I am not the world’s most traditionally frugal shopper. I don’t often clip coupons, and I don’t get bent out of shape if that can of soup costs 35 cents less somewhere else. I’d rather save the gas and stay where I’m at. However, I do employ some simple strategies for frugal shopping that do save me a reasonable amount of money and time. (Saving time can be just as important — in my book — as saving money.) Here are 4 strategies that can help you save money while you are shopping:
- Make a list : We recently started doing this, and it has worked wonders. When we discover that we need something, we write it down on a list we keep in a convenient place. If it’s not on the list, we don’t buy it. That simple.
- Organize your trip : Just before we leave (while we’re eating breakfast or some such), we look over the list and organize our shopping trip. We figure out what we will get at different stores, and decide on our route. If we do happen to have coupons, we match them with the items we are getting. This gives us a purposes and encourages to avoid making detours.
- Look for savings on the big stuff : If we are going to do price comparisons, the item better cost more than $30. And, usually, my husband will go online to check out deals (because he actually enjoys that sort of thing). We compare prices on the Web sites, and my husband calls to make sure the item is in stock. If we can get it much cheaper online (don’t forget to include shipping as part of the cost!), we do that instead.
- Wait : Often, we will decide what we are willing to pay for an item we think would be nice to have, but don’t necessarily need immediately. We wait until the item is on sale for a price we like. We did this recently with a griddle. We were tired of cooking pancakes in a pan on the stove; they came out uneven and we couldn’t do more than three at a time. But we didn’t want to spend more than $20 on a griddle. We looked around on occasion, and waited. Finally, we saw the griddle we wanted on sale for $19.99 at Kohl’s. All that was left was the display model, so we said we’d take it for an extra 15% off. This method of waiting works well with buying non-perishable food items and household cleaners in bulk . Just wait and buy when they are on sale.