Steep savings are easier to find than you think

Wallets are tighter and people are looking for ways to cut costs and grow their bank account. And the economy is not helping. Some families will have to make some drastic changes to save their finances, others only need to learn a few tricks to save some serious cash.

Avoid sales. Trust me, sales are not a bad thing. When you are actually saving  money. The problem is most sales are not that great of a deal. But big, red flashing signs shouting ’90 percent off!’ create a sense of urgency convincing shoppers that they must buy not in order to get a good price. But you might just get duped. One popular retail store (that shall not be named) has significantly high prices for the quality of clothes they sell. However, the store is always (literally) on sale. Wow! Buy one, get one free jeans! Considering that one pairs costs $50 does not make this such a great deal considering the jeans are poor quality. But this store tricks shoppers by creating a sense of urgency. They must purchase now or risk missing out on a big sale.

Shoppers also fall into buying something just because it is such a good deal, even if they would not purchase it normally. Sales are a great way to save money on things you already need and want. However, sales become a money pit when you purchase things just because they are on sale. Or you convince yourself that a shirt that does not quite fit right is worth it because of a deep discount.  If you find a great deal that you do not want to pass up, ask yourself this: would I purchase this item if it were full price? If not, ditch the item.

Don’t pay full price on prescriptions. Health care costs are eating up more and more of families’ budgets. But it does not have to be this way. Healthy families do not often visit the doctor regularly, but prescription costs can add to a monthly bill. One way to instantly lower monthly prescription co-payments is to get good health insurance. Those without health insurance can up at least 60 percent more than those who do not. Get a free health insurance quote by entering in your ZIP code in the box above for quotes in your area.

Still want cheaper prescriptions? Go generic. Once name brand pills are out of patent protection, you can get the generic version for up to 80 percent less. My generic prescription co-payment is only $10. Add up these discounts each month and you will save a bundle.

Curb your obsession with plastic. Studies show that shoppers have no idea where $1,000 goes every year. This huge chunk of change goes unaccounted for and credit cards may be to blame. With the promise of instant cash, you might be tempted to swipe more often. On the flip side, if you use cash, you must save your receipts. Keep track of everything you spend on your check register or with free sites like