Money Matters: Is it really a bargain?

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 7/09/2014 7:54 am
They look lucrative, but some money saving offers can be cash-sucking snags in disguise. 

A common one: free shipping traps. 

"A lot of these companies offer free shipping on a minimum amount of order but they don't include the return fees," Financial Professional, Dereck Blair, said.  

One study found 40 percent of all online clothing purchases were returned. That could cost you. 

"It's too much of a hassle, too much money and too much time," Blair said.  

Another pitfall: company loyalty. 

"Sometimes we think because we have a loyalty card we're getting the best deal through whatever company that is, but that's not always the case," Blair said.  

Blair advises, don't have tunnel vision and do some homework. 

"Check other brands and companies to see if they offer a better deal," Blair said.  

Another ploy: credit card rewards. 

"We try to pump up what we're spending to get those rewards, but it's not necessarily the best deal because we don't make that payoff and the interest becomes higher than what the rewards are going to be," Blair said.  

Lastly: letting your cash collect dust in a savings account. 

"I love emergency funds and we always want a rainy day fund, but a lot of the times that money is just sitting there stagnant," Blair said.  

Instead, put cash into action. 

"Whether it's a bank or a credit union they can give you a better rate on a savings or a checking. Even look into a brokerage account to see if they can give you a better deal and make that money work for you," Blair said.  

One way to counter these money traps is to build your budget. 

"Even with the offers and rewards they receive, they stick to their budget, they get what they need and they're able to have a little bit at the end of the year," Blair said.  

Another tactic is to crack the codes. 

"Sometimes if the price ends in 99 cents that's the full price. If it's less than that, then you might be getting a discount or some savings," Blair said.  

Blair also suggests asking sales associates for upcoming sales to make sure you're getting the best deal.
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