No matter what type of budget you're working with, there's a chance you're overspending on a few purchases without realizing it. Whether you're shopping online or heading to the grocery store, you need to be aware of average prices and retail trends so you can really get the best deals. Doing so can help you save money and keep your budget in check.
Click through to discover the easiest ways to save money now — and take notice of what you're overspending on.
1. Glasses and Contacts
If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, don't fall into the trap of paying a premium on brand name frames or popular brands of contact lenses. As long as you have a prescription from an eye doctor in hand, one of the best money-saving tips is to shop around for the best deal on glasses and contacts. Consider online outlets such as Walgreens for discount codes and rebates or warehouse clubs like Costco to get the best prices.
For a trip to Costco, don't forget to check out other ways to pay even less at the store.
2. Brand Name Clothes
While you might be able to pick up the latest trends and designer styles at your favorite store at the mall, you don't have to pay full retail prices to round out your closet. Shopping around for deals on brand name clothing will take some work, but it's one of the easiest ways to save money. Head to stores such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods or Neiman Marcus Last Call for everything from designer clothing to household goods on a budget if you're wanting to save money on your clothing bill.
According to a recent survey from SkinStore, the average American woman spends $8 per day on skincare products and cosmetics and spends up to $300,000 on face products over her lifetime. Since cosmetics are typically a daily expense, you'll want to be smart about where and how you buy your products. Shopping on Amazon for popular brands of beauty products — as long as they're from authorized sellers — and taking advantage of coupons and other deals at stores such as Sephora are some ways to save money.
Take Advantage: How to Score Free Samples at Stores Like Sephora and Target
4. Diamond Rings
Finding the perfect diamond ring can take several months, and if you're wondering how to save money on diamond rings, don't always believe the sticker price at the jewelry store. Antique appraiser Dr. Lori recommends negotiating all jewelry purchases because retailers can mark goods up as much as 70 percent. Paying with cash is also a good idea because many jewelers have to pay processing fees and might give you a discount if you pay with cash. You can also shop online at stores such as Overstock to get a great deal on real diamond rings.
5. Credit Cards
You might not consider credit cards to be an investment, but if you're looking to earn free money via mega rewards and points for your purchases, chances are you signed up for a credit card with an annual fee. Review your credit card terms, and really consider how much you end up using the card and how many perks you're earning. If you're paying fees for a card that you rarely use or aren't earning enough rewards to justify the cost, it may be time to shut down the account and choose cards with no annual fees.
6. Used Cars
Heading straight to the dealership when you're in the market for a new car might not be the smartest thing to do when you're looking for ways to save money. Dealerships can mark up car prices as they please. They might present you with an amazing offer until you find out you'll be paying hundreds of dollars in dealer fees and other expenses. Since you have the power to negotiate, check out sites such as TrueCar so you can see what others paid before you buy your vehicle.
7. Workout Clothing
Shopping sports and fitness stores for workout clothing can cost you a pretty penny — even during sales season. If you're in the market for yoga pants, running shoes, workout tops and other gear, stretch your budget by shopping clearance sections of sporting good stores, and always shop for brands at a discount on sites such as Amazon. If you know your size and have already tried on other clothing items to get a sense of fit, you might be able to find some deals on eBay.
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According to a survey by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in 2016 was $35,329 — an all-time high compared to the past 10 years. If investing the equivalent of the down payment on a house for the "big day" isn't in your financial cards, you can save money on your wedding by downsizing your guest list, choosing an off-season destination and selecting a venue with all-inclusive benefits.
9. Pet Supplies
The cost of owning a pet depends on the age of your pet, the breed and several other factors, and the cost will vary from year to year. Buying food, training aids and other pet supplies directly from a pet supplies store can put a dent in your budget, but there are some ways to save money. Scope out sale items at your local pet supplies store for online-only deals, and snag some deals on everything from pet food to treats, bedding and clothing from sellers on Amazon.
10. Cell Phone Insurance
If your cell phone carrier offers you insurance on your cell phone purchase, don't jump to sign on the dotted line right away. You can find cell phone insurance plans from other companies on the cheap, which means you can get the same coverage benefits without paying high premiums. Shop around for a warranty from Square Trade; you might be able to save up to 50 percent on insurance compared to your carrier. Esurance also provides cell phone plans that provide extensive coverage and benefits.