I don't know about you, but I feel inundated with tips and strategies for saving money. These little tidbits are all over the news and in the papers. But I find that not all of them are practical for those of us with families. Here are just four really big ways we actually do save money in our household:
1) Buy less stuff. No, really. This sounds simple, but it isn't - especially when you think you're saving money by buying low-quality staples. Looking only at the price of an item can have you making more trips to the store, burning more gas and spending more cash. Which brings me to my second tip.
2) Buy quality stuff and make sure you're getting what you think you're getting. We found this out first with paper towels. My husband would hit the discount store and come back with a trunk full of goodies, including a huge bulk size package of paper towels. Well one day we ran out of the cheapies, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought a large single roll of a well-known brand. Days later we noticed that the roll had not been changed, whereas we had to change the rolls of the cheapo paper towels almost daily. Once we looked at how much we were paying for the so-called bulk rolls, we realized we actually got many more sheets for our money when buying the regular brand.
3) Stick to healthier foods, cut back the processed and snack-type foods. Not only is this better for the health of your family, it's better for your fiscal health too. How do I know? Take a look at the prices of foods on the snack aisle. The prices are VERY inflated for what you get, especially since these are exactly the foods that leave you hungry a short time later.
4) Shop off the beaten path. The first lightbulb went off when a local news report showed that the stores with the highest prices and worst customer service were actually the chain stores that everyone knew and "trusted". It turns out people were actually getting more bang for their buck by shopping at co-ops, farmers markets, and stores that were wrongly considered high-end. Deals are where you find them. Being locked into shopping at just one place is a great way to waste cash.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Fifth Third Bank via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Fifth Third Bank.