Everyone knows that nowadays, money is hard to come by, and it can be even harder to keep it.
Most people have fallen victim to the economic crisis, and many people have resorted to desperate measures to keep food on the table and bills paid. There are simple things that can be done to keep a little spending money in your pocket. You may be surprised at how much stuff you can get without spending a fortune to do it.
Being frugal has become second nature to me. My family is nowhere near rich, and I know struggling to get by like the back of my hand. I’ve learned how to shop the smart way from my mom, who has learned to get by even while working full time and taking care of her family. From a very young age, I have gone grocery shopping with my parents. I would watch as they diligently planned our meals for the week. I would see what they would buy, then I would ask why they didn’t always get the things we wanted. It was then that my mom told me the importance of survival and buying what you need.
Buy in bulk. If you notice a pattern in the things you buy, buy a lot of it. Things like toilet paper, cereal, and soap sometimes come in multi-packs. Most of the time, buying these in bulk is cheaper than buying multiples of these things individually. If you shop at grocery stores like WinCo Foods, then they have a whole section dedicated to bulk. Anything from flour, to granola, to dog food, to spices is available. Everything is priced per pound, and you can get as much or as little as you need.
For example, if you need to make cookies for a potluck, all of the dry ingredients are available in bulk. If you were to buy baking soda, and you only need a teaspoon or two, there’s no need to buy a box for a dollar if you really shouldn’t be going that far into your budget. You can probably get the amount you need for only five cents.
Shop in clearance sections. I love to do this when shopping for clothes. Because I’m plus size, it’s a bit tricky to find cheaper clothes that fit well. When it comes to fashion, items in the clearance section may be things that people didn’t necessarily find attractive, or they were from last season. If you look hard enough, you may get lucky. Some stores can offer items in their clearance up to 80%. I’ve discovered that clearance racks are fullest at the end of the season, because stores need to make room for more merchandise.
Take advantage of 2 for 1, and other sales. It’s always useful to read the local newspaper and or watch TV for ads on sales. One of the most popular sales I’ve seen is Payless Shoe Source’s BOGO sale (buy one, get one ½ off.) There have been times when I’ve gotten a pair of shoes from there, and got a pair of socks practically for free. Sales are always time sensitive, so when you have the money, there may not
be a sale going on. If you happen to be shopping when there aren’t any sales, see if some stores will do price matching with their competition.
Use coupons. This is a very “old school” method, but it still works. I’ve recently began using a local coupon book called Monster, and you can find it at grocery stores, restaurants, and shops around town. You will usually find discounts for local eateries, but there are also coupons for sun tanning, car repair, and more. You can also find coupons in the Sunday paper. Great to use while grocery shopping.
Sell crafts and goodies to friends and family. I like to make art and crochet. I have sold some art before at events, and I have sold scarves to some friends who wanted something custom made for them. Also during holidays, my mom and I like to make Cakepops and other sweets to sell. As a way to make a little extra money we would take orders for custom flavors. Of course it takes money to make money, but eventually we turned a profit. They are a lot of work, so we only make them if someone orders a batch. Think about what talents you have and think of ways to make money. If you collaborate with someone,
it will be a lot easier.