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Why We Should Shop Smart

Updated on January 20, 2014

More Savings with Coupons

We all look for bargains. Finding a sale on an item that we use often can save us bundles if we consider how much we spend each month on that particular necessity. Things like toilet paper that we use everyday can save us an average of 5 cents per roll if bought in volume. The bigger the package the more you save. If this same package of toilet paper happens to be on sale for an additional 2 cents per roll then you have saved 7 cents. That's 84 cents on a twelve roll package. That really doesn't seem like much of a savings does it? But if you use this same effect on nearly every item you buy it will add up to a remarkable savings.

Large family packages are most always cheaper. You can divide it up into smaller containers once you get home with it. Some supermarkets have entire isles reserved just for bulk food that you can package yourself for a huge discount. In some communities they have special stores that only carry bulk supplies. Shopping Club stores offer great discounts on bulk stuff. Be careful as not to get carried away with buying a lot you don't really need. It's good to keep stocked up but use logic as you do it.

Store and manufacturers coupons will add another discount to that volume package you bought. But you're better off using the coupon on a smaller size, especially if the coupon is a dollar or more. The coupon could reduce the price by half and if you have more than one coupon you can buy and save on as many items as you have coupons for. It doesn't matter if it's the same item as long as you have the coupon for each one you buy. If you have a dollar coupon for toilet paper and the price is 2.00 for 4 double rolls, you are getting this toilet paper for half its regular price at a quarter per roll. Stock up on it while you have the extra coupons. This deal could apply to most anything you buy in a supermarket. Some stores even double the coupons which in this case you would be getting it free of charge.

Many supermarkets have booklets of manufacturer’s coupons right beside the items they apply to. Feel free to use as many as you like. If that item happens to be on sale you will get a great bargain. Manufacturer’s coupons are found on all kinds of packaging from labels to box tops. Magazines and newspapers carry manufacturer’s coupons, often more than enough to take care of the price of the publication. Coupons can be printed online on several sites but not all stores will except copies printed in this fashion so you may want to find out which ones will take them if any in advance.


Place close attention at the checkout counter.

One time I had a lot of deposit cans to return. I redeemed them in a store that had one of those machines you feed the cans into and it spits out a slip with your refund on to collect at the cash register.

I had over $20 worth of cans that day. I had cash off coupons that the store would double with me along with a list of the sales items I wanted. By the time I put the doubled coupons on the sales items and applied my can redemption toward the purchase, I walked out with over $60 worth of groceries for only a few dollars.

Always check the expiration dates on your manufacturer’s coupons as not to be using ones that have expired. Some coupons will have no expiration dates. These you will be able to use any time. You can also swap coupons with a friend to give both of you a chance at a deal on things you buy anyways. Avoid buying things you wouldn't otherwise buy just because you have a coupon. Of course if you can get it for free by all means get it anyways, surely someone you know could use that item. And it may be a chance to try something new that you may decide to buy again. I knew a lady once that was so addicted to coupons that she bought things she really didn't need. She would have a whole pantry full of cake mixes just because she had a coupon for them. She felt she was saving money but in the long run she was only paying more at the checkout for a food bill that only served two people. When her adult kids came for a visit she would send them home with a goody box of off the wall grocery items that they wouldn't have had on their grocery list either. One can get carried away with a good idea if no thought is put in the process.

Place close attention at the checkout counter. Often items will scan the regular price when it should have been a sale price. Sometimes the item may even be scanned twice by accident. It saves you returning to the store with your findings if you watch the register while you are cashing out. Some stores will even take up to $5 off the price of your item if you tell them about the error. Many people will not return to the store and let them know of the mistake. This itself is a mistake when you're trying so hard to save money in the first place. Unless you live a long ways away from the establishment it is in your best interest to let them know of any errors. Not only are you saving yourself money, but also the next person who shops there. This advice along with a shopping list that is followed to the letter will save you money at the cash-out counter. If you're hungry you're bound to see things you wouldn't buy otherwise. If it's not on your shopping list, do not buy it. Be sure when writing your list to include everything you are going to need before your next scheduled trip to the store. This will save you money on gasoline by not having to make extra trips. It will also save you time that you could be doing something else with other than returning to the store. Unless you are passing by this store anyways, more money is spent traveling to the location as well as the time spent shopping again.


Some things can be bought months in advance.

People who live out of town and especially those on a fixed budget may only do their grocery shopping once a month. This saves a lot of time and money. They need to donate plenty of time for this one special visit armed with coupons, a list, and maybe even a packed lunch with something to drink for the outing. They study sales ads and incorporate their coupons to go with each sale item. They plan menus to what they need to apply to their shopping list. They watch for in-store specials not advertised elsewhere and buy clearance items which may be in a marked shopping cart located in one of the isles. A carefully planned trip to their favorite store will give them enough supplies to last them the whole month.

Avoid using credit cards when shopping for anything. It will only tempt you into buying things you can't afford. And what savings you made by other methods will be thrown out the window by not only the extra expense of buying the unneeded item but buy paying interest to the credit card companies. You will make wiser choices by using money that you already have. And you will avoid paying twice as much for the item.

Some things that are not wise to buy a month supply of are produce items. Freshness only last so long. If you buy too much you will have to can or freeze it for fear of spoilage. But then you will want to do that while it is still fresh. It is not a good idea to preserve produce that has been picked days in advance. If you live where you can plant a garden or near someone that does you can save a lot of money growing it yourself or buying it from a roadside produce stand. Even people who live in the city can keep a potted tomato plant or plant lettuce in a window box. Produce at its freshest for those who grow their own. Your grocery bill will be much less without having to buy it at the store and you won't have to worry about the pesticides being used to grow them. Gardens can save money for those that wish to can or freeze their own vegetables. With enough stocked up for the following year it will take another savings off your grocery bill. Things like potatoes can be stored for months in a cool dry basement without preserving them. The basement would also be a good place to put your home grown canned vegetables. If your canned vegetables are in a place where it is warm they may come unsealed and spoil.

Things like bread and rolls can be bought months ahead providing you have a freezer to keep them in. Most anything perishable can be frozen. While milk will keep up to a couple of weeks in a refrigerator set at a colder setting, you could even place it in the freezer for later use. Eggs will keep up to three months refrigerated. Eggs are still a real bargain for those on a budget as they are cheap but still provide plenty of nutritional values like protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you are anywhere near an egg producer great discounts can be had by buying them directly from the farmer where they will be fresh. This also applies to any kind of farm products that may be near your location. Some people who have hobby farms may have their own chickens or even a cow. But not many of us are able to live off the grid and must deal with things as we have the means to.


Bargain hunting can be fun.

Another thing we all need is clothing. Shopping for new clothes can be fun and enjoyable, but it can be very hard on our budgets. Unless we can get things on clearance racks or at a discount price we will need to be very careful with our shopping. More and more people are shopping thrift shops and yard sales. Good used clothing can be just as good as new and much cheaper. You can buy most anything at a yard sale. Even shopping this way may lead us to buy things we don't really need. So we will still need to use good judgment. I have bought a lot of things over the years at yard sales. I can say I saved a lot of money buying clothing there for the kids and often even found new stuff. But like I said you can buy most anything at a yard sale. I found each year my closets over flowing with things I could have done without. But I also found that a reward when times got rough as I was able to sell things at flea markets or online auction sites. One man's junk is another man's treasure as the old saying goes. It certainly was in my case. I sold a dime trinket once for forty bucks online.

Buying things online can often save us money if we find a bargain and it saves time and travel expenses as well. I have often bought things online that would have cost much more at a store. We can shop for clearance items there like we do in a store only it's right in our own home. Most every business nowadays has a website or at least an ad somewhere on the internet.

Watch the classified section of your newspapers and magazines for other great savings. Anything from used cars to appliances can found there. Why buy new when something slightly used is just as good. I recently bought a love seat with a pullout bed in it for $150 that was only a year old. It would have cost over $600 new. This piece of furniture was in new condition and I was as pleased as I would have been with a new one. The big difference was that I saved hundreds of dollars by buying used. Classified ads are becoming more popular online as well as in printed publications. It seems everyone has an item to sell and a lot of people looking to buy it. Both parties gain by using classified ads.

Why buy new? Buying used appliances can be cheaper than fixing the one that needs repaired. And it would be a fraction of the cost of a new one. Unless you feel you can afford to buy new, it only makes sense to buy a used one. Sometimes people will even give things away so pay attention to the free sections in those classified ads.

Today the price of gasoline is at an all time high. If we shop close to home sometimes even if the price is a few cents more it will save us money. Try to include the cost of your trip if traveling very far to get a bargain. Chances are your bargain may not be a bargain after all.

One only needs to look for it. Rebates are everywhere.

Vacations can be taken closer to home to save money on travel cost. Where ever you decide to take a vacation take advantage of the many discounts many hotels, motels, and restaurants have to offer. Some of these have discounts for senior citizens or for children. Discounts on admissions to movies, theaters, and amusement parks can give you a big bite taken out of your entertainment budget. A tip on vacation spots that are off season will often be cheaper. I don't mean completely off season. You wouldn't want to go to a ski resort in July but why not late winter while they are not so busy. This could bring a big savings to you as they need your business. Some amusement parks offer free admissions on the last days they are open. This will mean fighting a crowd as everyone gets a free pass but it will be cheaper and the kids still seem to enjoy it. Pack a picnic lunch to save you from fighting the crowd at the food stands and at the same time saving you money. The biggest expense for the trip would be gasoline.

Some grocery stores have a program to save you money on gasoline. For every so many dollars spent on groceries they give you so much off gasoline bought at their pumps. This too could be a way of saving money on what you need to buy anyways. If you know someone that doesn't have a car maybe they can give you their gas discount from the groceries they bought. In return maybe you could give them a ride to the store.

Some companies offer rebates on items you buy from them. Rebates are given on food items as well as small appliances and toys. The rebate form may be posted in the store or the package the item came in. Some rebates are found in the newspapers or magazines you buy. Some rebates are found on the company’s websites. Even utility companies may offer a rebate. One only needs to look for it.


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