October 24, 2011

Fast Frugal Fixes

The economy is bad and prices for goods and services are rising, especially for food. Here are some fast ways to cut your budget:

1. Buy in bulk.
Become a member at a wholesale club, like Costco, Sam's, or BJ's. Generally those items will be cheaper, per item, than if you bought the same quantity in the regular grocery or retail store. Meat and cheese are especially cheaper at wholesale retailers.

2. Frequent Shopper cards.
Many stores have free frequent shopper cards that help to save money here and there, like Sally's Beauty Supply, Food Lion, Ingles, etc.

3. Always be on the lookout for deals.
Many stores will have circular flyers at the store entrance, post them online or even sent in weekly mailings and newspapers. Take advantage of this information and shop accordingly.

4. One car.
If you have more than one vehicle, it can consume a lot of money: car payment, maintenance, gas, and insurance. If you're able, sell it to a private seller and pocket that money in your savings account.

5. Efficient planning for your errands.
Make a list, check it twice or even three times. Go through your entire house to make sure that there is nothing your forgetting to pick up before your next errand trip. This saves gas and time.

6. Rice & beans
These and potatoes, carrots, celery, pasta and bananas are always very cheap items. Ten pounds of potatoes at Sam's Club are just $5. Ten pounds of carrots are about $2.50 or $3. Whole grain pasta is only about $1.20 per 13 oz. dry box and bananas usually run about $0.50 per pound at Walmart.

7. Couponing.
It's a verb now. And if you work it just right, you can get tons of free stuff and even store credit! I've heard it done, but haven't practiced myself. This takes a lot of time and organization. I'm always tempted to buy products I don't need or use just because I have a coupon or it's on sale, so coupon wisely.

8. Patience is a frugal virtue.
Wait for clearance sales when purchasing new items. Wait for Black Friday and the After Christmas clearance sales. In Georgia there is a tax-free weekend before public school begins where many school supply items are sold at cheap prices without sales tax applied.

9. Goodwill & second-hand stores, including yard sales.
This is essential when buying clothing. Often you can buy name brand materials (Ralph Lauren, Chico's, Ann Taylor, Express, Land's End, etc.) for unbelievable prices! And oftentimes these items may still have the original store tags still attached!

10. Cook more, eat out less.
If your dying to eat something different, try a new recipe or something you can buy at the grocery store and take home to prepare. It will ALWAYS be cheaper than going to a restaurant, paying a babysitter, buying the meal and tipping your server!

11. Do-it-yourself projects.
We saved a boat load on new, needed, carpet for our home when Jeramy bought it at a wholesale price and installed it himself! We saved thousands of dollars when he professionally painted a faux-finish on many of our walls! You don't always have to hire a professional to do EVERYTHING in your home. There are many resource materials available online, YouTube videos, etc. that guide you in your home projects.

12. Research pays off.
When buying things online, I always try to find retailers that charge minimum to no shipping costs. Sometimes though you have to be careful: they hike up the price and don't charge shipping whereas other sites may charge less for the item and give you shipping options or free shipping with minimum $ purchase (like Amazon). I just bought a cloth diaper cover at Cotton Babies without paying any shipping or being overcharged for my item!

13. Pay with cash.
It's crazy, I know. But when the cash is gone, you will stop buying things! This past grocery shopping trip, Jeramy gave me cash. I wrote this dollar amount at the top of my list. Then as I picked up and crossed off each item I put in my cart I wrote down its price. Then when I got to the register I knew exactly how much I was going to spend. (I rounded the prices of course.) And the outcome? I ended up having $75 left over to rollover into next month's budget, help to pay the principle on our mortgage or use toward Christmas gifts!

1 comment:

Abby said...

Great tips! I love Goodwill. :) And I'm definitely going to learn how to cook more with beans.