- NEVER go out of your way for a deal! With the price of gas today it just doesn’t pay to make an extra trip out to the store so plan your shopping in advance and hit the stores on your way to or from work or other appointments, dropping of your kids at school etc.
Helpful hint: Solicit your spouse in your savings plan and ask him/her to make one trip per week to a store that is on their way to work or a weekly appointment. Shopping just the sales at 2 or more stores each week and making use of coupons on those items with double your savings and help with building a stockpile on inexpensive items.
- Pack your lunch! No more eating out while you are at work. Pack a healthy meal at home and take it to work with you every day. If you must eat out then limit yourself to no more than once a week.
- Brew your coffee at home! As the old saying goes – A coffee a day keeps your savings at bay! Period! Enough said! Invest in a mug for the car if you are a commuter.
- Attend FREE community Events! Community events are a great way to support local businesses and mingle with your neighbors. Most are free or a nominal price and still provide a great day of family fun. Check your local paper for listings.
Helpful hint: Go onto the web site for your local State Parks and Recreation Department and request a brochure for local parks, maps and upcoming events.
- Purchase used items when possible! If it can be purchased used then commit to it. Check your local paper for classified listings, try Craig’s List and other local classified venues.
Helpful hint: Try looking up thrift stores in the yellow pages listing. You may also like to register for your local www.freecycle.org to list any unwanted items and post for items needed before making a purchase used or new – free is always better.
- Find the deals then plan your meals! Plan out your dinners each week before you go grocery shopping. This will help you stick to your list and you’ll easily be able to calculate costs per dinner to be sure your getting the maximum savings.
- Always keep drinks & snacks in the car! Kids (and adults) getting hungry while running errands and attending to appointments can be a big source of squandering money on fast food and convenience store trips. Make a plan to have “car” snacks and drinks in a special place that you can grab on your way out the door.
- Never leave home without your coupons! If you commit to this rule you’ll never be caught having to pick up something for dinner or going out to eat at full price.
Helpful hint: Always having your coupons with you will pay off BIG when you come across an unexpected clearance sale. Pairing up your coupons with clearance items will help you build up your stock pile. Keep a list of upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and other events in which you’ll need to purchase a gift.
- ALWAYS ask about deals & unadvertised store/restaurant special! Stores and restaurants frequently have new promotions – be sure to ask your server or hostess, or attendant when you patronize an establishment.
Helpful hint: Know where your local stores place items marked down for clearance and always check the clearance aisle/shelf.
- Compare & shop for monthly, semi-annual, & annual expenses every 6 months! Many families forget to shop for cable TV, satellite, internet service providers, home owners insurance, car insurance, long distance, cell phones etc. Check rates about every six months and ask about discounts for new patrons (ex: a discount for having your home owners and car insurance and life insurance with the same company)
- Sign up ALL family members for loyalty clubs, savings programs, birthday clubs, & newsletters! (This includes all of your children) You will need to have a separate e-mail for each family member.
Helpful hint: Be sure to start with your favorite local chain restaurants like Give Me More Stripes TGI Fridays, Baskin and Robbins, Denny’s Rewards program, Fudruckers etc. Make an e-mail account just for loyalty programs for each family member so you don’t have too many advertising newsletters and promotions coming to your personal e-mail account.
- Commit to e-mailing a company or manufacturer when a product does not meet your expectations and REQUEST A REPLACEMENT (ex: sprayer nozzles dribbles instead of spraying on your laundry stain removal spray, pour spout broke on your liquid laundry soap)
You can use the database to search for coupons. Just type in “cat food” or “toilet paper” and all of the coupons available will come up!