Frugal Grocery Shopping
Save money while grocery shopping
One of the areas that most families spend a large portion of their money on is groceries. When you first start frugal shopping you may be tempted to simply eat ramen noodles, but that is only sustainable if you are a college student. Most people and families like more, even require more, variety in their diets to get proper nutrient.
Just because your starting a habit of frugal shopping doesn't necessarily mean that you need to skimp, you just need to plan more and be a little patient.
Clip coupons from whatever source you can get them. The Sunday newspaper would be a good first choice. A good magazine to subscribe to would be All You Magazine which is full of coupons, the savings from the coupons alone will pay for the subscription many times over. There are many web sites that also allow the user to print coupons from the internet. When using internet coupons be sure to check the policy of the store you want to use them at.
Review weekly circulars from various grocery stores in your area. Different stores will have different 'loss leaders' so if one store doesn't have a special on what you want another grocery store might. Plan your week's worth of meals based on what you can get for the best price.
Focus on products that overlap between the weekly circular and your coupon stash. Products featured in the weekly circular are usually on sale for a special price or better yet buy one get one free (BOGO). If there is a coupon available for these items it makes them an even better deal.
When you come across something that you will need, and that will keep, go ahead and purchase it. Canned items will keep for quite some time so if they are on sale, you have a coupon and you will use it at some point, purchase it and place it in your own storage area. Consider keeping a small notebook of the items that you use regularly and what prices you have gotten it for, especially the best price. Using this notebook over time you will know if something is a good deal.
Keep in mind that just because you have a coupon and/or it is on sale doesn't mean you have to purchase it. Or look for alternative products, many stores carry their own variety of many products which are just as good or better than the name brands. Try these products out and if they are acceptable to you, use them instead of the name brand products that may go on sale more or have more coupons.
Frugal Shopping for clothes
Along with groceries, everyone needs clothes.
Coupons do exist for clothes and other accesories, but they are definitly fewer and further between than grocery coupons. The coupons that you do find will more likely be for a store as opposed to a particular brand of clothing. A good way to get these store coupons will be to join the stores mailing list, both email and snail mail. This way the store will directly send you information about sales and promotions, and hopefully include some coupons in the mailing. If the store offers an email list the may also send out online only type deals.
Frugal shopping may entail putting some blinders on and charging to the back of the store. Why do this? To get past all the regular priced items at the front of the store. These will be the new and latest style of clothes. At the back of the store you will more likely find the clearance racks where you can find real bargains on clothes for the frugal shopper. These will be the clothes that were the lastest style a couple weeks or months before, but for A LOT less money.
Learn what goes on sale when and plan accordingly. Figure on buying whites and linens during the 'White Sales' that typically occur in January. Look to buy electronics and kids clothes and other school necessities in August at 'Back to School Sales'. Stock up on seasonal clothes and other items after the season is over and save a bundle.
Another great way to get in some frugal shopping for clothes is to visit consignment stores and thrift shops. Many of the items will be previously used, but there will still be a lot of use left in them, otherwise the store wouldn't even attempt to sell them. Some of the items may even be new, the person bought something and never even wore it before dropping it in the donation box, maybe it didn't fit or didn't look right. No matter what the reason, the frugal shopper wins. Which do you think is more frugal? Spending $200 on a pair of brand new pre-ripped jeans or $5 on a pair of jeans that you spend an hour cutting and ripping?
Frugal Shopping for the rest of your stuff
Is it a 'Need' or a 'Want'
Before you kick into frugal shopping mode you need to evaluate the item to determine if it is a 'need' or a 'want'. If it is a 'need', by all means do the frugal shopping involved in getting the best deal. But if it's a 'want' your most frugal approach would be to do without. If it is a 'want' that you do decide you are going to purchase, put it off for a while so you can search for the best deal. Are you looking for a new laptop computer and it's early November? Put the purchase off until Black Friday or Cyber Monday and you'll probably save a fair amount of money.
Some other good frugal shopping desitnations would be yard sales and estate auctions. At a yard sale the frugal shopper may be able to bargain the price down a little bit before deciding to purchase. At an auction you wont have this luxury, but you can still get good deals if no one else is interested in the item you're bidding on. Be careful at an auction, though, that you don't get caught up in the excitement and challenge of the compention and pay too much for an item.
Major household appliances and furniture can be a major expense for the frugal shopper. Definitely watch for sales on these items from area retails, but also watch for a used item that would be suitable. Sites like Craigslist or the FreeCycle email lists are good places to watch for used items. You may need to pick them up and install them yourself, but you can't beat FREE.
While frugal shopping your motto should be "I can find it cheaper!". Make it a challenge to find the very best deal on an item. Find like minded people to compare notes with, they may well know of deals that you miss and you can fill them in on ones you know about.
Here's a quick recap of frugal shopping pointers:
- Compare prices
- Track best prices on common items
- Use coupons
- Shop sales and clearance racks
- Put off what you don't need until you can find a better deal
- Always be alert for a deal
Happy frugal shopping and be sure to put all that money you save in a safe place!