More than a few people have nicknamed me the Savings Queen because if there's a way I can save money on something, chances are I'll find it and use it. This is a pretty common occurrence for me, but what really excites me is when I can save money through two different ways on the same item- in other words, I get a double discount and can usually get something for dirt cheap.

When I use the term double discount, I'm not talking about stores that will double your coupons (although that is nice too — unfortunately I've never found a store that will do so). I am talking about finding two separate discounts that you can use together to save you even more. Whenever I intend to buy something that costs more than $30 or so, I will usually look for a way that I can get some kind of discount on the item. Here are some of the most common discounts I find on items I want to buy:

  • Manufacturer's Coupon: these can be found in your newspaper, in the mail, or even online. These are coupons that are issued by the maker of the item the coupon is for.
  • In-Store Coupon: these coupons are only valid for use at the store or restaurant that printed and distributed them (sometimes these are sent via e-mail and you can print them out yourself).
  • Rebate: these are most often offered by the store that is selling the item. It's basically a discount on the price that you don't get until later (you pay up front, they pay you back).
  • Price Matching: many stores will guarantee that they have the best price on an item and if you bring in an advertised lower price from another store on the same item, they will often beat that price by 10%, giving you a 10% discount.
  • In-Store Sale: similar to in-store coupons, except that you don't need a coupon to get the price. These are often buy one get one free sales or something similar.
  • Military/Student/Senior Discount: you may get a discount at many stores just based on your age/affiliation.
  • In-Store Credit Card Discount: stores that have their own credit cards often offer additional discounts on items if you use their card to pay for that item (this is only a discount if you pay your credit card off right away). Also, many store credit cards also offer longer term 0% interest offers that allow you to make interest on the money you set aside for your purchase until the end of the 0% term offer.
  • Special Discount Time: You can get this most often at restaurants where they offer certain food (usually appetizers) and drinks at a special lower price during a certain time each day.

The key to getting a double discount is to use 2 of the above methods on the same purchase (if allowable) to save even more. Some stores or restaurants won't let you combine certain discounts together, but many times you can probably save a lot by just asking. Here are a few examples of double discounts I've been able to get lately.

Price Match + In-Store Coupon

We recently wanted to make a patio in our backyard and were looking for some nice pavers at the right price. I had seen the ones we wanted go on sale at 2 different home improvement stores for $.38 each, but after the sale they went back up to the original prices of $.59 each. About a month later I saw the same pavers go on sale for the same price again, but this time they were only on sale at one store. I happened to have a coupon for one of the stores that would save me $25 on a purchase of $200 or more, however this was not the store that the pavers were on sale at. I remembered seeing something about price matching at that store, so I decided to look into it and found out that they not only matched lower advertised prices on similar items, they beat them by 10%. So I was able to go the 2nd store, get 10% off the sale price from the other store, AND save $25 on my purchase. These happened to be special order products from another vendor and the store employee informed me that I purchased those pavers for less than the store actually paid for them.

Rebate + In-Store Credit Card Discount

When we went to go buy our new TV, the store was offering a 10% rebate on the purchase of the specific TV we wanted if we purchased it on their store credit card. On an item that was almost $1000, this was a significant amount. In addition to the 10% rebate, we were offered 6 months no interest financing with the in-store card. By purchasing the TV on their card and setting aside the money to pay off the card in a 6 month CD, we save over $100 on our purchase.

Manufacturer’s Coupon + In-Store Sale

I recently got a coupon in the mail for a free bottle of Kraft Salad Dressing. I was pretty excited about a coupon for a free item, but then I saw a grocery store ad that advertised a sale on Kraft Dressings — buy one get one free. Since the store wasn't losing any money on the purchase (the manufacturer pays them back) I was able to get two bottles of salad dressing for free.

Another store in my area will often offer a certain price on several different items if you buy a certain quantity (usually it’s 10 participating items for $10). I've been able to find coupons for $.50 or $.75 off particular items that are included in that sale and have gotten some items for as low as $.25.

Military Discount + Special Discount Time

One of our favorite fast food restaurants has a “happy hour” where all drinks are half price from 2pm -4pm. They also offer a 10% military discount. My husband and I were recently able to both eat lunch and get drinks there (I even got two) for about half of what it would normally cost us to eat there.

These are just a few of the ways that I have been able to combine discounts to get the best price. You can do the same thing by seeking out the different discount options and seeing if they can be used together. I know I've tried to use coupons and a military discount at a certain restaurant before and was told I couldn't use both together, so you have to find what will work. But when you do find two discounts that can double up and save you more money, it's a beautiful thing.

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