The REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. makeover subject shares her thriftiest advice

Lucas Allen

TIP NO. 1: Clip coupons! Sure, it sounds old school, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it these days. Every Sunday, take a few minutes to scour the newspaper for coupons. You’ll find savings on everything from household cleaning staples to breakfast cereal.

TIP NO. 2: Cruise the clearance racks regularly. If you make it a habit to check out the bargain-bin areas (even at the grocery store), you’ll be less likely to miss out on the stuff you actually want when it goes on sale. Note: they often put clearance merchandise at the back of the store, so you have to pass the full-priced items first. Just keep moving!

TIP NO. 3: Don’t pay full price for seasonal items. Bathing suits and Christmas decorations don’t tend to go out of style year in and out, so wait until the end of the season to stock up, when they’re discounted―sometimes by as much as 90 percent!

TIP NO. 4: Resist the good deals that aren’t really good deals. When you see those two-for-$5 signs, you may not actually need two of that item…ever. Find out if you do actually have to buy in multiples to get the savings; sometimes stores use this tactic to trick you into getting more than you need, when the items are actually the same price per unit.

TIP NO. 5: Put your storage space to work. When you come across a bargain on something like a generic birthday gift or a case of good wine, go for it. As long as you know it’s an item you’ll want down the road, it makes sense to buy it now. Besides, when an occasion arises, it’s so much less stressful to “shop” your own home.