Sometimes I am simply blown away by my wife’s creative saving tips when shopping. If you don’t know that merchandises at Costco are not cheap, then you are in the second league after her. My family don’t use the Costco executive card to get the 2% savings, because we cannot justify 2% with our low amount of purchase. To breakeven on the additional $55 that we need to pay (from $45 to $100 for the executive card), we need to spend at least $55 / 2% = $2750 a year. Even if we spend $2750, we need to save an average of 1.6% on the price to justify the $45 basic membership card.
Okay, here are the tips from the Frugal’s wife:
- Grocery shopping with coupons: When she buys grocery, she scan through ads first, and pick out the on-sale items that she wants. Then she matches the on-sale items with whatever coupons she has clipped. Also, the grocery stores (like Ralph) that have do double-coupons are the more preferred stores. This process takes some minutes at home. But we probably never walked out of grocery stores with at least 35% savings from the regular price.
- Stocking up: She stocks up on-sale items (with coupon savings) for the future (on a limited basis). She also pre-shopped for gifts throughout the low seasons in the year.
- Limit Costco’s purchases: When buying at Costco, you must understand that you are getting quality products at a reasonable price. Less quality products in general will cost less at other stores. And on-sale items at other stores can often beat Costco’s price. But the biggest saving that you can get by not buying at Costco is that you don’t end up buying more than you need. Either you throw away the additional quantities on what you cannot consume. or you stock them up and put away in no-man’s land such that you cannot find it when you need it again. However, Costco has regular saving coupons mailed out, and those are really good-priced items.
- Placement of the coupons: Leave the coupons in the car, and restaurant coupons in the wallets. Often you can’t find the coupons when you need them. Since you don’t go out without your car or your wallet, you won’t go out without the coupons this way either.
- Clearance: Pay attention to clearance items/clothing in department stores. They are often very inexpensive as in Walmart, Target, Mervin, or Old Navy. But the qualities are much better.
- Timing: Time your purchases throughout the seasons & holidays. If you are buying a new car and don’t mind getting the current year model, August is often the clearance time on current models. At the end of August, school clothes & supplies often go on-sale. October is the best month for pre-holiday shooping, or you can wait after Christmas and New Year, and stock up on all kinds of bargains. Also buying clothes off-season will save you some bucks too.
Oh, I have a shopping tip of my own too. For those husbands out there, when you buy stamps, DO NOT buy those beautiful Disney stamps. I repeat, DO NOT buy those disney stamps, because your wives will love them and won’t allow you to use them. Postage may increase to more than $1, and she still won’t let you use it. But DO use those stamps as a frugal, but romantic gesture.