When it comes to saving, many think that it is a time consuming task, and that the savings doesn’t out-weigh the time spent. However, this is not the case at all. Being budget-savvy does not mean you need loads of time. With some smart shopping techniques, plus some help from us, you can achieve what may seem like the impossible task of having a working budget.
Having a budget gives direction to the in-flow of money of each month. Be sure to include groceries in your budget. Many at times leave them to an as-needed basis, but such a practice has the tendency to inflate the amount that it truly takes to feed the family. To get an accurate feel for your family's budget you can try tracking spending on food in a month or for better results over a couple of months. Once you have a ballpark figure try working within that range. You may find a lot of room to shrink unneeded expenditures out of your habits.
Where Not To Shop
Avoiding certain sections of your grocery store can really help you to improve your budget without even sacrificing the things you often like to buy.
The Cheese - Do not get cheese from the deli area as this cheese is often way over priced. Instead get your cheese from the dairy section, that is where it is the cheapest.
Impulse Buys - Many times you will find impulse buys in the most convenient places like the middle or end of an aisle, and near the register. Even if you find a good deal, going to where the product is normally shelved will at the least give you more selection and sometimes even be less expensive. For example, your favorite brand of chips is on sale, but they only have one flavor on the end of the aisle. Take a trip down the chip aisle and you may find that the other flavors are on sale as well. Also don't get taken by the "goodies" at the checkout line. Often you can get them at a better deal in their respective locations in the store. Time is money, but how long does it really take to walk there and back? Plus the mark-up can often be quite impressive.
Related Products - Often stores place related products next to items that have a big need value. For example, putting cookie dough next to the milk, or salsa and tortillas next to the sour cream. But as usual the more conveniently placed an item is, the more likely it is to be more expensive. If you want to save money or even get free stuff using coupons the best route is to go where the items of multiple brands are located.
Combining Sales & Coupons
The best way to maximize your saving is to combine good coupons with even better sales. The best way to utilize this is to use an organizer for your coupons and when you come across an item you need that is on sale check your coupon file. Another good thing to do is this, before even heading to the store, check Save Creatively or the manufacture's website for coupons of items you plan on buying.
Look for clearance racks or carts. Most stores, even Wal-Mart, have some type of clearance area. Frequenting these areas can yield some rewarding buys. If you find some items that you also have a coupon for, you can walk out paying much less, even cents for the items. A lot of deals are just about being sharp about what you are already buying.
Next time you find yourself searching for a parking space you'll know your going in a little more prepared to save money!