Shopping

‘Total’ly Awesome Savings


It’s no secret that cash registers make mistakes.  Items ring up at the wrong price.  Sale discounts are not always applied.  You may have selected an item that you thought was on sale but isn’t actually included.  And the list goes on…  For all of these reasons, I like to keep my eye on the screen as the cashier is working.  Admittedly, even though I really try to pay attention, it can be hard to keep up.  Seasoned cashiers work at lightening speeds, so the screen is scrolling at a pace of one line per nanosecond.  Different stores display sale prices differently – some right below the item; others show all discounts at the end of the transaction.  And you might as well forget it if someone you know walks by and says a quick hello.  Just because you can’t keep up during the scanning process doesn’t mean that you can’t make sure that you are paying accurate prices.  The ultimate safety net?  Know your total before you get to the checkout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always having a detailed shopping list is a good first step.  After completing your list, calculate the total (after all sales and coupons) for all items you expect to buy.  Jot this down at the bottom of your list.  You may have to make an adjustment once you are in the store for any out-of-stock items that you could not purchase (Don’t forget to ask for a raincheck!) or the occasional shiny object that you just couldn’t pass up.  Take a moment before you get in line to recalculate your total.  When the cashier has finished ringing up your purchases, compare the total on the register screen to the one on your list.  If there is a discrepancy, figure out why before paying.  Once you pay you cannot correct mistakes without doing a full return then ringing all the items again.  I shop regularly at CVS and Walgreens.  The cashiers know how hard I work to stretch my pennies as far as possible.  Because they are some of my BFFs (best frugal friends), they finish scanning my items then ask, “Is that the right total?”  At other stores the cashiers are not so helpful and, as mentioned at the outset, it is easy to get distracted or flustered so that we find ourselves taking the receipt from the cashier without really knowing how much we just paid.  Don’t fret, my penny-pinching pets!  There is a safety net for your safety net.  Before leaving the store (The polite thing is to pull over out of everyone’s way.) check the total on your receipt.  If there is a discrepancy, use your shopping list to find the mistake.  Take your receipt to the customer service desk (In some stores, like drug stores, this means going back to the cashier.  If this is the case, get back in line.  Don’t expect to cut in front of somebody just because you were just there.) before you leave the store and have them make any necessary adjustments.  Vigilance is vital for penny-pinching success!

 

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Posted January 5th, 2015 by PennyP


Penny-Pinching Personal Shoppers


When it comes to penny-pinching ideas, the number-one excuse is, “I don’t have time for that!”  This is most definitely true when you start talking about ways to save money by shopping sales and using coupons.  I’ll admit there is time involved in matching coupons to sales to get the best deals.  Like you, when I’m shopping I see those wackos skulking up and down the aisles with a 50-pound coupon binder in the front of the cart.  I know that they have already been there an hour or more before I arrived and will be there at least that much longer after I leave.  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t help but admire the incredible amount of money that they save, but the truth is, I don’t have time for that!  Here’s a questions for you.  If you could save as much money by putting in less than half the time and effort, would you do it?  I’m here to tell you that you can!!!  Thankfully for the rest of us, a few of those “wackos” are kind enough to share their discoveries via blogs.  That means from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere you can access the internet) you can find the best deals on the things you buy at the stores where you shop.  I have two favorites that I have been using for a little over a year.  I have learned sooooo much from them and have saved soooooo much money.  There tends to be quite a bit of overlap between the two sites, but I think it’s worth it to keep up with both in order to catch more great deals.  You can register to receive daily emails from each site.  Below you will find an overview of each blog and a few suggestions as to how you can benefit the most.

 

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  •  The homepage shows a list of recent posts.  Click on the title link at the top or “Read More” to see all the details.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the post page to read comments from bloggers and readers.  These comments can really help you to avoid pitfalls and make sure that you have all the details for any given deal.
  • You can narrow posts down to a particular store by clicking on “Grocery Store Deals” or “Drug Store Deals” in the black header on the homepage.

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  • On the homepage posts are listed according to date.  You will find deal details in each post.
  • To read comments, click on the “Comment” link at the lower right corner of each post.
  • Find deals for a particular store by clicking “Stores” in the yellow header of the homepage.

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How to Get the Most from Your Penny-Pinching Personal Shoppers

  •  Pick one store and start there.  Drug stores are a good choice since the stores are smaller and you are likely to purchase fewer items each week compared to grocery stores.  (I started with CVS).  Learn the details of its rewards program and its coupon policy.  By focusing on only one store, you can ignore ALL THE OTHER deals that are posted each day.  Since there are a lot of them, you could easily be overwhelmed.
  • To keep track of the deals each week, I email myself a copy of the post link with a description of the deal in the subject line. (Example:  $1 Pantene Shampoo at CVS Week of December 28).  I move the email from my inbox to a folder in my email marked “Weekly Shopping List/CVS).
  • If there is a printable coupon associated with the deal, it is best to print it right away.  Otherwise, it may not be available.  Both Couponaholic.net and TheKrazyCouponLady.com will provide direct links for printable coupons.  For coupons at coupons.com, you should use InboxDollars.com instead.  That way you can earn money for each coupon you print and redeem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • A little restraint goes a long way.  Keep in mind that not every good deal is good for you.  Don’t buy more than you can use/store before the item expires.  Don’t buy things you don’t use (dah!).  All the more reason to pick one store and stick to that store only until you get a few couponing skills under your belt.  Get to know your penny-pinching personal shoppers.  You can never have too many frugal friends!

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Posted December 29th, 2014 by PennyP


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