Spending money is unavoidable

If you’re going to shell out some money, you may as well be smart about it. However, before you hit the store, remember that using a cash loan to go shopping is a bad decision. Instead, make sure an expense fits into your overall budget, and consider new ways to save.

As companies compete for your dollars, many are introducing customer loyalty programs. Businesses like retailers and supermarkets are adopting these methods, so you may as well take advantage. In fact, 50 percent of all stores claim customer loyalty programs are a key part of their overall business strategies, the National Retail Federation says.

Technology Is Working In Your Favor

If you have shunned social media outlets in the past, creating an account to take advantage of exclusive savings could be beneficial. For example, if you “like” or “check in” to a store on Facebook or Foursquare, this can trigger instant rewards and discounts.

Utilize Company Partnerships

While points programs have been around for a while, some companies have made them transferable to other stores with which they have business agreements. Smartphone apps make this option available. One popular program, Shopping so kick, allows you to take advantage of these unique business arrangements. For example, signing up and buying a pair of pants at Old Navy can yield savings at the ExxonMobil station down the street when you need to fill up your gas tank.

Don’t Go Overboard

While capitalizing on these programs can save money, if you use them too much, you could end up overspending and winding up right back where you started. Instead, try to be a smart shopper by laying out a plan of attack before shopping.

Before you hit the store, sit down and plan out exactly what you need, USA.gov advises. If you go shopping without doing this, you can end up overspending on impulse buys. In addition, you should shop around. Many different retailers sell the same products. If you compare the price of these items, you could save hundreds of dollars over time.