Recently a new reader of my blog made the comment that the word ‘frugal’ sent shivers up her spine. Like so many others she thought that being frugal was the same thing as being cheap and doing without. To me being frugal means managing your resources to actually get more of what you want, rather than less. What’s more, no-effort savings can be found everywhere, only requiring a bit of knowledge.
One of the easiest ways to save big is knowing when to buy. This alone can literally save you hundreds of dollars without any real effort on your part. Here follows a list of when you’re most likely to get the best deal on the following items (you can even improve on the deal by doing your homework before shopping so you know exactly what features you want, the warranty you want and what the competition is offering – price matching is a common store practice nowadays):
- January: Blankets, Pillows, Sheets; Christmas Decorations and Supplies; Exercise Equipment; Resolution Solutions – Stop Smoking and Dieting Aids; TVs; Winter Clothes
- February: Furniture; Humidifiers
- March: Digital Cameras; Small Electronics; TVs; Winter Sports Equipment
- April: Cameras; Computers; Lawn & Garden Equipment; Spring Clothes
- May: Athletic clothes and shoes; Camping Supplies; Lawn Mowers; Mattresses
- June: Camcorders; Carpets; Small Electronics; Kitchenware – Dishes, Glasses, Pans, etc; Summer Sports Equipment; Beachwear
- July: Camcorders; Patio Furniture; Beachwear
- August: Air conditioners; Back to School Supplies; Dehumidifiers; Patio Furniture
- September: Barbecues; Bikes; Lawn & Garden Equipment; Snowblowers
- October: Barbecues; Bikes; Cameras; Computers; Winter Clothes
- November: Baby Supplies and Equipment; Camcorders; GPS; Toys; Black Friday Sales; Cyber Monday Sales December: Appliances (large and small); Camcorders; Small Electronics
- December: Appliances (large and small); Camcorders; Small Electronics
One of the best times to buy a new car is during the last few days of November or December. The new models are arriving at the same time that sales are down because people are spending their money on the holidays. An opportune time to make a great deal and save thousands.
Buying fruits and vegetables midway through their season offers the biggest opportunity for savings but there is a way to increase those savings even more. This no-effort frugal favourite is all about the timing of when to shop for produce at the Farmer’s Market and that is during the last hour before closing. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t keep well which means many vendors would rather sell what they have left at give-away prices than take it home to throw out. The buyer who takes advantage of this will get top quality produce at the absolute lowest price.
Being an educated shopper and shopping with knowledge can more than cut your grocery bill in half. Since all the supermarket chains have their policies posted online it only requires going to their website to find out whatever you want to know. Knowing the answers to the following questions can save a lot of money:
- What is their out-of-stock policy? Do they give rainchecks and discounts?
- Do they subscribe to the scanning code of practice – when the price is wrong at checkout do you receive the item, up to $10.00, free or $10.00 off?
- What is their return policy?
- Do they price-match?
Then there are a few additional ways to save:
Get wise to store practices and don’t make assumptions. Pricing doesn’t always make sense. Bulk isn’t necessarily cheaper. Not all end-cap deals are the best buy, check further down the aisle and compare. Don’t only shop at eye level – look up at the top shelf and down to the bottom shelves where you can often find better buys. Buy generic. Know your prices, comparison shop and ALWAYS shop with a list.
Rude sales staff and rude customers have made it that I really do not like shopping at the larger stores anymore. The exception -Thrift Stores. At most of those I actually manage to have fun while saving piles of money. Don’t for one minute think these are the same stores that existed in the past – the Thrift Stores of today have class. Their merchandise is clean, useful and well-displayed. Their staff, most often volunteers, are friendly and that attitude seems to spread to the customers.
My favourite Thrift Store: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/bfm-thrift-stores-treasure-troves-2/
Thrift Stores are great places to shop for:
- Babies and young children – they grow so fast that their clothes last for such a short time. You can find some really cute outfits, including heavy winter clothes, displayed. Baby equipment, toys and like-new books are also available at next to nothing.
- For older children you will find all kinds of seasonal sports equipment. Why pay for new when you know that every thing will have to be replaced the following year?
- You’ve seen teenagers and how they dress, right? Instead of buying them new clothes, hand them the money and turn them loose in a Thrift Store. They’ll have a blast and buy way more than you could have shopping the traditional way.
- How about that infrequent-use item – you really don’t want to pay $50.00 for a soup tureen when $5.00 will get you one. How about when you’re having friends over and find you’re short some cups? Pick a few up at the Thrift Store for a couple of dollars. Not a problem.
- I love sweaters and wear them all the time. Getting top quality ones at the Thrift Store for 3 or 4 dollars instead of 30 or 40 dollars means I can totally indulge.
- My favourite Thrift Store always has loads of small appliances which have been tested for use. Recently I was able to pick up a food processor for 3 dollars that I use strictly for my herbs. That is so handy but I would never have bought a new machine just for that purpose.
Finally, and this one is so often overlooked, take advantage of all the community has to offer. Look for low-cost or no-cost night classes at local schools or community colleges. Visit the Library where you will find so much more than books, music and videos, including after school programs for children, free tutorials of all kinds for adults, a magazine recycling program, book clubs, etc. Check their bulletin board to find out what else the community has to offer, the many choices may surprise you.
Frugal living does not mean doing without. It means paying less by taking advantage of all the saving opportunities and having fun while doing so.
Talk to you again next week,
Money in deposito Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Calendar Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Woman shopping in store Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net