Saving money is more important than ever to a lot of people these days. It’s impossible to never go shopping, as we all need to buy things. But shopping doesn’t have to end up in a credit card disaster if you learn how to become a money-saving super shopper. It isn’t as difficult as you may think, but it will take dedication on your part. Developing a new habit or breaking bad ones normally takes about 12 weeks.
When you look at the prices of food in the grocery store, it may seem that prepackaged foods are cheaper. That isn’t the case, though. You’re normally looking at a single serving or one meal for the family when you buy foods that come already cooked, packaged and ready to heat. They fool you because you don’t normally stop and think about how much cheaper it would be in the long run to buy the ingredients and make it yourself… which almost always leaves you with leftover ingredients that can then be used to create something else another day. The sad truth is that many people fall into this trap costing them more money, not to mention how much healthier meals are if you prepare them yourself.
Buying Groceries in Bulk?
One tip almost always offered up for saving money is to buy in bulk. Costco and Sam’s Club are great places to do this, but they do require a membership. You can avoid that fee sometimes by going with a friend or family member, though. When you’re considering buying in bulk, consider the shelf life of the item along with how much you actually use in your home. 10 packages of hot dogs may be a great deal if you have little kids who eat ‘em up as snacks during the day. But 10 bottles of mayonnaise? Sure, they will stay good for quite a while but do you think you’re going to use 10 bottles of mayo that quick?
Don’t buy perishable items in bulk, unless you’re feeding a large family or you’re hosting a party or something. Perishable items will easily go bad before you’re able to use it all. Meats are often an exception if you have the freezer room for it, though.
Smart Seasonal Shopping
Every season comes with its own great buys. At the end of the holiday season, stock up on those 90% off Christmas stockings and ornaments. This works amazingly well for clothes shopping too. Most of the time we start looking for shorts during the spring and early summer. We start looking for sweaters and jeans in the fall. To be a really savvy money-saving shopper you should do just the opposite. At the end of summer, stores are trying to clear out their summer clothes for any kind of profit they can get to make room for warmer clothes. This is the perfect time to get amazing discounts on summer clothes for next year. During the spring, it’s just vice versa.
Don’t shy away from thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets. You can usually find a lot of great things from places that sell second-hand stuff. Just because it’s second-hand doesn’t mean it’s in bad shape or out of style. Venture into a few and you’ll be surprised at what you can find and the crazy amount of money you’ll save compared to retail and department stores.
Online shopping can be a great way to save money. First of all, many online stores don’t have the overhead costs that traditional stores do, so they can pass all those savings on to you. Secondly, you save time and you save on gas since you don’t have to go running from store to store. You may think that shipping fees and such will counteract that, but you’d be surprised at the number of free shipping offers you’ll find. If you don’t feel comfortable shopping online, you can at least use the internet to do some comparison shopping to find which store near you has the best price.
Grandma’s Way of Cleaning
Today there are so many cleaning solutions and chemicals available that were never heard of when our grandparents were cleaning house. Sure, there are some great solutions for specific problems like crayon markings on the wall or grass stains in your son’s white t-shirt. But for the most part and for general cleaning purposes there’s usually no need for overpriced, name brand cleaners. You can save money by cleaning like grandma did. Keeping ammonia, boric acid and vinegar in the house can take care of many messy situation and they’re much cheaper than the leading name brand cleaner.
Mixing one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle can be used for cleaning pretty much any surface in your home (just make sure you mix it evenly and don’t use it on marble). It also deodorizes and disinfects. No, your home won’t smell like vinegar. The strong smell of vinegar will dissipate, leaving behind a clean, crisp smelling air. For rings in the toilet, use straight vinegar. You can also add half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle during laundry to create natural fabric softener.
Heck, you can even go as far as to using baking soda and peroxide instead of expensive toothpaste.
You can use lemon juice to get rid of hard water deposits and soap scum. It’s also great to clean copper and brass fixtures.
All of this stuff can be bought for a fraction of what you’d spend if you were to buy name brand cleaners.