The husband is always telling me I have caviar taste on a welfare paycheck. I dont really care for caviar and I dont think the military's paycheck is welfare but you get the jist. I have expensive taste and never enough money. Always been like that, so therefore I have had to learn how to save money.
I am by far no expert in Savings 101. I have friends feeding families of 4 for under $300 a month. Some stockpiling with only $5 out of pocket each time. Yeahh not me..lol. I get all confused with coupons, end up buying stuff I dont need and its just a mess. I prefer to do simple things that has been able to help me and not much of a hassle.
Also the fact I am not picky helps a ton. Let me explain that..in American, a lot of people impulse buy. Things here are too easy to afford. The difference from back home is say you want to buy a computer . That computer today cost $2k. You start saving. By the time you are done saving for that, that computer will cost close to $3k because of wonderful inflation. Here by the time you are done saving that computer will cost less. If you are lucky, you can find a wonderful sale and only pay half. That is amazing, but it makes a lot of people impulse buy and just buy things they dont need. Therefore because I am not that picky, I can go into a thrift store and walk out with an $80 pair of jeans that was only used once for $5. I have no problems with it. As long as it looks good, have no rips, no holes and its not lingerie or anything else too personal, I am game. I dont follow that "one mans trash is anothers treasure". I dont like anything trashy. I want nice pretty things for a good price. Hence the caviar connotation :)
So asides from checking thrift stores, garage sales, goodwill, I sign up for every store. I am already online anyways, so might as well. I always get an email when stores are having a sale and coupons.
CVS is a great place to save money. You can search coupons online, print them off and take to CVS. On top of them always having a buy 1 get 1 free all the time, they have bucks and etc wich can save you even more.
Food lion is the same. I have searched around the comissary and other grocery stores in the area. But Food Lion's price is always better. I signed up for the free MVP card (which most grocery stores have) and I always get discounts on stuff I normally buy. Every single receipt is always at least $5 less than the original price. Just for having the free MVP card they gave me. Also their buy one get 1 sales rock. Ice cream, chicken, veggies, soups and so forth. Stuff that we use everyday. Food Lion also put their coupons right there, so as you grab the product you grab the coupon. Same with CVS.
I am also not brand lover. If store brand black beans are on sale, I will buy those. Very few things like mayo, ranch, and cheese, which tastes better the name brand and I have to stick to them because I want to save money but not comprimise good taste. Everything else is game. Also if you open your horizons, you will realize something the store brand tastes better than the name brand (ex: Saltines and Peanut butter. I love Food lions brand better).
BE willing to bend is another tip I learned. Most stores will put the popular expensive stuff within eye level or higher. If you bend down, you will find so many sales its isane. The difference in price can be as much as a $1 or more.
Also the way things are packaged affects price. I am now buying spaghetti sauce in a can instead of in a glass jar. The glass jar is $1.90 more expensive than the can, the glass jar has less than the can and the taste is not even that much better. The cans are very cheaper.
Buying something that you use often (toilet paper) is better to buy a bigger package. Yeahh the smaller package might be cheaper but you will end up paying more because of packaging.
Planning meals has helped us save a ton. We dont eat out as often anymore because of meal planning. We buy whats necessary and therefore spend less. We also have lost some weight because us cooking, we know whats going in the food.
We also eat much better than before. I love allrecipes.com I have found so many new recipes from there and have really opened our taste buds. Stuff like zuchinni which we never liked before, are now part of our meals thanks to a delicious zuchinni casserole I found it.
Eating one vegetarian meal a week helps save a ton. Heck you wont even miss the meat that much.
For veggies, if you eat a ton, buy fresh, for us even though we eat a lot, because we only shop once a month, it goes bad if I buy the quantity I need to last us for the week, so therefore I buy a lot of frozen and cans. Do check the ingredients to make sure there is not a lot of preservatives.
That brings me to another point : Shop less often. I have friends that spend a ton but when I start talking to them about their shopping habits, they are at the grocery store every 3 days. Are you kidding me?? You wont spend less that way, you will only be tempted and spend more. So try stretching out the days you go shopping.
And last but not least, compromise. You want to have that starbucks everyday, go for it. Saying you shouldnt will only make you crave more. But realize that maybe you cant afford that starbucks everyday, plus getting a mani/pedi every two weeks, eating ribeye once a week, eating out at least once a week and getting your hair colored once a month on top of washing your car.
KWIM?? So compromise. Is the starbucks important to you?? Then wash your own car, or change that mani/pedi appointment to every 3 wks, go a week without eating steak, order a kids meal or share one meal while going out. You dont need everything you have but can have everything you want. Just learn to balance.
I hope this rambling will help you save a couple pennies and lead a more fufilling life =)