We have family members, friends, and neighbors whose jobs have been lost or fixed incomes are no longer able to withstand the dramatic increases of day to day living in the economic crisis we face as a nation. With forecasts of hyperinflation looming in the near future, we are ever watchful of how and when we spend money.
My role in our family is to shop for and buy the things our family needs. Each week, the grocery stores in our area post their weekly specials online. I make my grocery lists and plan our meals around what is on sale. When there are particularly good prices on some items, I stock up. We have a minimum of a six month supply on most regularly used food, personal and household items. The twenty to thirty minutes it takes me to research saves us a tremendous amount of money.
Some stores have three or four day sales only. Others reward you with dollar back store coupons to be used on future purchases. Many will double or triple coupons. And two of the three stores I shop with give me a discount on my gas. All of which, saves our family money and helps stretch our budget. The key to all of this is to plan. But even armed with a list of what is advertised on sale, I still peruse the aisles for in store specials that are not advertised.
Another way we save is to co-op with friends and neighbors. A store may have a special, for example, of buy one loaf of bread, get one free. We just don’t need two loaves of bread in one week. But if my neighbor can use one loaf, we’ve both just paid half the price we would have paid had we shopped alone. Zaycon will sell meat in bulk at a much lower cost per pound than the grocery store chains. Churches are offering the opportunity to buy bulk groceries to help ease the pain through ministries like Angel Food.
We have also found that by adding family members to our wireless plan, everyone saves. When we go out together as a family, we take the vehicle that has the best gas mileage. When planning a major purchase we look at buying things used, rather than brand new. Craigslist is bursting with individuals selling anything and everything at deeply discounted prices. Even then, we find there is room for negotiation.
For entertainment, we still enjoy going to the movies at our local dollar theater or rent and watch them for even less at home. But we never pay full price. The money we save is well-worth the short wait to see newly released movies. Museums, theme parks and zoos offer family discounts on certain day of the month. Restaurants, in an attempt to encourage people to eat out, offer specials on specific days or times of the day. My medical spa, where I go for laser hair removal, offers a thirty percent discount on Wednesdays just for “liking” them on Facebook. That’s a huge savings!
If I don’t see a discount for a particular product or service, I ASK! I ask if they offer first time customer, family or referral discounts, or if they have a frequent buyer program. I sign up for reward cards that don’t cost a thing and will save us approximately 30 percent on our overall bill. Our information is a valuable marketing tool for stores. I use it to our advantage. Not only will we get the lower price on the items we buy, but we get coupons customized to the things we purchase regularly. Some stores will offer their reward card carrying customers special sale days with additional discounts.
By shopping smart, my family never pays full price for any product or service. And saving money never means going without. That knowledge makes sticking to a budget easy AND rewarding.