Building That Savings Nest Egg – Part 2 – Smart Shopping

In part one of this series, I offered a few basic tips that we can all follow to save a few bucks on a daily basis. Now let’s take a look at how we can stretch those dollars at the grocery store.

1. Always make a shopping list.

The weekly trip to your local food market can be a very costly one if you don’t know exactly what you are going in there for. All you know is that you need to stock up on food for you and your family. You walk up and down each and every isle, scanning the shelves, and throwing everything that looks good to you in the cart. When the cashier totals your bill, your heart may skip a few beats, and you wonder, “What in the World did I buy”. When you keep a shopping list, you may likely cut that bill in half. Keep your list in one part of your house, and when you think of something you need, write it down. Keeping a shopping list will not only help you get through the store faster, but you will also be less tempted to buy groceries that you will probably never consume.

2. Purchase generic or store brands.

These are found in every supermarket you walk into. Many people believe they are sacrificing quality when buying the generic or store brand products. Most likely, that is NOT the case. A big-name brand of canned vegetable, for example, may cost you at least $.89. However, a store brand of the same veggie, may only be $.49. Just remember that a green bean is a green been, no matter what the name is on the outside of the can.

3. Never shop while you are hungry.

How much needs to be said about this one? If you walk into the store with an empty stomach, you will end up purchasing more food than you wanted to. Have a snack before you shop.

4. Freeze foods.

Stores are always offering specials in most departments. I usually stretch my shopping dollars by freezing meats, fruits and vegetables. If you find that a bag of carrots is on sale, it’s a good idea to purchase a couple of bags of them. That second bag can be stored in the freezer and can be cooked and consumed many months later. The same can be said for most garden products such as potatoes, grapes, green beans, strawberries, and much more.

7 Steps to Sweet Success: Smart Shopping Strategies

1. Sunday Newspaper-Purchase at least 2 newspapers on Sunday. This will give you 2 like coupons if there is a Buy One Get One Free Sale on items at your store. Remember, most stores do let you use a coupon on the FREE item.

2. System of Organization-Find the best system of coupon organization that works best for you. Once you start collecting coupons on a weekly basis, you will see just how many coupons that you can accumulate. Good coupon organization is key to being a successful couponer!

3. Set a goal for yourself. Start small. Each week, plan on saving just a few more dollars than you did the last week. Before you know it, you will be saving hundreds of dollars! You will be amazed at how quickly the savings will add up.

4. Stack coupons to maximize your savings. Many stores such as Target and Publix have their own store coupons that you can stack with a manufacturer’s coupon to maximize your savings even more! The general rule of thumb for stacking is one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon per item purchased. Stacking coupons is probably one of the easiest ways to start building yourself a nice stockpile of items as you will be able to get items for free or for very inexpensive.

5. Start shopping the sales. Scour the weekly ads and check out sneak peeks to your favorite stores. Did you know that many stores will post the next week’s ad as much as a week in advance? This allows you to prepare in advance and to get your coupons and shopping list together so that you have a plan of action.

6. Stockpile. Once you start couponing and searching for bargains, you will quickly see how easy it is to get items for free and very inexpensive. If your favorite brand of pasta is on sale and you are able to get it for free or very inexpensive with coupons, purchase as many boxes as possible and add them to your stockpile. A great stockpile is made when you gradually add sale items each week that are free or very inexpensive. Stockpiling also allows you to have items on hand for emergency situations such as job loss, hurricanes, etc…

7. Share. Once you start adding items to your stockpile on a weekly basis, you will quickly realize that not only do you have enough items for you and your family to last for several months, but you will also be able to donate items to those in need and to share those items with your family and friends. If your family does not use pet food but you can get it for free, think about donating it to a pet shelter in your area, they would greatly appreciate your freebies!

Where You Can Find Cheap Wedding Dresses For Under $100

Cheap Wedding Dresses for $100 aren’t as hard to find as you might think. So, get ready to start hunting for that amazing bargain wedding dress! It’s out there waiting for you, you just have to find it! Here are five places that you can start looking:

1. Bridal Store Sales: Most bridal stores sell wedding gowns for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but they have sales and sometimes those gowns go for a lot less. And, they usually have at least a couple of dresses that are around the $100 mark. For example, David’s Bridal has at least a few dresses year round that are sold for just about $100.

2. Department Stores: Think outside the box and go shopping at the mall and hit department stores (and all the regular stores in between). They may not have traditional wedding dresses, but they have a lot of elegant gowns and some of them will be the traditional white dress. Take a look and keep your eyes open for sales just after holidays, seasons change, prom, and homecoming. Also hit their websites to see if they have any other selection.

3. Thrift Stores: Just like any other piece of clothing, wedding gowns also end up getting donated. So, go check out some thrift stores or used clothing shops!

4. Online Bridal Stores: These are tricky. Sometimes you can get a great gown for a really great price, but the downside is, you won’t be able to try it on before you buy it. Still, some people have great success getting their dress this way.

5. Etsy or eBay: Homemade or used cheap wedding dresses are right at your fingertips! People are selling them all over the internet! Etsy and eBay are just two well known marketplaces that sell all sort of items, but they also sell wedding dresses. Do a search and see what you find!

Happy wedding dress hunting!

Save Cash By Mastering Smart Shopping Skills

Did you know that if you master some smart shopping skills, you can actually save cash? Some people think that there’s really nothing much you can get from practicing a little restraint in the groceries or the mall, but actually, there’s a lot! If you wish to learn about these smart shopping tips, read on and learn about them.

The very first thing you have to do is plan your shopping and keep away from impulsive buying. You can do this by first listing everything you need to buy. Again, list the things you NEED to buy, not want. While already in the store and you feel the urge to buy something not on the list, look somewhere else. Remind yourself that you are saving up and buying that item is not going to help you achieve the goal.

You should also grab the opportunity to buy items during clearance, or sale price, even if you still have some left at home but know would eventually need them. Again, only buy those which you’d eventually need. Don’t buy any thing just because it’s on sale and it’s cheap. If you don’t and won’t need it, don’t buy it. Having said this, you should know the sales cycle in your area.

You should also prefer to buy in larger stores. This is because they offer lower prices than smaller ones due to the volume discounts. Another way you can cut back on shopping expenses is by checking out thrift stores, salvage stores, warehouse clubs, garage sales, and consignment shops. Get rid of the mentality that buying from these places is unfashionable and a bit shameful. With the economy as it is today, no one should forego any opportunity to save up.

When you are in a store, it is best to first check the entire place before buying what’s on your list. This is because you may come across some specials and alternatives which will cost less than you originally expected. If you are a frequent shopper of the store, get to know the employees so you can comfortably ask them questions about prices, stocks, and the like.

Do not go shopping when you are frustrated, disappointed, or simply having a bad day. Your moods can affect your decision and might push you to buy more than necessary. You may have a hard time eliminating the I-deserve-this mentality because you may feel like you deserve some pampering. Although it can’t be denied that shopping can relieve your stress, the things you bought when you weren’t yourself could cause further stress in the future. How could you return an item just because you realized you didn’t need it?

Finally, when the cashier rings up your items, watch him or her. It’s not because he or she’s going to intentionally make a mistake but making a mistake is a possibility. Also, you should check your receipt. When all’s good, then you can leave. You wouldn’t want to get home and come running back to the store because something was wrong, would you?