Saving Money While Living Life

Saving Money While Living Life

dollars-426026_1280Saturday was a great day, financially speaking.   I did my usual errands:  went to the gym, the grocery store, a consignment store, and a department store.   Between all my errands, I spent about $100, but saved $105!

How?  Well let me tell you so you can do the same!

1.  I bought $100 worth of food and drinks for $58 at the grocery store.

First of all, I used NO coupons in this transaction.  I just planned ahead. In the past I have dabbled in couponing, but that requires more time and effort than I wanted to spend on a Saturday afternoon, so I’m not going to get into that just now.  I stocked up on things that were on sale, mostly buy 1 get 1 free items.  You should also know I’m not a crazy stock-piler and I don’t have a room in my home devoted to food storage.  A lot of the things I bought (like beverages) are shelf-stable and will last awhile, although I try to get shorter-lasting items like produce on sale too.

This trip included a small bag of dog food in the clearance section for $3.65.  I have gotten to know the clearance areas well, and you’d be surprised at the stores that have them.  Harris Teeter was where I shopped, and I have found that in the HT stores near me there is a small area (usually a free-standing cart of some kind, sometimes a shopping cart) where there is discounted and discontinued merchandise.   Other stores with a little discount corner:  Big Lots, Food Lion, and the Christmas Tree Shops.  Occasionally there are discontinued items throughout the store as well that are marked down about 50%; I have seen these in Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and CVS.  Those are sneaky ones, but you wouldn’t find them if you weren’t looking at something similar so they end up being useful deals.  I can usually save about 50% per item in the little clearance area (usually I don’t bother for less than that).

Of course, I don’t buy items I won’t use.  I have been tempted by the clearance bug in the past, but have learned my lesson:  It’s not really “saving” money if you wouldn’t buy the product anyway.

Money saved: $42, or 42% off full price!

2.   I bought $50 worth of gasoline for $40.

Harris Teeter is running a promotion in which if you spend $50 or more in one transaction, you can buy a $50 gas card for $40.  Since gas is one of those items you always need and can’t really get “on sale”, this is a good deal.  The cards are only for Shell and BP, so this deal wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t have one (or both) of those stations near where I live, work, or play.  For me, a single $50 gas card covers two weeks’ worth of gasoline for my little Toyota Corolla!

Money saved: $10, or 20% off full price!

3.  I bought a $30 shirt for $4.00

I dropped off some of next season’s clothing at the consignment store in hopes that I will make a little money from some items I no longer need.  If I can, I prefer taking clothes to a consignment store over the Goodwill if they’re in good condition because I can get cash or store credit instead of a tax deduction.   But I do enjoy tax deductions, so I also take clothes that are a little more worn out or dated to the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

As I was at the consignment store I perused the sale rack; 75% off their ticketed prices!  A summer top with the original tag on (which read $30) was marked down to $15 at the store price.  Seventy-five percent off meant a price tag of 3.75 and a 0.25 tax, equaling $4.  I wore the top the very next day and I am thrilled with the look and the cost!

Money saved: $26, or 86% off full price!

*Bonus:  I may actually get paid for that trip to the consignment store, depending on how much money I earn from the items I dropped off!

4.  I got a $25 necklace for less than $3.

My last stop before I headed home was to JCPenney.  This time I did have a coupon, for $10 off a minimum purchase of $10, which I had gotten in the mail. Free money!  I have gotten these kinds of coupons from JCPenney, Lane Bryant, and Kohls, and I think a few other department stores have similar programs if you shop there often.  In my experience, Kohls and JCPenney usually have pretty good clearance deals regardless of whether you have a coupon, but obviously it’s best if you can pair both together, which I did.

My first stop at JCPenney is almost always the jewelry section. (The costume jewelry, not the really fancy stuff.  My dog has a habit of eating shiny things if left within reach of his mouth, so I try not to spend too much money on jewelry–and shoes–for this reason. Also, I’m thrifty, but I’m guessing you’ve figured that out.)  It was tough to narrow down my choices, but eventually I left with a necklace marked down from $25 to $11.99 in (again) the clearance section.  The total with tax came to $2.12 after the $10 coupon, but I rounded up to a full $3.00 to donate 0.88 to a local after school program.

Money saved: $22, or 88% off full price!

5.  *Oh yeah, one other bonus:  I got paid to go to the gym.  I’m a fitness instructor!

As my boyfriend would say, not too shabby!

Saving money is not rocket science, but it does require that you pay attention to sales and deals, and are aware of what an item should typically cost.   I’m a pretty low maintenance girl, so I only get girly things like new clothes and jewelry if I can pay rock-bottom prices.  This amount of savings is pretty typical for me, but I don’t shop for these items often and this amount of savings doesn’t always happen all in one day like this.

In general, I never pay full price for anything if I can help it. I have all I really need of clothing, shoes, jewelry, and that kind of thing. And of course I need to eat everyday, but we live in a country that offers an abundance of food choices. Usually, you can wait to get something until it goes on sale if you plan ahead.

That all being said, there are a lot of programs and blogs that help with finding sales, coupons, and gift card and point programs. That is all great information that I may get into at another time. For today, I just wanted to share how, armed with a single coupon and a calculator on my smart phone, I was able to save nearly as much money as I spent in a single day.

I’d love to hear simple ways YOU save money!

About bridget

I was born and raised in upstate New York, where my parents still live, before escaping the cold weather to settle in North Carolina in 2008.
I am a Gemini, a middle child, a dreamer, a lover, an optimist, and a Social Worker. I have a cheesy sense of humor, a belief that all people are basically good, and a desire to improve the world around me.
I live in NC with my husband and our dog.

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