Friday

I Want to Save Money, but I Don't Have Time!

You know the old saying "Time is Money"? It's true. The more money you have, the more time you can save. The more time you spend, the more money you can save. So does that mean you can't save any money if you don't have a lot of time? Absolutely NOT!

The first place people usually start when trying to save money is with their groceries. That's completely logical being that it's often the most frequent and necessary purchase any of us makes.

There a couple of changes you can make to save money without having to spend much more time than you currently do shopping. You don't even have to use coupons if you don't have the time! (I do recommend using coupons to net the greatest savings, but they are not a requirement to save money.)

The only way to effectively save money on groceries without using coupons is to buy items when they go on sale. This doesn't take nearly as much time as you might think. Pick the store (or stores) that you go to the most and look at their ads every week. When something you already use goes on sale, then buy enough for about 3 months. (Most sales cycle every 12 weeks...or every 3 months.) This will net you enough to not have to buy that item again until the next sale. If you're buying items like fresh meat, cheese, or butter, then you'll want to freeze them so they'll stay good until you're ready to use them.

After you've chosen which sale items to buy (which can be as simple as circling the item and taking the circled ad into the store with you as your list), then determine which non-sale items you need to buy that week. Ideally, the more you shop sales, the less you'll have to buy non-sale items. You'll plan your menus (or meals) according to what you already have in your pantry.

If you're willing to buy whichever brand is on sale even if it's not your usual or your favorite, then you'll save even more money. You CAN still save by being brand-sensitive, but not as much as you would otherwise. Also, when you're just buying according to sales, be aware that prices at places like Aldi and Save-a-Lot as well as generics at Wal-Mart, Meijer, and other stores will often net better sales than brand-name products on sale but without a coupon. This isn't always the case, but it often is. Again, you CAN still save by JUST purchasing brand-name products on sale, but not as much as if you were willing to also consider generics.

Even with this one change, you will be surprised at how much money you save. Where before you would have paid $3 for Dove soap, you'll now pay $1. Multiply that by all your products, and the savings add up quick!

If you're just starting out, don't feel bad because you're not able to save what others do. You can get easily overwhelmed when trying to jump in feet first and do everything. Sometimes it's easier to start slowly and build up to the big savings. Above all, though, do what YOU can do...not what someone on a money-saving blog or couponing website can do. And don't feel bad because you're not where they are. You're where YOU are, and that's okay.

There have been times when we're living off of our stockpile and not couponing because I don't have the time. When that happens, I do exactly what I outlined above. That way, I'm still saving my family money without the time involved for couponing.

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