- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living»
How Frugal Shoppers Save Money
A budget only stretches so far each month, maybe weekly, and it has to cover a lot of costs. There are utility bills, rent or mortgage, food, school or college fees for one's self or the kids, a car to insure and fill with gas, plus extras for emergencies, not to mention insurance policies for the house and medical/dental. How is a person supposed to save any money towards a big plan like making a down payment on a house or going on a holiday? Maybe this isn't even possible -- one simply has to make the dollars they get stretch a little further by saving money somewhere or the family has to go without something.
Ways of Saving Money
The easiest place to save a dollar here and dollar there is to cut back on anything that is not essential. After you have already done that, though, there could still be a depressing lack of funds and red numbers in your ledger. Now you have to get creative, but there are several ways to be smart at the grocery store and when you buy necessities. You will not be alone when you use these methods either.
Join a Club
Firstly, figure out where you do most of your shopping, where you buy coffee, places you buy gas, and other regular stops throughout your week. Do any of these places offer rewards and loyalty cards? Take advantage at every opportunity. Many of these can be downloaded to your phone but they can also be loaded to a rewards card. Keep track of them. If a rewards program runs promotions where you earn extra points on certain days by spending more money, wait for those days to shop then load up.
Later, redeem points as discounts against purchases. Some grocery stores allow you to redeem them against specific products or, if you let them add up, a huge number of points could pay for a new appliance or airplane tickets. Certain stores encourage customers to use these points as cash against their total bill but they cannot be redeemed for a cash pay-out.
Keep track of upcoming promotions at your regular street-level stores and online shopping portals. Sign up for any newsletters provided by these places, usually sent by email, so you never miss 24-hour deals or a chance to enter contests for free.
The old ways haven't gone away; they have simply become available in more diverse ways. Continue to watch for coupons in magazines, newspapers, and fliers. Pick them up in your grocery store and read directions carefully. There is usually a proviso that one must buy a certain size, model, flavor, or number of items in order to redeem the coupon. It might be that you pick up the second item for free or redeem a maximum amount against the purchase of a product, an amount the checkout clerk will fill in for you.
Have these little pieces of paper mailed to you by a company. Print them off at your home computer. A barcode is included in the image and is readable at the till. Keep in mind, though, that coupons are only worthwhile to a frugal shopper if she likes and regularly uses the product anyway and it is good value with savings applied. If the coupon still doesn't make an item cheaper than other brands, throw it in the recycling bin at work.
What if you shop online for a lot of stuff like electronics or work supplies? There are two methods of saving money over the internet: coupon codes and bulk ordering. With shipping fees, only large orders are worth your while anyway even though lower overheads make virtual shops cheaper in many cases than brick-and-mortar stores. Volume orders can really help a person take advantage of discounts, but only if they can use the items they buy. If items are perishable, they must be used before going off or savings are lost. Many stores waive shipping costs if customers' orders reach a minimum amount such as $50 or $100. Check out https://www.myfavdeals.org for lots of coupons and deals.
Coupon codes applied at the internet checkout also help lower bills. This form of internet discount is a series of letters, perhaps symbols and numbers, which tell the checkout to take a percentage or dollar value off of the final total. They are not bar-coded -- one types them into the special space along with the order total and shipping fees if they apply. Coupons typically apply to certain products, a total bill over a certain value, or to shipping costs. Sometimes they only work for your first order.