One thing I am constantly attempting to do is save money. I find that there are so many ways that I can spend money (and quickly!!) that I have to find ways to save that will actually work for me. I suppose I could put money in a savings account, but the chances of me doing that on a weekly or even monthly basis are slim. It seems that there is always something that will come up that I need that money for and, before I know it, I have nothing in my savings account and I can not even recall what I spent the money on to begin with.
In an effort to save, I have found that not spending certainly helps. I don’t mean do not buy anything, I mean do not spend as much as you can. The best way to do that is with coupons. Taking advantage of all of the wonderful types of coupons out there is a fantastic way to not spend. Sign up with companies such as www.CouponCabin.com, www.Coupons.com, www.CouponMom.com, and www.SmartSource.com for deals on food and home essentials. For a broader range of retail coupons, a site called www.RetailMeNot.com is wonderful and has been applauded by the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, Smart Money as one of 5 top coupon clipping sites (www.smartmoney.com/spending/deals).
On average, I estimate that I save around $40 each time I do a grocery shop by taking the time to make a list, check the fliers of my local stores and recognizing that I may get certain things, like fresh fruits and vegetables, at the local farmers market much cheaper than in a store. Since I am only at my “local” market once a month, my family tends to eat just what is currently available. I research what recipes I would like to try and see if I can afford what it calls for. If I can, great; if I cannot, I see if I can substitute successfully or I just put it aside and keep it for another time. This is a process and not something that happens in 5 to 10 minutes. Like saving money in a bank, in order for it to work, time has to be invested otherwise you take out what you put in. Although it is something that can be time consuming, I have found that in the long run I am actually saving money AND time. By figuring out what I can make for the family meals, I review recipes and see what is on sale in the fliers and coupons. Then, when the time comes to make the meals, I already know what I am going to make and what I have on hand. There is no over buying because I am not sure if it is in the pantry or not. There is no wondering, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” when I already know that I have a pot roast in the slow cooker and I bought the carrots, onions and potatoes at the Farmers Market. It can be liberating to NOT have to worry, but more importantly, by saving that $40 a shopping trip, I can refrain from cooking one night and order out. That means more time for me to spend with my family and out of the kitchen and that is a precious savings of my time that no bank can ever give me.