Many of you voted and All You has announced the winner of the winner of their “America’s Smartest Shopper” contest!
Emily Graves, a mother of two from Ottawa, Kansas, who works two jobs and still finds time to track 25 grocery and drugstore sales each week.
“I never overpay,” Graves told ALL YOU. “After years of practice, I know what constitutes a good price for all my staples.” She admits, “I don’t need coupons. The clipping process always seemed so labor intensive. Because I…take advantage of price-matching, I’m able to get deals on the food my family loves without any hassle.”
Congratulations to Emily who won $1,000 in the contest!
The contest finalists also shared some fantastic savings tips that I want to share with you:
Here are 10 surprising smart shopping strategies culled from the finalists. They reveal their secrets on how to score deals on everything from designer clothes to travel, food to bills:
1. ONLINE SHOPPING: Abandon your cart right before confirming your order. Many retailers (including Home Depot, Best Buy, Land’s End and Zappos) will send coupon codes to entice you to finish your purchase.
2. TRAVEL: Book cruises through Costco to score low prices and special freebies. The contest runner up, Allison, received on-board credits for bottles of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries.
3. TRAVEL: Earn money at home by participating in surveys on travel-related websites. Allison shared that she scored $8K worth of flights for just $800 in part by filling out surveys on websites like ERewards.com, Emiles.com
4. APPLIANCES: Throw out low ball offers the last day of estate sales. One contestant scooped up a $2,500 stove for $250 using this technique.
5. TECH: Check if your office supply store recycles computer ink cartridges for store rewards. One green reader was able to buy stationery and coffee by collecting $2 per cartidge.
6. DESIGNER CLOTHING: Shop thrift store warehouse sales and consign online. One Brooklynite fashionista got an entire bag of clothes (45 items) for $25 – 56 cents an item! She consigned what she didn’t want and made money.
7. ACTIVITIES: Research new and unexpected perks you might be able to unlock with your AAA card. These can include discounts at amusement parks and retailers.
8. GROCERY SHOPPING: For those new to price matching, start by focusing on ads for two or three stores per week. Keep track of the price ranges for foods your family routinely buys and never pay more than the average.
9. RESTAURANTS: Make a list of restaurants your family frequents and sign up for free newsletters or loyalty clubs. You can receive coupons by email or even through text.
10. BILLS: Don’t be afraid to change providers for everything from car insurance to Internet and cable. There might be a better deal out there or your current provider may offer a discount to keep you as a customer.