Even without coupons, it's possible to save money in the checkout line. Various stores offer small cash rebates or discounts for consumers who bring their own bags. Retailers provide nickel or dime rebates for each bag that you provide for groceries or other merchandise. Others stores reward bonus points - redeemable for store credits - for shoppers that present bags for the checkout line.
This bring-your-own-bag - BYOB - style of shopping is an easy way to save money and the environment. Every year, shoppers in the United States use 30 billion plastic bags and 10 billion paper bags. That translates into 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees, according to the Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition, or BAYROC, a California-based organization.
To save financial and environmental resources, reusable shopping bags have become trendy. For prices starting at 99 cents, eco-friendly shopping bags - made from cloth or polyester - are sold by online vendors or standard stores in different colors, patterns and sizes. A few upscale Web sites will even let you design your own shopping sacks.
But you don't have to pay anything to create a re-usable shopping bag. At Whole Foods, for instance, any sack qualifies for the shopping discount, including backpacks, gym bags, brown paper sacks, cloth bags and old shopping bags. Savings vary by region, but the list of stores that provide BYOB rebates or discounts includes Starbucks, Albertsons, Kroger and other retailers.
Reusable shopping bags can also help you save money by providing an easy-to-use organizational tool for shopping. For example, you can stash your coupons and shopping list in a reusable bag stored in your car or near the front door, according to BAYROC. With this strategy, you're more likely to use the coupons clipped from newspapers or printed from the Internet. You'll keep money-saving coupons close at hand and reduce the amount of budget-busting impulse purchases that can inflate a shopping bill.
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