The Frugal Shopper's Favorite Frugal Tips
by Sandy Shields
• Keep a positive attitude.
When you succeed at saving money you are helping yourself. Pat yourself on the back for meeting your goals. Remember that just because you have determined to live by a budget, does not mean that you are "cheap".
• Be content with what you have.
Remember that you have so much more than most people in this world. Do not view budgeting as doing without; but as being an intelligent consumer, and consistent manager of your money.
• "Stretch" everything as much as you possibly can.
For example, you can dilute these products with water, or cut them in half and they will work just as well: toothpaste, shampoo, hair conditioner, dish detergent, dishwasher soap, and laundry soap.
• Drink lots of water.
It is better for you, and much easier on your pocketbook. At home, the cheapest of course, is your tap water. However, if you do not like tap water or desire filtered water, you can still save money on bottled water by using these tips: Buy the store brand - do not pay extra for name brands. When your bottles are empty, look for the bottled water machines at your grocery store. In my area, I can fill a gallon for only .25 cents. Compare that to .75 cents (or more) per gallon that you are paying in the store. Stock up on small bottles when they are on sale, and reuse them for lunches. At work and when dining out, always order water. It is usually free. If you take a bag lunch, take along a bottle of water or a thermos.
This is a huge money saver, and my all-time favorite tip.
Stockpiling means buying enough of the item while it is on sale to last you until the next sale. Spend as much of your budgeted money as you possibly can on sale items. "Loss Leaders" are the low-priced sale items that the grocery stores advertise to get you into their stores. They are hoping that as you stop by for the sale items, that you will do all of your shopping in their store. Don't. Get the sale items and leave. Shop around. Compare prices. No one store ever has the lowest prices on everything.
• Never pay retail prices unless absolutely necessary.
Use coupons, send for rebates, and shop the sales. If you use the previous tip, you will always have on hand the things you need. You will not have to make special trips to purchase items at full price. Don't be caught by surprise - plan ahead. You will feel more secure knowing that you have a full pantry as well.
• Make it yourself. Make what you need instead of buying it. My favorite thing to make is Laundry Soap. Click here for my recipes.
There are many things that I make instead of buying. One is Pickle Relish. Instead of paying $1.29 for a 10 oz. jar of pickle relish at the store, I buy the 46 oz. jar of whole pickles on sale for $1.50-$2.00. Then I chop the pickles in my blender or food processor. I save $3.00-$4.00 by doing this.
I refuse to buy processed cheese slices. I buy store brand bricks of cheese on sale. The typical price is $1.20 for an 8 ounce brick. Then I process the cheese in the blender/food processor and add a little mayonnaise. This makes a great cheese spread that you can put on sandwiches, and it is much cheaper!
• Shop the discounted bread stores.
Did you know that most of the time the bread stores carry fresh breads? You can get baked goods for a much lower price. Most bread stores also offer promotions such as "frequent buyer cards". Our local bread store gives discount cards. For each $5.00 purchase, they will stamp the card one time. When your card has 7 stamps, you turn in the card and receive a free $5.00 credit. These bread stores also carry snacks, spices, and mixes.
• Pay your debts
Pay them off as soon as you possibly can, and do not charge anything else until they are paid for. You may want to cut up your credit cards, but be sure to leave yourself a low interest card so that you can take advantage of great deals online. You also may want to keep it for emergencies. However, when you buy online, make sure that you pay for your purchase as soon as the bill comes. If you let interest add up on your great deal, it is no longer a great deal.
• Don't buy it unless you need it.
Notice I said, NEED it - not WANT it. There is a big difference. Curb your desires, and learn to discipline your spending habits. Trust me, it can be done.
• Before you buy something, ask yourself the following questions:
Is this something I can live without?
Do I already have something that I can use instead?
Can I borrow it from a friend or family member?
How long will I have to work to pay for this?
Do I really need this, or do I only want it?
• Always use the Five R's:
Repair, Restore, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - these alone will save you a bundle.
If you will incorporate these tips into your daily life, you will save money - guaranteed.
Sandy is a freelance writer and webmaster of TheFrugalShopper.com. She enjoys living the frugal life, saving money, and helping others to do the same. Reprint permission granted with this footer included. Copyright © TheFrugalShopper.com 1999-2011.