Does it seem that a quick trip to the grocery store for milk somehow inevitably turns into an hour of jamming unnecessary items like Vienna sausages and those new granola bars into your basket, ending in a shameful bill at the register? Not to mention that you forgot to get the milk?
The bottom line is, the less you go to the grocery store, the less money you'll spend. But how do you cut down on grocery store trips with a family that seem to require a quart of milk every three hours and enough cereal to keep America's grain farmers in business? One strategy is to simply plan ahead. At the beginning of each week, do the thing you always say you're going to do -- brainstorm dinners for each night, do a check of all the items in your pantry that need to be replaced, and make sure you have input from each family member about anything they'll need during the week from the grocery store. Make one gigantic shopping trip that will help guarantee that no pseudo-quick trips will be needed for the rest of the week.
And let's not forget coupons. Although the mania of extreme couponing leaves most of us exhausted (and maybe a little envious), simple, everyday coupons are a great way to get good deals. Another trick? Each week, take note of the coupons you get in your weekly circular or newspaper . . . and put them in a drawer for a few weeks. Remember that stores commonly "stock up" on coupon items, and after the initial rush is over, they're usually left with overstock. So what do they do? Put them on sale, of course. Those coupons might actually save you double if you wait a month to use them.
It might appear so far that a money-saving life consists of monitoring your thermostat, avoiding the grocery store, and fixing your own dishwasher. Read on for more tips about how to get out and about without watching your wallet run away from you.