Don't compare yourself to others, if you can shop smartly and get great discounts on some items but not on others due to food allergies, or preference for organic, local, certified non-GMO, you'll be spending more than your other coupon using friends, but remember, you're still doing better than you were.
So here are my favorite tips, in no particular order.
Grocery Store Tips
- Use coupons and stock up when an item you use often goes on sale.
- Don't be fooled by "sales." If you use the item often simply jot down the price. Having one list is great, you can either bring the list shopping once and do this on one shopping trip, or jot prices down from your receipt at home, or even take a photo of the price with your camera phone. I was so proud to have stocked up on an item that was on sale for $3 at Target, until I got to Hannafords and found out the item is normally $2.99.
- When you've completed your "everyday" price list scan it into the computer, E-mail to yourself and then save to your smart phone. It's relatively easy to make it big enough to see with a touch screen. Alternatively fold it up in your coupon organizer.
- Find a store with a great coupon policy that also price-matches and make that the store where you do the majority of your coupon focus. This will save you a lot of time. If stacking coupons and the item isn't on sale, check around (online) for the best price and ask them to match.
- If the Sunday Paper has at LEAST the cost of the paper in coupons you will absolutely use no matter what, get more papers, if not don't get them. Subscribe to one paper and put it on hold on weeks where there are no inserts. Click here for the schedule courtesy of Grocery University.
- Meal Plan Always plan a week out, however it can sometimes work to plan 2-4 weeks at a time
- Use freezer recipes. not only will you save more money it serves as a double-bonus. For example I have a recipe that calls for a whole chicken, 1/2 cup orange juice, and a cap full of rustic herb seasonings from Tastefully Simple, Place in freezer bag until it's time to cook. Chickens were on sale, so I purchased 3 chickens, but I only needed one container of orange juice to make this recipe 3 times. The freezer bag I use is much sturdier than how the chicken comes from the store as well, so I would have had to transfer it anyway. Now I have saved money by NOT buying 2 containers of orange juice, and I saved money on the chicken. In addition dinner is "thaw and throw in oven" ready for 2 more meals in the upcoming weeks. Eventually by doing this I'll end up with a week where I don't have to cook at all, or even shop.
- 2 pair of shoes rotated daily will last longer than one pair of shoes and then another pair of shoes. This is due to moisture accumulation, when you rotate shoes they dry out better which cuts down on breakdown of the shoe as well as foot odors. Spring for a 2nd pair of your favorite color shoes.
- Shop second hand stores. There are many of these that are so popular they only take the high end clothing in style and practically new. As a bonus it's good for the planet. You have to stop in these places often since you never know what they'll have, but the savings you get are well worth it.
- Consign your kids' outgrown clothing whenever possible
- Use Retail-me-not for additional savings.
- I advise not getting credit cards at all, but if you do, still pay cash, most stores let you pay off the balance right at the registers, so buy the item using the card for the discount, then pay cash immediately. Save this receipt until you get your statement, as credit card companies are notorious for not posting payments and then tacking on late fees and additional interest. This is what Dave Ramsey calls "Playing with Snakes" and I do suggest avoiding using credit whenever possible, but this way you still get the "feeling" of spending cash and the protection of a receipt for your payment which cannot get "lost"
- Spending money for quality only hurts once
- Always read online reviews and consult consumer reports if needed. The store salesman's job is to sell you a product, Features and benefits are useless if the product doesn't work. Products that stop working and companies that don't stand behind their product are extremely time consuming and frustrating.
- Use tools to make saving money easy such as coupon match-up blogs and apps for the phone. See my Previous blog post on apps and websites here.
- Go green to save more money. For example a single microfiber towel will save you a lot of money over paper towels. You can read my earlier blog post on this topic HERE.
- Think how much you'll save by not buying the item at all. For example is this yet another space occupying gadget that does something you can accomplish with other kitchen tools?
- learn the difference between need and want. Wants can wait for a sale and for you to be out of debt with an emergency fund in place.
- Plastic Surgery: Stop using credit. Stop paying interest and late fees. Get out of debt, save up and pay cash for things you need.
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