Tag Archives: coupons

Look Beyond Circulars for Coupons

Everyone likes to save money, and coupons are a great idea in practice. Except … how many coupons would you like to try and stash in your pocket or purse at any given time? And how much time would you like to devote to finding coupons that actually are for items you’ll buy? There are entire books devoted to this topic. Trust me. I’ve done freelance book reviews on them; it’s a rather intricate process.

I use paper coupons from time to time for groceries, but what about some discounts for items you may purchase online, like clothes, electronics, etc.?

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Daily Dimes 10/23/09

Thanksgiving is a special time of year when families come together, sit down, and enjoy a large meal while discussing what they’re thankful for over the past year. Or complain about how awful their professional football teams are performing. I like hemming and hawing over how soul-crushing my Dallas Cowboys can be.

While I’ve had several posts about budgeting for holiday gift season, which officially kicks off the day after Turkey Day, if you’re actually hosting Thanksgiving dinner you may have to budget more for food than you normally do.
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Smarter Grocery Shopping on Aisle 5

Your trip to the grocery store once a week, two weeks, or whenever all you have left is moldy bread and a container of mustard, can end up being one of two experiences: quick and painless, or a time and money suck. It’s as simple as that.

This post won’t be about clipping coupons or going to five separate grocery stores just to get the sales on every single item for which you’re looking. Sure, coupons are great. If you happen to come across them, I suggest you look and see if there are any you can use. A couple of places online you can look for coupons that are printable are SmartSource.com and RedPlum.com.

If you also feel compelled to visit multiple supermarkets, by all means go ahead. I don’t have a car, so I just go to my local ShopRite and get all of my food from there. Luckily, it is not overpriced and I can get everything I need. If you do have a car, weigh the time spent and extra gas used versus the actual savings you’ll get from visiting multiple stores. It wouldn’t be worth it for me, but the choice is ultimately yours.

Stop dreading going to the grocery store today — follow these five easy steps, and you’ll have a constantly stocked kitchen, more money in your wallet, and time on your hands. Common sense? Sure, but if it wasn’t a problem, you wouldn’t be staring at a cupboard with old Cheerios and no milk, would you?

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Daily Dimes 9/23/09

Everyone check your underwear drawers.

No, seriously. Do it.

In an article from the Wall Street Journal, the issue of savings is discussed. While more Americans are saving in today’s recession than they have in recent memory (some statistics found the savings rate pre-collapse was less than 0 percent), the new problem is how that money is being used after it is socked away for savings. In an attempt to give it a nice visual, the writer urges readers to look at savings like drawers in a dresser.

Particularly for those starting out, she suggests having an “underwear” drawer for an emergency fund and any high-interest debt (like from credit cards) that should be paid off. Once that is well stocked, move onto the retirement drawer where you should be contributing to an employer’s 401(k) plan or your own form of an IRA. Then, the “jeans” drawer, for things that’ll make you look good — a car, house, vacation, whatever it is that you want to strive toward.

I love this idea — while you shouldn’t literally save your money in drawers (or under mattresses, in an attic, an old pair of boots, or your nightstand), it is this type of tiered plan that will put you on the road to personal finance sanity in no time. To take the writer’s analogy further, these are the four drawers you I believe you should stuff with your savings (in order):

  • underwear and sock drawer (emergency fund);
  • winter sweater drawer (retirement … you know, nice, safe clothes that will keep you warm and comfortable for the duration);
  • accessories drawer (for a car, house … the items that will give you options and make you look good); and
  • date night drawer (for vacation, and those other events in life that you need a decent amount of cash in order to have a good time).

When you do dig into your accessories drawer, don’t callously throw away any loose change you may have stuffed into your pocket after picking up a pack of gum. Collecting coins to cash in later is one of the tips set forth in this post, among others, including using coupons, buying in bulk, and shopping when there are sales. The idea here is to begin good habits that will serve you well as you get older, get more established, and make more money. (Believe me, you will make more money one day, even if that day looks as far away as the Pittsburgh Pirates winning a world series.)

Come back here this upcoming Sunday for my tips to a successful — and cost-effective — grocery shopping excursion in my tip(s) of the week.

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