Saving Money By Comparison Shopping And Lists

All of us have a goal to handle our finances wisely, avoid going into debt while meeting the needs of a growing family. We are aware of the rising cost of living which is called inflation, and have to find ways to cope with the ever-increasing rising prices on practically everything we buy or need. There are many approaches to dealing with this drain on our finances and we will discuss these in the following suggestions.

Make A Shopping List And Track Prices
It is always smart to make a list before shopping and then try to stick to it! I keep a list of all the common items that my family needs and consumes on my computer. Each week I print this list and use it to do my shopping. For the most part it keeps me on track for buying what I really need. However, I’ve found this isn’t always possible should I pass a staple, like coffee, that is on special that I will need shortly. In this case it so easy to just plop the item into my shopping cart and keep going.
I use this list to track price trends with items so I can keep an eye on what I’m spending my money on. If I notice that something is going up more than another item or brand I can easily make a decision about replacing the item with a substitute. I also write down prices so I can use this information for planning my budget.

Local Newspapers For Deals And Coupons To Save Money
When the local newspaper grocery store circulars arrive, I carefully scan the advertised items, then plan my menus carefully, based on the best buys. If my local store has produce, meat and staples on special, I stop there to purchase them, although sometimes these sell out fast. Then I find it is better to shop earlier in the week when ads first appear. Next, I would head for our Super Wal-Mart for those food items I need that cost less than at the grocery store.

Combine Shopping Trips With Other Errands
We do live 15 miles from a large city where more store choices would be available, but due to increased gasoline prices, our trips to the "Big" city are limited to when we have a scheduled doctor, dental or other appointment.
There are even differences in Super Wal-Marts as one store that is located 14 miles north of us averages a few cents lower on all items. This makes the cost of gasoline worthwhile due to the over-all savings. Also, this small city has a grocery discount store where you "bag" your own groceries. When doing a month’s worth of shopping for staples, canned goods, frozen items, etc, we find a big savings in frequenting this store. They are also competitive with the Super Wal-Mart in prices on many items, so I usually visit both stores on those shopping days.

Day Old Sales Racks
In the "Big" city they have several discount Bread Stores where bakery/bread trucks deliver day-old or overstocked breads, cakes, cookies, pies, etc. to be sold at a reduced cost. This is quite a savings if you have a freezer or storage area to keep the extras until needed. With a large family, that doesn’t usually take very long!
Shopping Health Tip – When shopping in discounted grocery stores or even in your local store where you regularly shop, be careful of dented canned goods. Dented cans are often discounted because no one wants to buy damaged goods. If you are going to purchase discounted dented cans make sure that you check thoroughly that there are no bulges on either end of the can as this can indicate spoilage. If there are bulges you never want to buy them no matter how low the cost.

Comparison Shopping Before You Buy
Another method for saving money is comparison shopping, so you know the retail prices on items of interest and where they are located. Then watch the newspapers for special sales and you can save quite a bit by buying at the reduced prices. Always check out Clearance Racks where they display overstock, last season’s items or out-of-fashion clothing. Oftentimes these can be purchased for up to 80% reduction from original price.
If you carry a department store charge card, they offer additional discounts on clearance, sale and regular priced clothing. I found a pair of last winter’s red flannel pajamas marked $35.00 reduced to $1.99. They are now hanging in my closet as I couldn’t resist. Also, I was able to purchase several early Christmas gifts at this ridiculously low price and have kept them wrapped in a box the past 6 months.
It isn’t a good idea to shop with credit cards if you are low on will power or are too heavily in debt. But there is an advantage to carrying these if you are a person who pays the bill off totally every month. Store owners really like credit card customers and try to tempt you into making purchases you originally didn’t intend to buy. You can easily overcharge, not realizing you have accumulated more debt than you can reasonably pay off when the statement arrives.

Find Consignment Stores and Resale Shops
In many cities and small towns, you can find Resale Shops or Consignment Stores. For families with small children, reasonably priced used clothing from infant size on up to adult men and women can be found in Resale Shops. When clothing is accepted, they usually must be clean and free from rips, tears or stains. In Consignment Stores, items are of higher cost, but also of better quality. People place items they no longer wear or that their children have outgrown in the store to be sold on a commission basis. Some dresses, suits, or gowns may have only been worn once and for a specific purpose for only a few hours.

Yard Sales And Garage Sales Are Great For Used Clothing Deals
Whenever possible to save huge on clothing buy used clothing. Used clothing can be found in Yard, Garage, Patio or even Indoor Sales. If you are new to shopping at Garage and Yard Sales, you may see something you like but feel it’s priced higher than you want to pay. If this is the case, try offering a lower amount! The purpose of this type sale is to get rid of all these unwanted or unneeded items, so owners are usually willing to bargain with you. House wares, tools, fishing and gardening supplies, books, furniture, etc., can all be found at quite reasonable and even cheap prices, in addition to all the clothing items available.
The better quality clothing items can usually be found in neighborhoods of middle income. Sometimes the areas with higher income carry a more expensive price tag due to the quality offered. You can still try offering a lower amount in both of these neighborhoods especially if near the closing hour of the sale. They just might accept your offered price.

Newspaper Ads And Online Ad Sites Like Craigslist
When shopping for specific items, check the newspaper ads or online ads sites like Craigslist.com and Ebay.com. People often advertise appliances, furniture, special services, registered pets, boats, cars, etc. You never know what deal you might be able to make by contacting the person listed with the item that interests you!
In summary, saving money is about making lists that you stick, budget faithfully, plan carefully, and shop wisely. If you do these things you’ll realize you can find ways to stretch your hard-earned dollars and hopefully, keep up with inflation!