Monday, October 15, 2018

Shopping Strategies : Squirreling Away Today for Tomorrow


IN a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.   

  “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”   

  “I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”   

  “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

“IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS OF NECESSITY.”

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

We have been saving for 6 years for a house. The process is slow because we don't have high paying jobs. I know one thing when you are saving. All the little bits add up. Sometimes, it can be depressing. But after awhile you will see the progress. If you don't think you can save anything at the end of the month, here are my shopping strategies.  Even if you don't have these stores in your area, the take away idea is to buy in bulk when there is a good sale. Forecast future needs and buy when you can get it at the best prices. Here are some sales I stock up on.

1. Friends of the Library Book Sale for Used Books- If you are a reader, find out when your Friends of the Library book sale happens in your county. Ours happens once a year. All books are $1 a piece. I buy 90% of my books to read for the year at this event. It is worth investigating. You do not have to pay to be a member to go to the book sale. I actually left early from work to go. I lost $25 of pay and spent $13 on books that if I bought used on Amazon would have cost me $130. Take out the middle man and buy your books at the book sale in your town. Plus, you are helping to support your local library. Win, win.  I like to look for books as Christmas gifts.

2. Big Lots Friends and Family Sale- 20% off sales pop up about 4 times a year at Big Lots. I stock up on toilet paper, plastic wrap, foil, parchment paper, freezer bags, soap, tea, beans, deodorant, honey, white vinegar and tampons. Shower curtains, bath tub mats, pillows, batteries or even a mattress are also good things to replace during these sales.

I can honestly say the Big Lots rewards card is one of the reward cards that I think is worth signing up for. I also get a few random $5 off any $15 purchase coupons emailed to me a year. Between the 20% off sales and the coupons I easily save $80 a year. The best part is the discount is on whatever you want to buy.

3. Food Lion- Quarter Back sale- This sale is for my Southern friends. It happens usually twice a year- once in October and once in March. For every store brand item you buy, you get a quarter back. So you can get a $10 coupon on your next purchase if you buy 40 items. This is a great way to get a discount on stuff that NEVER goes on sale. Maple Syrup, tea, mustard, ketchup, bbq sauce, tomato paste, diced tomato, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, oatmeal, flour, canned pumpkin, pie filling (for dump cake), baking soda, and paper towels. I try to stock up for 6 months worth of canned goods, oatmeal, etc. The sale also lines up nicely with Thanksgiving and Lent food bank drives at my church. With the money back coupon, I can buy even more food for the poor.

4. Tax free weekend- Our state has a tax free weekend right before school starts. In South Carolina they wave the 6% tax on school supplies and clothing. We are not big clothes shoppers, but I always look around and see if we need anything. I try to go that Friday night of the weekend and look for shoes, socks, and underwear. I like to buy printer paper and ink cartridges during this weekend.

 5. Burkes/ Bealls Outlet-  15% off on Fridays. You will need to sign up for a rewards card. I don't go often but I try to go the Friday of the Tax Free weekend. The combo of the 15% off discount with the tax free (6% off) makes for 21% savings on our shoes, underwear and socks!

6. Office Supplies- Once school starts, you will start seeing all school supplies on clearance--notebooks, pencils, paper, pens, etc. I try to buy any office things we may need for the year.

7. Great Clips- They send me coupons in the mail for $7.99 haircuts usually a few times a year and I always go in to use them. I also ask to get 3-4 inches off. I want to make each haircut count!

8. Walmart after Valentines Day Flowers- Tulips, mini roses in pots, and huge bouquets are all half off are more the day after Valentines Day. It may sound lame but I insist that Mr. Peasant buy me flowers the day after. We don't have to spend a lot of money, I know Mr. Peasant loves me. Plus, I get the most gorgeous flowers for cheap! Win, win.

9. Black Cherries-I buy 20 pounds of cherries when they go on sale for 1.99 or less. I spend a few hours  pitting and freezing them.

10. Walgreens Dental Supplies- Once or twice a year Walgreens has a buy two get one free sale on all  oral care products. Toothpaste, mouthwash, tooth brushes and dental supplies. This sale is worth while to grab toothbrushes and mouth washes for the year. ****This is happening now where I live (until November 3rd, 2018) Check your local Walgreens on Flipp. It's easy enter your zip code and pull up your local Walgreens flyer.

11. Amazon Prime- We don't have Amazon Prime. We take our time and fill our cart until we reach the amount needed for free shipping (typically $25.00 or $35.00). So that is $100.00 a year we can spend on actual items and we still NEVER pay for shipping. The whole next day thing seems a little wasteful and extreme. I don't need my Nutritional Yeast overnight-ed next day. Nothing in my life is that pressing.

With these 11 Strategies we save about $450.00 a year. Keep your eyes open for sales at your local stores and stock up. Even if you can only afford to buy one extra item on sale, do it.

Once again I have to plug my two favorite websites for saving. Southern Savers and Flipp. If you'd like to hear more about why I love these two sites, check out my post about Saving at the Grocery store here. See Tip # 6.

Thank you for reading!

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