History repeats itself.  Studies have shown that over time, people tend to make the same bad choices the second time around, and most of us are guilty of shopping at the same awful stores that we vowed we would never step foot in again.

I have also been in this rut.  I vowed when the stock market crashed last year that I would explore new retailers, and new ways of shopping; I’ve been surprisingly happy with the results I came up with.

GET OUT OF YOUR SHOPPING RUT

After recently shopping at Costco (and renewing my membership for a whopping $50) I realized why I signed up in the first place.  My son likes their chocolate cake.  That’s it.  That’s the only reason.  And I paid $50 for that privilege to buy that one cake, one time.

In a recent radio show I hosted with the Miserly Mom, Jonni McCoy, listeners learned why Costco isn’t the price leader for many household products we assume must be cheaper because of their massive bundled quantities.  You don’t need to be a repeat shopper.  There may be other better ways to shop.  You don’t need to pay anymore to belong to a “club”.  Save your money.

SOME OF MY PERSONAL FAVORITE SITES FOR SAVING MONEY

Amazon.com: Amazon logoYes, Amazon.com.  In the past, I just couldn’t understand how to shop Amazon, their confusing return policies or anything else on Amazon.  And yes, Amazon was known for its many confusing return policies.  But now, years later, Amazon has done something ingenious, ahead of the others.  Amazon now is banking on your buying into an annuity plan—that’s right; so if you are willing to have the same products (Amazon sells everything so you can buy absolutely anything, including household cleaning supplies and groceries) each month, you will get a 15% discount on everything, and shipping is free.  This is a great deal if you always use the same products, as I do.

Alice.com: Alice.com is the place to go for groceries, toiletries and anything you can imagine buying for the house.  Through Alice, you buy directly from the manufacturer, reducing the middle man and shipping is free always.  I have seen savings on products up to 20% off what I pay at other stores.
KGB: I am addicted to KGB.  A friend of mine told me about this great service.  If you need to know answers to any questions you have immediately, text KGB at 542542 for an immediate answer, for only $.99.  I have used them when I have a hard time finding information online, or am away from my computer but need to know something right away.  Their agents seem to know how to get you exactly the answers you are looking for, in almost every category, instantly.
COOKWARE.COM: When I told a friend of mine recently that I needed to buy some new pans for my kitchen, she asked me how I can buy heavy pans, and carry them down the street, as I walk from place to place.  She told me that she almost always orders heavy kitchen gadgets and appliances online so she doesn’t have to carry them.  So I became hooked on Cookware.com.  Cookware.com is a site for all things cooking-related.  As I have price-shopped online for everything in my kitchen, I have found Cookware.com easy to shop, often a price leader, with ongoing sales, and free shipping if you spend more than $69.  Items come quickly and I am no longer pulling muscles from all the carrying.
CARDPOOL.COM: I now know that one of the beauties of the holiday season are all the unused gift cards people have months afterwards.  This means big savings for me.  For 10-20% off, you can buy unused gift cards from every store you can imagine, from California Pizza Kitchen (15% off), Game Stop (10% off), Jamba Juice (my favorite for 15% off), J. Crew (10% off), and Hyatt (12% off).  The prices are always guaranteed and shipping is free.  Receive up to 30% off, and get back up to 90% of the value of the card you are selling.  This is a win-win for all; but you just have to constantly remind yourself to check out the site before going out shopping.  I especially like buying AMC movie gift cards, and saving 10-20% on them.
Jennifer Litwin