Making Every Dollar Count

In today’s changing economy, families have had to learn new ways and have had to utilize old methods for making every dollar count. Families who at one time lived without the need for penny pinching, are now living on extremely tight budgets. As the cost of living rises and the average salary decreases families have had to make the tough decisions on which living expenses they are forced to cut back on. Often the word “budget” makes us think of deprivation. However, Living on a budget no longer means having to go without the products we have grown to love. Using a few clever money- saving tips the only thing that will know you are on a budget is your bank account.

1.    Comparison Shopping– While it is very easy to say that you do not have time to sit and look at all the circulars from the all the different supermarkets… ask yourself, “Can you afford not to?” A product selling for full price at one store may be available at a discount at another.  The trick is to buy products on sale whenever possible.  It is easy to sign up online and have the circulars delivered to your email where you can review and create lists directly from the supermarket website.

2.    Sign up for supermarket reward club memberships– these membership clubs are designed to mimic the savings and discounts offered by large wholesale distributors and bulk suppliers on a smaller scale. The reward card membership entitles the consumer to extra member’s only discounts in addition to the stores regular weekly sales.  Having a membership to all the supermarkets in the area will ensure that neither time nor money is wasted in search of the best deals.  In addition, many of the reward club memberships offer cash back incentives and even give away free turkeys and other food items during the holiday season with minimum purchases.  Be sure to opt in to receiving advance sales, discounts and coupons both by regular postal mail and through electronic email.

3.    Coupons– Many consumers see coupons as an unnecessary hassle and perhaps even a waste of time. This disregard for the usefulness of coupons derives from the mentality that the amount being saved is too small to make a significant difference to their finances. However looking at the broader picture, we will see the very real need to incorporate coupons into every budget. On average the weekend paper comes with approximately $100- $120 in coupon savings. While coupon values vary, most are for $0.50- $1.00. If the average consumer only uses about half the coupons they receive in the weekend paper, those dollars will quickly add up. Saving just $75 a month in coupons will end up totaling $900 a year. Could your family use an extra $900 a year? Another trick to using coupons is looking for the supermarkets that offer double and triple coupon days. These specially designated sale dates double and even triple the face value of coupons under $0.99. That means that an original saving of an individual coupon worth say $0.75, will be worth $1.50 or even $2.25. Theoretically, the monthly saving of $75 can jump to $150 and the yearly savings of $900 doubles to $1,800 or even triples to $2,700. In dollars and cents, coupons can play an important part in smart financial habits.  When possible buy multiple papers in order to maximize on coupon savings. Also, when possible use coupons at supermarkets where the item is already on sale for an even bigger discount.

4.    Register online for your favorite products– look around your home and make a list of all the products you purchase on a regular basis. Go online and register for each products website. The benefit of doing this one simple step will enable the company to send you coupons and special offers for your favorite products.  This is also a great way to get free samples of new products.

5.    Stock up– When there is a sale or a great coupon for a product you use frequently- STOCK UP! Things like soap, toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, canned goods and other non-perishables are all items that can be safely stored for extended periods.

Learning to live on a budget does not mean the end of all the things you have come to love. A budget just means that purchases have to be planned and thought out carefully.  Using these few simple tools you can cutting back- no longer means cutting out!

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