What are some of your best tips on saving money? Here’s some personal experience on great ways to save an extra buck. I’d love to hear your tips! I have a list of about 60+ tips to save money. This is part 2 tips 5-7. I hope you enjoy!
5. Clip Coupons
Check out these 4 levels to couponing.
Level 1: The Casual Couponer
Most shoppers find themselves here. A majority of these shoppers will buy a cart full of groceries with less than 15 coupons or none at all. They will typically save a few dollars at most every trip to the store. As an example, I could go into my local Wal-Mart or Target with the intent of purchasing a box of cereal and hand them a $.50 coupon. Instead of paying $3.99 for a box of cereal I would pay $3.49.
Level 2: The Generic Brand Store Shopper
Many people are also in this category. The shoppers in this category have figured out they can save money by buying generic products over name brand products at a cheaper price. By doing all their shopping from generic brands they can often save $100-300 a month. Instead of buying the name brand cereal box at $3.49 with a $.50 coupon I could simply buy the comparable generic store brand for $2.99. I would save myself $.50 in the process too.
Level 3: The Coupon Deal Shopper
Give the right opportunity, shoppers can save a lot more money buying name brand products than the generic brands. Items will frequently go on sale. There will be products sold as loss leaders. When this happens, the Coupon Deal Shopper will capitalize on the opportunity.
The Coupon Deal Shopper saves 60% to 90% on pretty much everything they buy, because they follow two simple rules:
- Do NOT buy it if it’s not on sale.
- COMBINE the sale with a coupon.
Saving on this level does require some effort. This shopper might find the same name brand cereal box at $1.99 once every couple of months and have a $.50 off coupon. This would result in buying the name brand for $1.49 or half the price of even the generic store brand cereal. At this level the shopper is spending anywhere from two to five hours a week on coupons and checking up on deals.
Level 4: The Extreme Couponer
It’s possible to use a store coupon and manufacturer coupon on the same purchase. Did you know that? The Extreme Couponer gets bigger and better deals than the other shoppers. These kinds of shoppers look for multiple deals at the same stores. They often shop more than one store, price match, and carry a well organized notebook of coupons. They stockpile when deals go on sale.
So what level of couponer are you?
We often find ourselves in levels 1 or 2. We’d like to move towards the level 3 and 4 categories of shoppers though.
Here’s some further resources on extreme couponing:
6. Buying Groceries
Here’s a list of 10 tips to help you when buying groceries.
1. Write out a shopping list.
Write down or compile a list of what you need at the grocery store. And stick to it! There are people hired to make sure the milk and eggs are in a particular section of the store. There are experts that set up the store so you will have to pass electronics or clothing on your way to buy toiletries. If you’re more techie, download an app to your phone to take your shopping list where you go.
2. Don’t shop when you are hungry.
When you are hungry you are more likely to purchase items that you don’t really need. Also, don’t buy things at the check out aisles as they’re typically marked up and set up to encourage impulse buys.
3. Don’t feel the need to fill your shopping cart.
Have you been to Sam’s Club, Costco, or even Target lately? Shopping carts are getting larger because that encourages shoppers to buy more. Carts today are typically three times the size of the original carts created in in 1938. Make a conscious effort not to fill up the cart. Or as an alternative shop with a basket.
4. Take a closer look at “10 for $10” promotions.
Often 10 for $10 promotions are designed to boost sales. Sometimes this promotion might even increase the price of the item from the week before. So double check to make sure the promotion is truly a good deal. Often, you don’t have to buy 10 items to get the item at $1 each. Could you also buy the items in bulk somewhere else for a better deal?
5. Don’t be afraid to ditch items at the last minute.
Have you noticed that supermarket checkout aisles are increasingly narrower? This is done to discourage shoppers from ditching items last minute. It’s ideal to return an item to the aisle and shelf where you found it. Or perhaps to give the unwanted item back to an employee. However, don’t let the confines of the checkout lane keep you from getting rid of something you added to your cart on a whim or at a child’s request.
6. Go beyond milk, bread, bananas and eggs when comparison shopping.
These four items are typically what consumers use to compare prices between stores. You will have an easier time identifying deals if you make a longer list and compare prices of more than just these four items. Create a spreadsheet and print it off when you go to the store. Or download one of these shopping apps to help you compare prices. For example, Wal-mart in our area is usually more expensive in many every day grocery items than our local Kroger or even Target. If you don’t mind generic, store brands Aldi’s is a great option as well on a variety of items.
7. Start shopping in the middle or permitter of the store.
Often stores will have produce at the front of the store. The bright colors and rich smells are there to put you in the shopping mode. Stick to your budget by starting in the middle of the store. This means you will often start with the canned goods and less vibrant color products. Shopping the perimeter will also help you save money.
8. Wear headphones and listen to upbeat music while you shop.
Stores will intentionally play music with a slower beat to encourage shoppers to move slowly through the aisles and buy more products. Put on your favorite workout music and power through the store as you shop.
9. Double-check the details of a sale price.
Stores will advertise a sale on a certain package. A sale may apply to a certain size package. However, the store will advertise the discount between the sale price item and a different sized, non-sale price item. For example, the small size of the cereal Honey Nut Cheerios was on sale for $1.99 in a “save $5 when you purchase 5 items” this weekend at our local store. When I looked a little closer the larger family size box of Honey Nut Cheerios was also on sale for $1.99. I went home with the family size simply by comparing prices.
10. Don’t assume endcap displays signal good deals.
Supermarkets will often sell end-of-the-aisle displays so a specific product is displayed. Just because a product is positioned in this manner does not mean it is necessarily a good deal.
So how did you do with the list above? What other habits help you save money while shopping?
Here’s some further resources shopping tips:
7. Eat More Meals at Home
Here’s 6 tips to help you eat more meals at home.
1. Create a menu plan.
If you don’t have a meal plan it can be really difficult to eat at home. Check out these 5 simple ways to start a meal plan.
2. Have a few fast food meals available.
While a good idea, this isn’t something to fall back on every night. Try to keep handy pizza, sandwich makings, or frozen pasta for those days that cooking simply isn’t an option. This particularly helpful when you are doing projects around the house like painting, building a tree bench, a long day of selling lemonade, adding a deck to your backyard.
3. Stock your pantry with staples.
These are similar to fast food meals. Staples are probably healthier would include tuna, spaghetti sauce, pasta, flour, cheese, tortillas, frozen vegetables, frozen meat, rice, and beans. Check out this list of staples to keep around the house.
4. Find copycat recipes of your favorite meals.
5. Use paper plates.
Dirty dishes can be an enticing motivation to think about going out to eat. Probably not something to use with every meal, paper plates can be quite helpful depending on your season of life. Check out this website for easy, one-dish meal ideas.
6. Be realistic.
Don’t put the pressure on yourself to become a master chef overnight. Keep meals simple if your family is adjusting to eating at home more. If you have been used to mac and cheese don’t plan an elaborate menu with exotic ingredients the first few weeks of your meal plan. Set yourself up for success. Don’t bit off more than you can chew.
Are you ready to create your meal plan and eat more meals at home?
Want another resource? Check out this couponing article from Quill:
What are your best tips to save money? Add to this list and comment below!