I guess we're stuck with higher prices on everything! Let's just admit it's happening and stop whining about it. Now, are you ready to deal with it? What's your plan?
Even when prices weren't as high, I was a coupon clipper. I never clip coupons for items that I don't already purchase to avoid overspending on novelty items.
As I've posted before, I have a daily planner that has some zipper pockets in it and I keep all the coupons that I collect in it. I carry this planner in my car so whenever I go shopping I check to see if I have any coupons for that store. I have signed up for every discount card at every store I frequent that offers them. Some that really pay off are Staples, Office Max, Best Buy, Petco, Petsmart, Ukrops (grocery store) and Food Lion. For example, at Petco, for every 10th bag of dog food I buy, I get one free. My dogs go through a 40 pound bag of food every 2 1/2 weeks! I am one bag away from a free bag. I have to buy it anyway so why not?
Another good way to save is discount club shopping. I am a member at BJ's Wholesale club and I go twice a month. I get a coupon book in the mail every month which I faithfully go through and clip out the appropriate coupons. I buy pretty much the same things every time I go and don't deviate very much.
My kids get to pick out one item each (usually a sugary cereal, ice cream or pop tarts). They know that if they ask me for something ridiculously overpriced (like "Lunchables" or frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crusts -"Uncrustables"), I'm going to give them a quick economics lesson on how much money we would save if we bought the cheese, crackers and luncheon meat or peanut butter, jelly and bread ourselves and made our own! They also know I'm going to give them a quick lecture on fake food versus real food. :)
I always buy toilet paper and paper towels at the wholesale club, as well as milk, eggs, meat, juice and frozen foods. I usually save between $15 - $20 with coupons. I usually make only one or two trips a month to the regular grocery store for quick items here or there. If they have a decent sale on something, I'll stock up. A couple of weeks ago they had 2-liter sodas for $.89 and half of them had $.50 coupons on them so you know I got a bunch of those!
Those who know me will tell you that I hate grocery shopping and I hate running out of things! I try to get as much as I can in one trip so I don't have to go back for a while. Also, I always have my children with me when I grocery shop so I am usually exhausted by the whole thing.
Some other little things to do to save money:
- Take all loose pocket change and put it in a jar or piggy bank at the end of the day (who still spends cash though?), after a few months you could have enough to pay for a round of groceries.
- Shop at the local book exchange instead of Barnes and Noble. They will give you credit for your old books and you can pick out second hand books at a substantial discount. I have shopped there for many years and my credit always exceeds my purchases.
- Use the public library. Our public library is great and has many of the latest dvds and music cds to check out and of course there are tons of books! We love books around here.
- Instead of going out to the movies (so expensive!), join Netflix. We love Netflix and I never have to worry about late fees. It also saves on gas.
- If you or your spouse travel for work, make sure that they are a member of a hotel rewards club. Our favorite is Marriott. We collect Marriott Rewards points and usually have enough for several free nights every year which we try to use for a family trip.
- Think about energy efficiency. Every little bit counts right? We have those energy efficient light bulbs. It's been great not having to change a light bulb in over a year! Plus, there really is a cost savings in the power bill. If you don't want to take the plunge to change out all of your lightbulbs, remind everybody in the house to turn them off when they're not in use! That helps too!
If you're feeling blue about the economic times we currently find ourselves, gain inspiration from those who have come before us! Imagine what the pioneer days were like, or the time of the Great Depression. The folks who lived through those times would take one look at us fat cats and have a good long laugh! We have been through nothing compared to those who have forged the path before us. My advice? Tighten up the purse strings and do the best you can. We'll all be stronger in the end.