4 Simple steps you can take at home to save money

Everyone is interested in saving money, whether on big ticket items or the everyday necessities you buy at the supermarket or drugstore. Here are a few shopping suggestions that will pay off in savings.

4 Simple steps you can take at home to save money

Check your discount cards carefully

Many supermarkets and other retailers offer discount cards that allow you can save money on certain products. Often these cards come in the form of tiny plastic rectangles that go on your key chain, which the clerk passes over the register scanner.

  • Be careful when you hand your key chain to the clerk if more than one store's discount card is attached to it. If the clerk scans the wrong card, the machine may still beep as if it's going to give you the discount — but it never does.
  • Hold the right card between your fingertips as you hand your key chain over at the checkout counter, and watch the register to make sure that it's displaying your discounts.

Know prices of one dozen products

Buy a small spiral-bound notebook, and look through your refrigerator, freezer and pantry for the 12 products you buy most often. For many people, this list will include soft drinks, milk, juice and bread. Give each item its own page and write its name at the top of the page.

  • Take your notebook to the store whenever you shop, and each time you buy the item, jot down the price. And each time you see the item listed in a supermarket sale circular, note the price in your notebook too. It won't take long for you to become aware of when you should stock up on bargains and when you should wait for a sale.
  • As savvy shoppers have learned through their adventures in bargain-finding, you have to know the difference between great prices and expensive markups in order to save money. Although a large supermarket may contain 30,000 items, just being able to find your top 12 items at a discount will save you big money.
  • One frugality expert found that by simply stocking up on chicken breasts only when they're on sale — rather than paying the going price every week — she saves $325 every year.

Do it yourself to save money

Food companies like you to think they're doing you a favour by offering bags of pre-washed salad and individual servings of soup. Actually, they're just looking for a way to charge you more money.

  • Buy soup, oatmeal, cereal and other foods in regular-sized containers instead of tiny ones. Dividing the food into multiple bowls or containers only takes a few seconds and save you money.
  • Buy individual salad components instead of pre-washed bagged salads. Washing the salad yourself is fast and easy, and you won't be paying extra money for conveniences that you don't really need.

Keep your beer in the dark

If you're a big beer drinker, you can save a bundle by taking a tip from wine connoisseurs. Create a beer cellar.

  • Find a cool, dark spot where you can leave cases of beer without moving them. Under these conditions, beer will stay fresh for six months.
  • Buy in bulk to avoid the outlandish markups on six-packs.
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