Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shop til You Drop - Your Debt that is!

This gives a whole new meaning to "A Buck or Two"
Rule number one when you’re trying to pay down $40,000 debt is to save every freaking cent that you have to pay off your debt! I’ve talked about saving before, but this is different than the whole savings account mumbo-jumbo. I’m talking shopping; I’m talking about that great “deal” you got on a new pair of shoes. Before I started this debt-destroying process I was the kind of shopper who just walked into a store, saw something I liked and didn’t think about the price tag. I was more concerned if it was dry-clean only over the price tag. The only time that this approach to shopping is acceptable is when you’re in a dollar store because unless you’re a complete idiot, you should know that everything is a dollar. However, you’re not an idiot if it’s one of the stupid places that says “a buck or two” and then they have those stupid items that are $5 or more. I hate to break it to you a$$holes, but if I wanted to spend more than a buck or two on something then I’d go to a normal store that doesn’t smell like butt-scented candles.

I digress. Some of us were lucky to have parents that involved us in the smart shopping process. My mom used to drag me and my siblings off to the grocery every time we did our monthly drive to “the big city”. My mom taught me many great things about saving while shopping. Number one, brand names don’t mean $hit when it comes to items such as baking supplies, milk, vegetables, bread, meat, toilet paper, paper towels, and so on. There are some brands that we know are great, but we only bought those things when they went on sale – and trust me, after working for almost 5 (very long) years in a grocery store, everything goes on sale.  Use the flyers that you get as a guide for what you buy for the week. If you see tomatoes are on sale, look for a recipe that uses fresh tomatoes and enjoy a delicious meal at home for cheap! This isn’t rocket appliances people!

Now redeemable at Wal-Mart
The second great tip I got from Mom was coupon collecting. You see a coupon for 25 cents off soup and you say, who the eff cares – right? But why should you be that sucker that pays more than everyone else? My favourite part of the shopping trip was when we would watch the cashier ring in $400 worth of groceries (to last 2 weeks) and then the coupons would get scanned and that balance would drop faster than Whitney Houston’s career after she was introduced to crack. We really saved a lot of money! Now coupons are a wonderful thing, but you need to be wise about this. Buying something you don’t really need just because you have a coupon shows that you are completely missing the point.  You save even more money when you don’t buy anything at all.

Bulk isn’t always good when it comes to your waistline, but bulk is a great thing when it gets you some savings.  Buying things in large quantities gets you more bang for your buck – most of the time. If you’re mathematically challenged, I suggest you bring a calculator and actually do the math on the cost ratio for the large quantity versus the small quantity. If you’re worried about looking stupid for carrying around a calculator, don’t be. The real stupid people are the ones who are over spending. Here’s a little tip, next time you’re out shopping at the grocery store, look at the price of large eggs versus medium eggs – the large ones are cheaper every time.

When you buy something, it should live up to your expectations. If it doesn't, take it back or call the 1-800 numbers that you see on the package of the product. I've called and bit¢hed about bad products and the companies send me tons of coupons for free stuff. This doesn't just work for food items. Apple has exchanged my iPod and headphones on numerous occasions. The key is to get in there before your warranty is over. My grandma once kept the receipt for a mattress she bought that had a 30 year guarantee. A week before the mattress was 30 years old, a spring shot out of it and she got a replacement (brand new) mattress for free! Sure makes you think about throwing away that receipt now, doesn't it?

Katy Perry ruined tons of perfectly good cotton candy

One of the bazillion great things that I have learned from my BFF Gail is that saving means saving. Let’s say you’ve been eyeing up a big ticket item like a new cotton candy maker. All of a sudden you get a flyer in the mail that says your cotton candy maker is now 25% off, reducing the price by $25! Before you go around bragging to all your pets about how much you saved stop to think about what you’re saying. When you say you’ve saved $25, why not actually take that $25 and put it in your savings account – you know, actually save it? If you can do this, your savings account is going to grow like gangbusters. Happy smart shopping everyone!

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