The key to learning how to squeeze every penny out of your hard earned dollars begins within your own mind. There is a level of dedication and committment that is required in order to fully maximize the potential for intense savings. Don’t just expect savings to fall into your lap. If you just wait for savings to happen, you will find yourself consistently paying full retail price for everything because you haven’t learned to master the art of delayed gratification. If you want things when you want them and have to have them right then and there, you will never be able to achieve savings of 70-100% off every time you shop. Reaching those types of savings requires forethought, planning, strategizing, and brushing up on your mathematics.
Don’t let that scare you away though- couponing is like any skill; the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Couponing becomes a hobby, one that is immediately rewarding. When you walk away from the store feeling like you’ve beat the system, you’ll know that all of the effort was well worth it.
Savings will not just fall into your lap, as I’ve mentioned. You have to make them appear, not wait for them to show their faces. The effort that you expend in the beginning will seem like you don’t want to continue with this hobby. Surely the savings don’t make up for the time spent in researching, clipping, and organizing. What if I told you that in my most recent grocery trip, I was able to get $150.00 worth of items, including fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned foods, baby items, healthcare, and toiletries for $20.00. That is an 87% savings! It took a lot of effort and patience, but in the end, I was able to save $130 that I could put to better use. You will find that you can achieve these types of savings too. You just have to start by disciplining yourself and learning how to organize and strategize.
This week, I would like for you to take a moment and lay out a budget for your household. What do you spend in each of your main categories of expenses each month. Rent/mortgage, grocery, water, trash disposal, electricity, telephone, cell phones, groceries, cable, internet, car payment, insurance, gasoline, household, clothing, credit cards, and any other categories that describe your spending. Now, place them into two separate categories: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory expenses include housing, utilities, food, etc. Discretionary include cable, clothing, internet, cell phones, etc.
Now, look at your discretionary expenses. Those are all things that you have some amount of say over the costs. Are you spending too much in one category? Are you spending more on clothing than on food? One way to cut down on your expenses and start a healthy savings account, is to learn how to use the tools that the grocery industry provides to you, coupons, sales, and mail-in-rebates.