save even more.

    It may cost you more than you'll save because you may spend more on co-pays, deductibles and premiums.

    Plenty of stores promise to match competitors' prices, but first you have to decode the fine print. 

    Consumer Reports

    ShopSmart says just play by the rules, and make them work for you.

    Finding a better deal online often doesn't count.  You've got to find the better deal in a store.  But be aware of the limitations.

    At Target, you must find the cheaper price at another retailer within 7 days of your purchase, and the competing store must be in the same local area.

    Best Buy, like many other stores, won't match clearance items.

    And, at Home Depot, it's up to the store manager to give you the difference.  If you're persistent, you may get an additional 10 percent off for your trouble.

    "All in all though, price match guarantees can save you money.  And, if you do your research ahead of time, the store might even be willing to drop the price before you make the purchase," says ShopSmart's Lisa Lee Freeman.

    If you can't quite seal the deal with price matching, consider a blast from the past, layaway.

    While stores like Sears, Kmart and Burlington Coat Factory have had layaway for years, now they offer the service online. 

    There is also E-Layaway that allows you to pay for items from Home Depot, sports tickets or pet supplies. 

    And, Lay-Away-Travel let's you pay for your vacation in installments over time.

    "A big advantage to layaway is that you don't have to pay interest like with a credit card.  But, there are drawbacks," says ShopSmart's Jody Rohlena.

    Many plans charge cancellation fees as high as $150, service fees, and if the store files for bankruptcy, you lose your money.

    And here's another money saver.  If you are buying more than one item, bundle them into one order.

    That way if the store charges a service fee, you only pay once.


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