It's a cruel world out there with advertising preys on the desirable teen audience with TV ads incorporating popular music, rapid-cut editing and youthful celebrities. Merchants know who to market to and that shopping can be a form of entertainment.
It's never too early to learn smart shopping techniques. Here are seven ways to make the best use of your spending dollars.
Shop in outlet and discount stores are a great place to shop for timeless fashions and important wardrobe staples like underwear, jewelry, belts, socks, etc. Buy the basics at budget prices and save money for trendier items. If you have a flair for the unique, clothes from consignment and second-hand stores will make you stand out from the Old Navy and Gap wearing crowd.
Matinees and discount theaters allow you to avoid crowds and save big bucks. Matinees usually include shows before 6 p.m. and tend to cost about two-thirds of full-price tickets. Discount theaters allow you to see movies that really require big-screen viewing for $2 to $3. These theaters run movies after they've left first-run theaters and before they're released on DVD.
If you've saved money on tickets, it seems kind of futile to blow a bundle on snacks. Eat before you go to the movie to stave off munchies.
3. Concert Tickets
Rule number one: Avoid Ticketmaster and its infinite add-on fees. CraigsList and the Facebook group "Coupons for Parents" are great places to exchange coupon codes and buy tickets at reduced prices.
4. Free Entertainment
Thursday or Friday newspapers frequently feature ideas for free entertainment. Frugal websites, like Mr. Free Stuff, also post detailed lists of things to do for free.
5. Big Ticket Products
Kick the new-release habit and wait until the price drops for iPads or the newest smart phone. Be a smart shopper by researching an electronic product before you buy. ConsumerReports.org, the best website for reviews and price comparisons, offers a $5.95 deal for one month of access to all their consumer reviews. You may want to consider a one-year subscription for $26 if your family expects to buy larger-ticket items in the next 12 months. Alternately, check out consumer reviews on Amazon.com, or other product-aggregate websites.
6. Shop Online
It's easier to compare prices and quality by shopping online. Look for free shipping and online coupon codes to save additional money.