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Great Ways to Save

7 Ways to Save While You Shop

Coupons, comparison shopping can help you find bargains year-round

Elwood Smith

En español  |  1. Coupons schmoopons. Couponsherpa, WOWpons, Valpak, Retailmenot and Coupons.com, among other websites, are all great online resources that pool the best printable discounts from the nation's top retailers. Some have mobile apps that let you scan bar codes with your smartphone or tablet computer. A search for "online coupons" turns up dozens of pages of coupon resources.

2. Seasonal specials. Winter is the best time to buy homes, exercise equipment and TVs; spring is best for computers, digital cameras and carpeting; summer for indoor furniture, camcorders and snow blowers; and fall for lawn mowers, gas grills and GPS navigators.

3. Thrifty 50. More thrift stores are offering "rewards" or "loyalty" programs, and "Senior Day" incentives for those 65 and older. To find thrift stores near you, go to TheThriftShopper.com, thriftshopdirectory.com and ResaleShopping.com.

4. Bargains for a buck. Dollar stores can mean fun shopping, if you like bargains. They sell very basic items like toiletries, greeting cards, household goods and even clothes at very low prices.

5. Shop around. PriceGrabber.com, Nextag.com, Bizrate.com and Pricewatch.com provide price comparisons from scads of vendors. Decide what you want, then link to the product site.

Ways to save when you shop - Doorman with shopping bags

Dollar stores can mean fun shopping, if you like bargains. — Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

6. Flowers for less. As an AARP member, you can save 20 percent on flowers by going to teleflora.com (1-800-776-1126).

7. SNAP to it. Of older people who are eligible, some two-thirds don't sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). Users can double the benefit value at some 300 farmers markets nationwide, thanks to Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that helps bring affordable, fresh local produce to American homes.

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2012: Arthur Dalglish, Cathie Gandel, Joan Rattner Heilman, Sid Kirchheimer, Jason L. Lawrence, Marsha Mercer, Geoff Williams, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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