- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Food and Fuel for Less
Prices for everything are going up and the consumers are the ones who must pay. One bill after another, our wallets are losing thickness and it hurts financially. That is why The Thin Wallet was created, to provide tips for money saving ideas.
Naturally, when the necessities become more expensive, so do the other consumer goods in an effort to reap the benefits for the company, and rape the buyer who has no choice but to buy. Meanwhile, the cost of gas and groceries pump the money out while we starve to break even...puns intended.
A few ideas are discussed below. If you have suggestions that work for you, please add them in your comments.
Shop in Bulk
With the advent of Sam's Club and Costco, the supermarket royalty, you might as well have an 18-wheeler to get your pallets home! Despite the fact that these stores sell predominantly name brand products, you save because the discount for bulk items beats the cost of purchasing individual products.
Whether you have a big family or simply build up your food storage, bulk purchases allow you to have more for less. The difficult part is how you will get it home, and once home, where it will be stored. You can either become a member yourself and pay the annual associated fees or you can ask a friend who has a membership to add you to their account. You will have the same benefits for less overhead.
Memberships & Coupons
Many stores have loyalty programs as a way to bring the customer back. With an easy signup process, you receive a small card that is swiped at checkout. At various times of the week certain items will be priced for less when you present your membership card or identification. As long as you are willing to purchase generic, non-branded items everytime these are great programs. Assuming you normally spend about $100 with each visit, you can potentially save $20 or more. Annually this savings would be almost $500 if you were to shop every two weeks. The moral is: Get a Grocery Loyalty Card.
Another less used, but well known method is coupon clipping. Weekly ads in the paper, mailings and even in the store can save a little money on indiviual items. Unfortunately, these coupons are commonly for the brand name products where the coupon simply brings the price into the generic price range. If you find the 'buy one get one free', 'free with your next purchase', or substantial discounts, you may be on to something.
Horrific gas prices have led drivers to look for fuel efficient automobiles and alternative methods of energy. In the case that you have not yet purchased a hybrid, built a bio-diesel still, or discovered how to harness nuclear energy you may be interested in saving money through other means.
Initially it is important to ensure your vehicle is running properly and that you are driving it wisely to save on fuel. This means anything over 60mph, quick starts and stops, and city traffic will cause greater fuel consumption thus increasing your need to buy more gas.
As mentioned before, Costco and Sam's Club are great ways to save on groceries. They are also gasoline vendors as are some smaller grocery chains. Purchasing a membership or having a free loyalty card can build up savings in gas costs at their company pumps. For example, the Kroger Company stores offer 5, 10, and 15 cent per gallon discounts at their pumps with every $30 spent on your groceries. This can make a big financial difference when it comes to regular fill ups and grocery needs. Again, the moral is: Get a Grocery Loyalty Card.
Here's to shopping frugally and getting it home for less.