Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teaching Tuesday: Be Flexible!

Welcome back to Teaching Tuesdays!  I hope you've been enjoying them!

So far, we've learned how to save money by knowing the best prices, being organized, matching coupons to lowest sale prices, and slowly building up a small stockpile of items.

As you continue to shop in this way, you will be able to pick out the best of the best deal each week to stockpile, and you will find your list of "needed items" slowly shrinking.

But, there are always going to be a few items on that "needs" list.  Ideally, those items will be on sale at the precise moment when you run out, and you will also have a coupon for them!  Ideally....but we don't live in an ideal world, and sometimes...every so often...you're going to have to buy something without a coupon.   

*GASP*  

I know!  I shudder at the thought, too!  But, there is an easy way to save on that item...just be flexible as to which brand you buy.  If your favorite brand name item is at an all time high price, but another leading brand right next to it on the shelf is on sale, and you have a coupon for it....give it a try!  Maybe it's a new laundry detergent that you've never tried, and you are nervous about it.  That's understandable!  But even if you don't like it, you've not lost anything.  You've saved, and learned.

What if none of the name brands are on sale, and you don't have a coupon for any of them?  Try a store brand!  I've bought generics for many items in my life, and I've rarely been able to tell a difference between them and the national brands!  In fact, many of the same companies that manufacture national brands also make the generic brands, they are just packaged differently.   I once even saw a Borden truck pulling away from Aldi, and Aldi doesn't even sell name brands.  Period.   Plus, many store brand items are labeled with "satisfaction guaranteed", which means that if you don't like it, they will give you a refund!

I'm certainly not saying that a generic version is always going to be the cheapest option.  I've never gotten a generic item for free, but I've gotten many name brand items for free, or very close to it, by using coupons.  I'm just saying that when the prices are high, and you have run low...consider it!  Also, consider it for pantry staples that rarely have coupons available.  There isn't much variation between brands of sugar, flour, beans, rice, salt and things of that nature.

You could also be flexible in the form of an item you buy.  Perhaps you've run out of bottled juice.   This week your usual bottle is $4, while the frozen juice concentrates are on sale for $0.89!  It may not be your favorite option, but you could save a little bit, just for this week, by purchasing the frozen canister.

If you are *really* flexible, and want to save BIG bucks, it seems that recipes to make your own household cleaning products (you know, those things that are REALLY expensive) abound on the internet.  It seems to be all the rage!  ;)  A simple google search will yield plenty of options if you'd rather make your own than pay store prices!  One commenter on my blog has said that she spent $24 and made enough laundry soap to last her the whole year. Not a bad deal, I'd say!  If you aren't sure how well it would work, you could always test out a small batch!

When you are flexible, you'll find you have many more options for savings than you ever thought possible!

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