I was reading a post from My Lil Pink Pocket about couponing and it got me thinking, we could learn a lot from each other on this. I love a good bargain but there have been many times in my life in which bargain shopping wasn’t just the fun of getting a good deal, it was a neccessity if we were going to make it.
Here are some things I have done or still do.
1. Menu Plan
This saves me a lot of money. Taking 15 minutes each week (that is all it really takes) to know what I am making for dinner each night probably saves easily $40+ per week. I put all of my recipes in an accordian folder that is labeled to help me plan quickly.
My labels are crock pot, grill, breakfast and the type of meat (chicken, pork, turkey, etc).
This may sound strange at first, but when I am looking for a recipe, I have found that is how I search. If I am going to be working late, a crock pot meal is what I want. If pork is on sale, guess what kind of recipe I need? You get the drift.
I just pull a recipe out for each night and post it on my fridge, with cute days of the week magnets (it’s the little things that entertain me!).
Once I know what I am making for dinner each night, I can quickly survey it and determine my grocery list. The beauty is I have a list and I KNOW if I only buy what is on the list – I will have good meals each night. Throw in some lunch staples, fruit, cereal and you’re set.
Many people know this but it is a bit of an art. Look at an object and let go of what it is telling you what it is. A pair of old jeans with a tear in the knee may be screaming they want to be a book cover, purse, skinny jeans or even a lamp shade cover. Let go and really brainstorm. You wouldn’t believe how much “free” stuff is around your house.
First keep in mind lots of places accept competitors coupons. From gas stations to craft stores, they want your business and welcome their competitors coupons. Don’t be nervous to ask, the worst thing that can happen is they will say, no.
I think the most difficult aspect of coupons today is they expire very quickly. With that said, only choose coupons on items you will actually use and hopefully have a long shelf life. Check your local stores for double coupon days – this will make your efforts more worth while.
Sometimes the “loss leaders” are the best way to shop. Each week, grocery stores will offer some items at a ridiculously low price. These are loss leaders, they intend to draw you to the store to buy these and then buy MORE and MORE. Plan your menus around these items or stock your freezer with them.
Make specific areas for items you will stock up on when you get a great deal. Some that I use are:
- Toiletries – I have a shelf dedicated to stock up when toothpaste/deodorant/etc is a good deal.
- School supplies – I buy the minimum before school – two weeks after school prices plummet – that is when I stock up. Five cents for a package of loose leaf paper, yes please!
- Freezer – I have a small dry erase board on my fridge. On it I list what is in my freezer in the basement. Otherwise I forget it and potentially I haven’t saved at all because I have to throw away.
5. Ditch cable
We use Netflix and stream whatever TV we decide to view. This saves a ton of money and really allows us to do so much more. I am not going to kid you, when we first got rid of it, I was nervous. What are we going to do without flipping the channels for an hour or two (now this seems so silly)? Truth is, everyone starts filling in that time with what they truely enjoy. More reading, crafting, games & writing have happened since we pulled the plug.
6. Bigger ticket item savings
We have a rule in our house – incorporated from too many unfortunate purchases – sleep on it. If it is a bigger price item, no matter how great the deal is, sleep on it. If it is really a good deal, they most certainly will take your business tomorrow as much as today. So many times when we are at home later, the glitter and shine of the salesperson or ambiance of the store has faded away, we have realized maybe it isn’t that great of a deal, or it just doesn’t fit in our life or that money can be better spent elsewhere.
7. Grow it yourself
In the summer, if you are able, grow veggies yourself. You don’t need a big garden to save money and enjoy fresh veggies. Make a container garden. The savings from just not buying salsa and pasta sauce is enough to make you grow a few tomatoes. I would suggest keeping it small or at least keep it to what you really think you will stay committed to. Otherwise, you may become frustrated and quit.
8. Sign up for Freebies
Setup an email account that you use to subscribe to stores you frequent or coupon sites. It is probably best to keep this as a separate account so your email doesn’t get too crazy. Check as frequent as you like – maybe you can treat yourself to a buy one get one Blizzard or something. 🙂
These are just a few of the things we do, but I am really curious to know what you are doing? What are some ways you save money?