So we are on #3. Prior to this, I had you all make a long-term goal and a budget. As you were making that budget I asked you to save your receipts for a month. And here’s a second reason why I asked you to do that. Throughout the course of the month, you’ll find that there are several items that you frequently buy. Typically you’ll find the cycle of most the items that you buy within a 3 month period. Everything beyond that usually is just a duplicate with a random new thing that is often just something seasonal.
And now we dig deeper into our shopping habits and needs. Are you ready? Roll up your sleeves and let’s take a deeper look.
As you are highlighting those receipts, I want you to have a sheet of paper where you can tally the products you buy. If you want to get completely detailed, you can do them all. But I’m afraid that doing that might overwhelm most of you. So instead, here’s what I’m going to have you make a list of:
1) Items that are higher-priced.
2) Items that it appears you use quite frequently
I know. You feel like you are back in school and groaning over homework. But you see, our shopping habits usually stay the same over time so just remind yourself this is a one-time deal. Or maybe an annual thing if you feel over-ambitious.
As they say, there’s a method behind the madness. I’m not just having you do this to stress your day even more but because I’m going to help you save some money. Really.
When it comes to using coupons, it doesn’t take much for people to get overwhelmed. Some may take off at a gazelle’s speed when they first start off but then it tends to taper off. People get burnt out. The couponing tends to stop. So we are going to give you a new outlook. Instead of snipping coupons for everything under the sun, you are going to focus on saving money on those 2 things I listed – those higher priced items and the most frequently used. Start with those.
These are your top priority when it comes to finding a sale price, finding a hot coupon and looking for deals. And here are a few ways you can do it:
1) Find out the manufacturer of those products. Follow them via social media (Twitter, Facebook) and via email newsletter. You may want to create a separate email address for those sign-ups so your personal inbox doesn’t become a nightmare to control. You will soon see coupons for those products, special offers, etc. Keep your eyes open for coupons in your Sunday paper and printable coupons for those items, too.
2) Google those products when you are getting low on them. Example: You use Head and Shoulders shampoo. Do a Google search something like, “Head and Shoulders Deal.” Now seek out the most recently posted deal. You may stumble onto a hot deal you didn’t know existed—and maybe even a coupon to go with it. Win-win.
3) When you find a hot deal on those products, sensibly stockpile. I’m not talking a garage full of shampoo, folks. I’m talking a 3-6 month supply. A few bottles to hold you over until the next sale. Typically you’ll see a deal on products every 3-6 months.
Over time, you are going to start to see a dent on how much you spend on groceries/household items. One of the quickest ways to burn through your grocery/household budget is to be caught off guard and have to pay full-price for things. Paying $2 for shampoo sure beats $6.
The best places to start focusing on savings are personal care, dental and any canned/processed foods you buy. I beg you not to pay $4 for a box of cereal. Please don’t do it! You can usually get them for $1 – $2 with minimal work. And if you tell me that you pay full-price for toothpaste, I might physically cry. LOL. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash—all those things can easily be bought for Free – $1. No lie. We’ll get to the point of how to do that in this series. Just hang in there with me.
So I’ll keep working on finding you all deals and coupons but you need to do your part in knowing the products that you need to save the most money on. Together, we’ll get you some BIG savings.
1) Make a list of the most used and highest priced items that you frequently buy.
2) Find the manufacturers of those items and follow them. Keep your eyes open for deals and coupons.
3) Stockpile those items sensibly. Typically no more than a 3 month supply–6 months for some items that rarely go on sale. Over time you’ll learn which ones those are.
It seems like a lot of work but knowledge is savings. You owe it to yourself to make the most of the money that you work so very, very hard for.
How Does This Save Me Money?
1) As you learn the most used/highest priced items that you buy, over time you’ll grab them at a hot price and never pay full-price for them again.
2) You’ll learn how to sensibly stockpile those items so you’ll have them on hand when you need them. That will free up your budget for other things those months. Maybe you can spend more on paying off your debt because you aren’t paying $6 a bottle for shampoo.
3) Couponing will become sooo much easier for you and you’ll stick with it. And we all know using coupons saves money!
4) By following the manufacturers and blogs looking for those items, you’ll find deals you may never have know existed–more savings!