Here’s the thing: I love going out and shopping. Finding items I love and swiping my debit card for ownership can be quite the rush. But, what really gets the excitement flowing is when you’re able to get a lot without spending a lot.
If I have one superpower, it’s being a strong frugal shopper. Some things I’ve learned over the years have not only helped me save money, but have helped me see the value of a dollar and how far it can really go. So, without further ado, here are my tidbits to help you save.
The Dollar Store
First off, we have a no-brainer – the dollar store. There’s a common misconception that everything at a dollar store is junk. There are some items without much of a shelf life, but if you put some thought and creativity into it, you might be surprised at how practical these stores are.
NOTE: Do your research on the store beforehand. You can be easily lured into a store like “Family Dollar” because of its name, only to learn that everything starts at a dollar. No thanks. My store of preference is Dollar Tree.
So, what do I go to Dollar Tree for?
- I buy all of my greeting cards from here. They’re typically two for $1, which makes all of my cards for the year equivalent to the cost of two Hallmark cards. And, they have a large selection.
- On that note, I get most of my gift wrapping supplies from here. They have a decent selection of gift bags, wrapping paper, gift boxes, and tissue paper. (However, I would say the best way to save money in this realm would be to reuse gift bags you already have at home).
- If you’re a college student, this place is good for kitchen utensils that may not get much use. Items such as: paper towels, tissues, and snacks are great, too.
- If you’re a teacher, this is a great stop for classroom supplies, games, and books. They also have a lot of different art supplies for crafts. Other items such as paper towels and hand sanitizer may be helpful, too.
- Stocking stuffers are the perfect reason to go to the Dollar Store. They have many toys and games for kids, as well as items like: nail polish, candy, hair ties, and travel-size personal hygiene products.
- With that in mind, it’s great for goodie bag items for parties. You can also get party décor, plates, utensils, napkins, and balloons while you’re there.
- As for the home, the Dollar Store is perfect for items such as: tissues, fly swatters, Tupperware, measuring cups, etc. Also, if you live alone and don’t go through laundry detergent and dryer sheets too quickly, they have name brand products in smaller quantities.
Meet My Good Friend, Goodwill
For the same reason mentioned before, many people have the idea that Goodwills are like jungles of junk. It’s true that the quality of a Goodwill store can vary by location, so I would recommend checking out a few before committing to your go-to. While you may find some odd items, you will also find quality items donated by people who just no longer had a use for them. Case and point, I built an adorable outfit of a navy Calvin Klein dress and Target brand striped, navy wedges for $7! The compliments received were worth way more than $7.
- I’ve had a lot of luck with clothes there. And, if you’re like me and feel weird wearing someone else’s wardrobe, just give it a wash and you’re good to go. (Remember, the clothes you buy “new” from other stores have been tried on by who knows how many people).
- Goodwill is also a cool spot for home décor. They have a wide selection of cheap and eclectic picture frames you can use for your photos.
- There is also a large section of books, music (vinyls and CDs), and movies (DVDs and VHS tapes) that cost next to nothing.
Let’s All Go to the Library
Speaking of cheap movies, many people forget that their local library rents movies for super cheap – most library movie rentals are even free. I’ve personally checked out over 100 movies from my library and haven’t spent a dime. That’s hundreds of hours of entertainment…FOR FREE!
Another way you can save by using the library is by printing. Computer use is generally free; with printing fees around 10 cents per page. If you’re someone who doesn’t print a lot, 10 cents is better than buying ink you’ll hardly ever use.
Fun On A Grocery Run
A category we as humans spend the bulk of our money on is groceries. For families, I think bulk stores like Costco are definitely worth investing in for a membership. Since I buy groceries for just me, Aldi is my best friend. (It’s great for families, too, who are shopping for just food; necessities like paper towels, toilet paper, and garbage bags are better bought elsewhere.)
I’m able to get a month’s worth of groceries (breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks) for around $40. This will obviously vary from person-to-person and household-to-household, but Aldi is a money saver, regardless. Sometimes people are apprehensive to try off-brand items (especially food), but I can almost guarantee you’ll find at least one thing you’ll like. (They’re Brenner brand microwavable sandwiches – aka Hot Pockets – are $1.60 for two. That’s two lunches for 80 cents each!) My advice, try the off-brand and enjoy the money you save while doing it.
Everything Must Go
My last tip (for now) is to take advantage of going out of business sales. While it’s sad to see a store go under, you might as well find something good from it by saving on marked-down items. This is where I do my “future shopping”. If I see an item I know someone in my life will like, I’ll buy it and set it aside for Christmas or their birthday. Even if it’s June, I’d rather get it on sale at that time, rather than run around searching for it in November and pay twice as much.
I did this recently with Carson’s liquidation sale. Even though it was July, I got five people on my Christmas shopping list complete, (while getting a few other items), and got close $400 worth of stuff for $75! That’s hard to beat.
Until Next Time
Well, there you have it, friends – the first edition of Tidbits On How To $ave. Test these out and be sure to let me know how it goes!