You may love coupons, but they are not enough. Although clipping coupons and matching them to sales at stores is a good starting step, you will discover other ways to stretch a dollar. If you are serious about saving money and have a tight budget, there are additional steps you can take to be more frugal.
1. Learn Your Store’s Sale Cycles
Each store uses a different sale cycle. People have noticed that most stores seem to follow a six week schedule. This means that you need to pay close attention to prices. If you notice an item is marked down to the lowest price you have seen in weeks, then that item probably will not go on sale again for another six weeks. You can save more money by waiting for the right time in the sale cycle to use your coupons.
Sale cycles vary greatly in different areas, so you need to study your favorite stores and ignore other locations. In addition to remembering that stores often have sales for specific holidays, people have learned to recognize their seasonal cycles. For example, March is National Frozen Food Month, so every store will have promotions and sales on frozen items during this month.
2. Freeze Extra Items
You can save money by buying and freezing extra items. People freeze extra loaves of bread after buying them on sale. They have found that bread can be frozen for a month or longer and still retain its quality. It is better to wrap bread in foil or special freezer bags to store it instead of using the original plastic bag. Then, you simply need to thaw it before using it. They recommend thawing for two to three hours per loaf.
People also freeze dairy products to save money. You can freeze milk up to a month. However, you must open the container and remove some of the milk before freezing it. Milk expands and can burst in your freezer. You can also freeze cheese and yogurt for three months or longer.
3. Recalculate Unit Prices
Many brands are now shrinking the size of their packages. However, the prices are either staying the same or increasing. People have noticed generic brands are following the same trend and also shrinking their packages. The best way to save money is to constantly recalculate the unit prices. The easiest method is to simply divide the price by the total ounces and compare it with other brands.
People are saving more money by using these extra steps. The best way to stretch a dollar is to combine coupons with sales and stock up on items you use often. Smart shopping is the best strategy for remaining on a tight budget.