I had posted a topic last week about raising children to be frugal and about good financial management skills. That topic got a ton of views, and so I wanted to create a topic about some of the most basic ways that we all can save money and cut back on spending. These are a few tidbits that I’ve learned since living on my own that may prove to be useful to you.
A) The power of coupons. Every month(and sometimes during the week) I receive a magazine full of coupons. I used to throw these coupons away, thinking of it as annoying spammer mail. That was until the day I looked into the magazine coupon book and saw coupons that I could use at my local grocery store. Recently I started collecting coupons that are on the back of my receipts when I buy groceries. I’ve also started going online to a variety of sites to find coupons to use at larger food retail stores–and if you’re a mom then you know exactly what sites I’m talking about. Needless to say, I make it a rule of thumb that before I head to the grocery store for food or any other item that I have as many usable coupons as possible.
B) The wonderful “strict” list. Before I even get ready to go to the store I make a list of everything I absolutely need and my own little estimation of the price of each item. I stick by that list no matter what. This keeps me from spending my money on items that I don’t need and that will take me over my budget. This seems simple, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who go to the grocery store without a grocery list. They just pick up what they want, or what their kids want while they are at the store. OR they’ll bring a list but they won’t stick to it(that is the worse to me).
C) Creating a monthly budget and buying everything at once. I used to be one of those people who went to grocery store everyday, or throughout the week to restock my fridge. I had a weekly budget of how much I could spend and a majority of the time by the time the month was over I had spent an excessive amount on food. What I’ve learned is that by creating a monthly food budget and sticking by it, I don’t spend more than I need to on food(which minimizes gas, and the time I spend having to constantly restock throughout the week). Additionally by buying everything according to that budget, and at once, I end up spending less than I would if I went to the store every week. For instance I used to spend about $50-60 a week on food(as a single person). That translated into $300. I realized that was too much. So I made a monthly budget of $185 dollars. I created a list of everything I needed and made sure that it fit that budget. And then I bought everything at once. No more restocking and no more $300 a month. It’s hard sometimes–because I get the cravings for random food, but by sticking to what I bought, utilizing it–well I save money!
D) No more name brand food. I used to be a name-brand head. I seriously only bought food that looked what I liked to call “normal”. Anything that was store brand I was like “yuck”. Well that attitude went away when I realized I had a budget to stick to and that I needed to spend as little as possible to make it happen. Going for store brand, or cheaper products didn’t change the taste(with a little seasoning it tasted the same) but it did change the price.
These are some starting points. What are some of the ways that you save money?
Look for my next blog post (scheduled for Friday) about where to shop to really get some bargains!