Ok let's be real. | 22 Words

Let's be real gang: it is so easy to spend money in today's America. We're a consumer based society, and the world is set up to sell you things (whether you need them or not). A trip to the mall can easily drain your bank account of hundreds of dollars. Yikes on bikes. Lucky for you, we've compiled some secret shopping hacks that will get you what you want without leaving you penniless.

The biggest secret: stores are set up to get you to buy things you don't need and don't even want that much. But if you stay focused, you can buy what you want and avoid their tricks. Keep reading to find out how you can see through the games that stores are playing and get your money's worth. It's time for some shopping hacks that will save you some serious dough. Are you ready to save some green?

Ok let's be real.

Even though shopping can be a great stress reliever, looking at your bank account afterwards? Not so much.

Stores, malls, ads, the internet? All set up to get you to spend more money.

So you may walk in with a plan and a budget, and walk out with an empty wallet.

But if you know HOW to shop, you can get what you want without the cost.

Yeah, we're talking secret shopping hacks.

Let's get into it shall we?

Because by the end of this article, you'll have some shopping to do.

Tip #1: Look at your receipt.

Apparently, it's not uncommon for cashiers to simply ring an item incorrectly, leaving you with a higher price than you should have been paying. Check the receipt and if it looks off, then ask!

If that sounds boring to you, there are ways to make the process more fun.

It's called gamification.

The idea is to turn mundane activities like grocery shopping into a game.

You can assign goals, give them points, make it competitive, and try to stay under a certain price point. If you've got kids you can even challenge them to see who can do the best.

Tip #3: no shopping carts.

Unless you're grocery shopping for the fam, you really don't need one, and you will always buy more when you have the large cart than if you simply have a basket or your arms.

Tip #4: Know where the good stuff is.

Stores tend to stick colorful and exciting merch at the front of the store, and keep discounted and essential items at the back. Don't be fooled: head straight for what you want.

Tip #5: Talk to a manager.

Ok, I know face to face interaction is deeply unpleasant, but if you're looking for discounts you'll want to get to know the managers at your favorite stores. The more you treat them kindly, the more likely you are to get a little something on discount.

Tip #6: Look for imperfections.

You'd be surprised how often you can find merchandise with slight imperfections: a tear that no one can see or something slightly out of place. Bring it up to the cashier and it's possible you'll get a discount.

Tip #7: Use the store's WiFi.

Did you know that most stores have their own in-house WiFi? And that if you log on to that WiFi you're likely to get hit with some great coupons? Try it out the next time you're at the mall.

Tip #8: Price matching

Many if not most stores will price match if you can find a lower price for the same item. Do your research!

Tip #9: Don't buy it if it's not on sale.

Many stores have set schedules for sales, or specific days on which they have deals. Keep track of sale days, and if you like something wait until it hits that sale price.

Tip #10: Wait!

If you see something and you're not totally certain you need it, just walk away for a day. If you still want it later, go back and buy it, but chances are it won't seem quite so important a day or two later.

Tip #11: Don't be afraid to return and exchange.

Pretty straightforward: if it's not working for you, get rid of it!

Tip #12: Pay attention to trends.

Did you know that lots of people will buy televisions for the Superbowl and then return them immediately afterwards? Guess what that means for you.

Cheap TV!

Pay attention to when the market will be prompting lots of returns and snap up those deals after.

Tip #13: Use your veteran, student, and senior discounts.

If you've got those IDs always have them on you. You never know when you'll need it.

Tip #14: Stack those discounts!

Whenever possible, use multiple discounts together. Use your military discount, then connect to store WiFi and get an additional discount. You'll be able to buy way more at a lower price.

Tip #15: Speak directly to the business.

There are tons of services that will reserve hotels or "price compare" for you, but beware: you won't have the chance to negotiate a price if you take that route.

Tip #16: Get free shipping.

Did you know that if you see something online, most stores will ship it to their local shop for free? Browse online, pick up in store.

Tip #17: Always return to the store.

If you buy online and want to return an item, you'll probably have to pay shipping costs. But if you return it to the store you get full credit back.

Tip #18: Use e-mail alerts.

Sure, you may not want a ton of e-mails clogging up your inbox, but for the products and stores that you love? It's definitely worth it to give them your e-mail. Chance are you'll get special discounts.

Tip #19: Clearance rack!

If you're buying clothes, the clearance rack should always be your first stop. You can usually find products that are quality but significantly cheaper.

Tip #20: Rewards programs.

No, it's not a good idea to sign up for every credit card or rewards program you can find. But it IS a good idea to think about the stores that you frequent and sign on to their rewards programs. Use store credit cards to improve your credit score while getting bargains.

Tip #21: Always ask.

You might be sensing a couple of themes in these tips so let's sum them up in our final two suggestions: first, always ask! You won't get discounts if you don't bring it up.

Tip #22: Pay attention.

Our second overall tip is to observe what's happening around you. A keen eye will help you save.

It doesn't take too much work to follow these suggestions.

Just a bit of pre-planning and some careful attention.

But if you follow through on them?

The rewards are major. Time for a shopping spree!