Money Saving Shopping Tips From SuddenlyFrugal's Leah Ingram

couple looking at coin jar -money saving shopping tipsJanuary's around the corner and one of your New Year's resolutions is to do a better job at saving money. Abandoning that run to the coffee shop for a cup of Joe and a Danish is one way to save. Another is to be smarter about the way you shop.

Here are seven ways you can improve your money saving shopping tips, Leah Ingram, author of several books and SuddenlyFrugal.com blogger, told WalletPop in telephone and email interviews:1. Create a Gift Closet For Those Unexpected Events. "When we first moved to the neighborhood, we were invited to dinner a lot and the gift closet came in handy," Ingram recalled. So when there's a sale on scented candles, buy more than you think you'll need. Other great gift closet items to grab when they're on sale: soap, bath salts, chocolates, wine, mugs, and arts and craft supplies.

2. Shop Apres Season. Ingram says she never buys Christmas cards and wrapping paper until after Dec. 25, when they're steeply discounted. She not only saves money, she is also ready for next year.

3. Pay for Shipping? No Way! Free Shipping Friday is nice but Ingram says why not strive for it year round? Freeshipping.org tells you what websites offer free shipping the moment you need it.

4. Search Savings Online. Log onto the computer and search for sales by opening your favorite search engine and typing in the name of the store and words like "discount" or "sale." Explained Ingram, "Sometimes, you can snag an additional promotional code and save more on your purchase."

5. Reward Yourself. Try to shop where you can get something back. For example, start at a portal like Chase Ultimate Rewards, where members start earning points on the very first $1 spent without spending limits. The Ultimate Rewards Mall has 500 participating online retailers and more than 60 gift card providers.

6. A Special Wallet. Create a gift card wallet so all your gift cards and store "bonus" cards are in one handy place. "That way, if you happen to be shopping in a store and you have a gift card from that store, you can offset your spending by using the gift card for a portion of all of that expense," said Ingram. She keeps her stash in a business card holder.

7. Declutter. Put your house in order by getting rid of the items you don't need. Then take those items to your local consignment store or sell them on Craigslist for extra cash. Added Ingram, who just published Toss, Keep, Sell: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In, "Some consignment shops, will give you double for your clothing if you turn around and buy new clothes from the same store."

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