Here's a little secret: You almost never have to pay retail. Between coupons, sales, rewards and other promotional discounts, you can almost always find a way to avoid the complete retail mark-up on what you buy. And, if what you buy is online, there's one thing you should do before you hit any "Place Order" button: Type "[store name] coupon" into Google. Always always always.
There are so many Web sites that collect user-submitted, online promo codes for countless stores. People who are registered for these sites or simply come across a great promotion in their online travels submit the information, and you just snap it up, type the code into the "Promo Code" box at checkout, and pay less.
Keeping the mantra in mind ("You're not saving money if you weren't planning to buy it in the first place), slews of coupons can be a financial pitfall. It's so tempting to buy when you're getting a super-special, I'd-be-stupid-to-pass-this-up bargain, so it's best to take a few deep breaths before you buy. And then wait some more.
On the upside, you could end up rafting down a river for the first time in your life.
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