I just found your blog and I love it. But I don't know if I am a little too gung-ho about
this. I am not feeling overwhelmed. I have all these folders organized
in my favorites folder and blogs marked in my Google Reader. I have
forums to help me and sites to visit.
It just seems like there
are so many places to find deals and some sites have things that others
don't. Some post more frequently than others. I guess I am looking for a way to simplify this so it is not so overwhelming. You said you take about 45 minutes a week and at the rate I am going, it will be hours a week checking blogs and forums. -Jessica
you are first learning to shop frugally, it can be a bit overwhelming,
especially if this is a completely new way of thinking. Here are a few of my
1) Start slowly. Don't try to cut your grocery bill in half tomorrow. Instead, set a very reachable goal for your grocery budget for this month.
Once you've achieved that goal, then gradually try to shave off a
little bit more and then a little bit more. Challenge yourself to
improve at a pace that isn't too slow so you see no progress happening,
but also isn't too fast so that it frustrates or burdens you.
you are just beginning, pick one or two areas to work on at a time.
Perhaps you have a CVS store nearby, make it a goal that you will spend
the next 2 months learning how to shop there and get all of your
deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap/bodywash there
for free (there are a lot more things you can get free there, but we're
going slow, remember?). Start here to learn how to do that.
you've cut out that part of your budget and feel comfortable with
CVS-ing, then move on to something else, say learning Walgreens or
Target, using more coupons at your grocery store, or making two items
from scratch which you would normally buy pre-packaged.
Whatever you pick to work on, enjoy it and don't stress over it. Stretching your budget should be an exciting challenge, not a huge drudgery.
2) Keep it simple.
There is a tendency to want to read every forum and blog out there for
fear we might miss some great deal. The truth is, most of us do not
have that kind of time on our hands. Plus, time is money;
if we waste a lot of time scouring deal websites only to come up with
minimal savings to show for our hours of internet browsing, we really
aren't saving money.
I encourage you to pick a few forums or
blogs that you generally find the best deals for the stores you shop at
and use those as your resource. Set a time once or twice a week in your
schedule to peruse through these and choose which deals you want to do
and add these to your grocery list. (I've found it helpful to copy and paste
deals I find straight into a WORD document and then use that to compile
our grocery list and menu.)
3) Set parameters.
Not only do I recommend that you have a set grocery budget and only
bring cash (and a calculator!) with you to the store to make sure you
follow your budget, I also would highly encourage you to budget your
grocery-list-making time and your bargain-shopping time.
you are first starting out, you might allot 1-2 hours per week to
searching for bargains, scouring the ads, clipping and organizing
coupons, and making your list. As you become more adept, I'd shoot for
45 minutes to an hour maximum for grocery shopping strategizing. Have a
set day and a set block of time, if possible. Or split it up into 10-15
minute increments over a few days.
I also recommend that you
limit yourself to one to two bargain-shopping trips per week. Bargain
shopping can be a great way to be a better steward of your family's
income, but it should never consume your life. If you are running
around all over town multiple times per week to get great deals, you
need to step back and examine your priorities.
Like I've said before,
if your home and family is suffering for the sake of a good deal, it's
not a good deal. Set parameters and stick with them! (See this post here for more helpful ideas.)
love to hear from others on this subject: How do you wisely steward
your time when it comes to frugality? Do you have a method which works
for you to effectively and efficiently save money and take advantage of
great deals without it becoming too time-consuming? Tell us about it!