Let's face it. Money is getting tight for all of us. As the cost of gas rises so do the prices at the grocery store. Most of us know that we can save money by shopping sale ads and using coupons but the overwhelming majority of us just don't. Why? It takes a lot of time. Many of us are inspired to run out and start cutting coupons when we see one of these “coupon queens" on TV, but then we realize how much time and effort it takes to actually find, clip, sort and shop with those coupons. Being a coupon queen is a full time job. If you average out the amount of time spent putting together all those deals to get a free basket of groceries, it does not work out well. The majority of Americans are not about to take 40 hours a week to accumulate a shopping cart full of condiments and toothpaste, the common free things purchased by coupon queens. So, what can you do to save some money in these hard economic times without making it your life's work? Here are some simple tips that are both cost and time effective:
- Google can be your best money saving tool. Before you buy the next big item, google the store you want to shop at with the words ‘printable coupon’ next to it. You would be surprised at how many major chains put printable coupons on the web. It is worth the ink to save 10-20% on any purchase. Another way to find printable store coupons is to subscribe to a free coupon discussion forum.
- Since it is summer, take a stroll through your local farmers market. Buying at the farmers market not only saves you money but it stimulates your local economy, supports local growers, and is almost always healthier. Get to know your local farmers market sellers and you will be amazed at how well they treat you and your dollar. Just put your zip code into The Local Harvest Website and a list of markets will be generated for you.
- Take advantage of a money saving technique called “stacking". This refers to stacking deals to save the most amount of money. In my area the grocery chain Safeway sells gas as well as food. For every $100 I spend, I get a 10 cent per gallon discount on gas. If I spend $400 that month, I would get 40 cents off every gallon. For every prescription filled at Safeway, another $.10 discount is earned. Save these discounts until your tank is near empty and you can save an easy $25 a month on gas.
- Use a coupon for your prescriptions. This is one area of money saving where it pays to look for a coupon. Stores offer $10-$30 gift cards for every new and transferred prescription you fill. Of course, there are certain limitations but by reading the fine print and taking a few minutes to clip this one type of coupon, you can easily walk out the door with a $30 gift card to spend anyway you like. I often watch the deal sites for new prescription coupon alerts. These coupons are often found in your Sunday newspaper sales ad or ask the pharmacist if they have any extra the next time you are in. They might surprise you.
- Check the price of gas before you fill up. Prices can vary widely from corner to corner. It takes just a minute to type your zip into Gas Buddy and find the lowest prices in your area.
Follow these simple and fast steps and you can reduce your monthly spending by over $100 a month. I think we can all some extra spending money these days.
The author recommends visiting The Coupon Cupboard for more money saving ideas.