Convenience stores are named so for a reason: they’re located in a convenient spot and have carry many of the basics that people are looking for. Both chain stores and local convenience stores have their pros and cons, but unfortunately, one of the cons is price. While convenience stores are great to have nearby, sometimes they can become pricey.
Don’t Use Convenience Store ATMs
One of the best ways to save money at a convenience store is to not use their ATM. ATMs found in convenience stores are rarely bank ATMs, and are instead generic ones that charge you a high fee. Try and avoid using those ATMs unless it’s a dire situation.
If you’re popping into a convenience store for a drink, considering buying a fountain soda instead of a bottle of soda. Fountain sodas at convenience stores are generally much cheaper and much larger than any bottled or canned drink you’ll buy. Some stores even have extra large drinks for as low as $1. You might not want to drink that entire soda, but if you’re concerned about money, go for the cheaper option. Sometimes the store even allows refills on fountain drinks for a discounted price.
Frequent Shopper Rewards
Many convenience stores offer frequent shopper rewards. For instance, stores such as CVS tally up how much money you’ve spent over the course of a year and reward you with coupons. Other stores offer you a free coffee after you’ve purchased five. Swiping a rewards card might be a hassle, but it can save you significant money at a later point. After all, isn’t it nice to know that you’ll be rewarded for continually shopping somewhere?
Convenience Store Coupons
A lot of local, non-chain convenience stores either don’t have coupons or don’t allow them. But more and more chain convenience stores such 7-11 are beginning to accept manufacturer’s coupons. As with most purchases, coupons are a great way to save money on your purchases. Some of these stores, as stated above, also offer their own coupons which is a great benefit as well!
Convenience Store Sales
Sometimes convenience stores are the best place to score a great deal. The day after a big holiday, for instance, they’ll mark down related merchandise by 50%. Sometimes they have too much stock and will have an impromptu sale in an effort to get rid of it and still make a profit.
Buy Store Convenience Store Brands
I’m sure you’ve heard pros and cons about buying store brand or name brand items, right? Well, you must know that the generic or store brand item is usually cheaper. This is true of chain convenience stores and sometimes even local convenience stores. For instance, 7-Eleven sells their own version of popular snacks which are priced about 20% cheaper than their name brand counterparts. The same is true of CVS who prices their generic brand aspirin, paper towels, and snack foods 30 to 40% cheaper.
Know Your Prices
Some convenience stores have great $1 sections where you can pick up a toothbrush or other small necessities. But most stores overprice their items compared to grocery stores or their direct competitors. It would be to your benefit to know how much more the convenience store charges compared to other stores. After all, you wouldn’t want to be paying $4 for a bag of chips that you could get for $1.50 elsewhere, right?
Photo: Flickr: waderockett