As times are tough ,It can get very discouraging to work and each week/month watch our paychecks go to bills, groceries and nothing else! With the big economic land slide that all of us are feeling in one way or another.
After getting a second job just to have a little extra and soon watching that go to bills to. Is when I realized it was really time to hunker down ( is that even a word " hunker") oh well I like it. I had kinda let couponing go out the window for a long time, maybe I got too busy with two jobs, kids and so forth. But then I realized it was time to get back in the game. What I realized even being "rusty" at it as so much had changed from the lingo to store stacking and so forth. Was that I could cut my grocery bill in half if not more. I could learn to shop again, I could learn to re-build a stock pile. I had even stopped doing that!
I was guilty, guilty of being too busy to save money! I think once that last child left the nest is where I went haywire. Some how my brain said sometihng like " oh now its just the two of you, no more worrying about anyone elses needs" ooppps bad move listing to that part. Time to shoe fly that bad fairy off my shoulder and listen to my good ones! So for the last year I set out to start again, take charge and never pay full price again for something - anything! I now shop with coupons and sales. I refuse to buy something with out a coupon or on sale or clearance! This might sound extreme, but "extreme" is what it takes to get on top of saving money . I discovered I do not like to pay full price, I do not like having no money left after paying the bills!
I started by the one trusted thing I knew how to do - "COUPON" ! I relearned the coupon game. Oh yes I get lots of weird looks when I enter the store with my coupon binder, get it all set up and start shopping. On one occasion this Young couple had actually "laughed" at me. I laughed back and said bet I spend less than that one item in your cart for my full cart ! I almost became a joke in the store with them and myself as we passed each other in isle after isle smiling.
I think they were following me around , seriously. So much so when I hit the check out lane they were right behind me and the husband said, its her idea she wants to see if you really do save money with coupons. I warned them, this could be a long wait in line for them. I had a full cart and every item has a coupon and I was in, no other than " Walmart ! ( say no more!). Finally reaching the end of the transaction, My bill came to $140 bucks before coupons, and after all the coupons I walked out paying $21 dollars ! I blew them away, but to have a little fun I stood there to wait to see what they had to pay. Their cart came to $120.00 with no coupons. I will never forget that man looking up at me and asking " do you have anycoupons to help"? I had to laugh and tell them in a kind way , yes I do but today you must learn your lesson and tomorrow you can come visit me at Nanas Deals and More and learn to save that money. !
So the next time someone laughs at you with your coupons and/or coupon binder- Laugh back you will get the last laugh as your wallet is not drained !
STOCKPILE- Over this last year I have also begun to "stock-pile" getting ahead to stock up those items I use on a daily basis, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning items, laundry, soap, dish soap, tooth paste, razors, meds etc etc. I buy my breads from the hostess bread store , look to see if there is one in your area! You can score loafs of bread for as little as 4/$ and snack cakes for the kids so cheap. I freeze mine in the chest freezer ! And only go once a month to the bread store. If i can score items like pasta, sauces, frozen veggies etc for cheap to free with coupons. I buy all I can and stock pile those items. Items rotate on sale so I make sure I get enough to last until I can replenish the coupons and wait for the sale again.
I watch what coupons are coming out in the flyer's with whats on sale. Those weeks I may get more papers for more inserts. For example when the $3/1 Gain came out . Yes I did get 15 Sunday Paper Inserts. Those inserts cost me $12 but I was able to stock pile 15 Packages of Gain for FREE saving me $45 bucks !! Just for that ONE coupon !
FREEBIES - Yes I sign up for them all, I have little baskets in my stock pile shelf of toothpaste, little sample meds, this and that. They also make great stocking stuffer for the kids and grand kids. Last year I did not buy one stocking stuffer! and with six kids, spouses, and grand babies thats ALOT of stockings to fill. That alone used to cost me minim of $150-200 just to stuff Christmas stockings. Last year my cost was $ZERO !
BUY USED - I hardly buy NEW - in that I mean why should I ? A new stove can cost upwards of $500 and more ! Check your local used appliance stores, garage sales, thrift stores. You can save allot of money that way.I not only do this for household items, but for clothing as well! Learn to season shop , for example Walmart had a huge clearance sale last week all over and I was ble to pick up tops and Capri's pants for $2 each and Sandal's for $2 each. Because I caught that sale, I was able
to get my summer clothes and sandals all for a total of $30 bucks, if I had bought when not on sale all of that stuff would have cost me $370.00 !
EATING OUT - Do you realize how much money you can save by cutting this out? I am not saying to not go out and eat and have those treats. I am just saying if you are eating out or picking up take out alot, you are spending alot of money. Spend a month and each time you eat out or pick up take out or order delivery. Keep track of what you spend for a week or two. Cooking and packing lunches combining that with coupon shopping you can save yourselves a huge amount of money! If you stop and purchase a morning coffee each morning on your way to work at $1.25x5 Days x 20 Days = That's $25 a month - Brew your own, and take it with you. Oh by the way $25 bucks a month might not seem like much, but over a year its $300.00 . That's enough saved for a set of New Tires just buy giving up buying morning coffee vs brewing at home ! Work Lunches - consider packing your lunch , the average cost of lunch out is $6 x5 days x 1 year = $1,560.00 a Year just for Lunch for 1 person!!! That's a trip to Hawaii or some where you have wanted to go, just for packing lunches for one person for a year vs eating lunch out every day! Hey don't forget each week to pack that $30 bucks saved into a special savings account and have a fun vacation and send me a postcard will ya!!
Now take shopping with coupons, stock piling, buying used and watching each and every penny you spend . It adds up fast !!! This past Christmas I had the biggest challenge of all, because that is my time of the year. When I spoil all of my children and grand babies and I want that full tree with lots of gifts for everyone. But this year it was hard knowing we just could not do it.
I sat down and really had to talk to myself and cut way back ! Three gifts per person, yikes would my children all hate me? Now mind you they are grown with children of their own and this still went through my mind ! My children actually liked it !!!! Who would have thought? All that worry and stress, and all those years of foolish spending. One thing that sticks in my mind is the only wrapping paper I purchased was from the $10 off $10 Hallmark Coupons I had 2 of them and that was how I got my wrapping paper all FREE this past year! So I am already working towards this upcoming holiday season. If I find something on clearance I will grab it and put it away and mark that 1 of three gifts for that person off the list! I hope this year by September that I will be done with Christmas Shopping!
Yard Sales - Once a year in our town there is a city wide yard sale. Last year I got ride of alot of junk, and this year I am doing the same. After you have all these kids move out, they leave stuff behind. This goes for kids you have at home. All those things they do not use or play with. You get to declutte the house and put a little jingle cash into your savings ! I am hoping this year the spare bedroom upstairs finally becomes that, a bedroom vs a storage room as it is right now! And the mulla I earn will go towards a long awaited road trip I have been wanting to take. I should call it a frugal road trip, cooler and all !!!
My best advice is to start small, sit down and write yourself a list of all the things you spend money on that you really do not need to. Or how you are spending your money, and what you do not need to spend money on. Start your plan of battle to savings, everything takes the first step to do but doing nothing at all does not change things either. I still like to have fun and splurge just like anyone else, but now when I splurge at least I can do it in moderation and use a coupon too !!!
Nana's Deals is sharing the savings that can make a difference to others. It is my personal goal to share the lessons I have learned. Teach the methods I have tried, and proven. Let's use my experience to help you, and others, to achieve the happiness of being a frugal shopper. Join up, and learn what I have come to enjoy !
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