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I'm here to tell you . . . all of us have moments when we don't have time for a deal, but that doesn't mean we have to spend too much. (Or, that we get to skip out on penny pinching all together!) What it does mean is that we can still shop wisely whatever the circumstances, and cut ourselves a little slack when there just isn't enough time to keep up!
This morning I ran to Walmart on my way home from exercising (without a coupon in sight), and knew that we needed a few things. I'd planned on picking up more bananas and strawberries price matched to the Aldi ad, but knew that we needed a few snacks and plastic bags as we were completely out, and I've got one more week of packing lunches before the kids are out of school! I haven't seen a great deal on Ziploc bags in forever, so I decided to see what Walmart had to offer.
Guess what? Those sandwich bags without the fancy zipper things? 150 of those are just a buck at Walmart . . . no coupon required.
And, because there are a few items that I pack that really do need those zipper things, I went ahead and bought a box of those too, which were cheaper than the Ziploc bags would have been even with a coupon. (That's not always the case, occasionally there are crazy good deals on Ziplocs, I just haven't seen them lately!)
My total? $17.25 in addition to $15 spent over the weekend at Publix for the week . . . more than I would normally spend at Walmart but still way under our family budget of $80 per week. So, here are a few tips on how to shop smartly even when you don't have a coupon:
- Compare prices. Is the store brand the cheapest? Grab it. But make sure to watch, because every so often there's a better deal on the non-store brand, especially if the items are on sale!
- Consider how much time an extra trip will take you. The Kellogg's Nutri Grain bars are a bit cheaper this week at Publix with a coupon (the store brand were $2 at Walmart), but it saved me running to an extra store (and most likely buying other things I didn't need.) So, I may have paid an extra few pennies, but my time is valuable too!
- Decide what value really matters to you. Those $1 sandwich bags without the zippers are REALLY cheap, and all I need them for is to transport my kids food safely to school without making a mess. Paying extra for “fancy” bags doesn't make sense, especially when my kids will throw those bags away as soon as they're done eating lunch. (I do try to use as many reusable containers as possible, but a few things are just easier to manage with bags.) It was worth it to me to sacrifice on quality on those because “quality” baggies really isn't necessary for my kids lunch box. . . now, if I was using them to freeze something I'd definitely pay more, but it's not worth it on certain things that don't matter!
- Cut yourself some slack. We can't all always get a deal, but we can always shop wisely. Always, always, always watch the sales ads in your store because that will be where you find the bulk of your savings, but if you have to pick something up that's not on sale it's really not the end of the world. (Promise!) Definitely try as often as you can to pinch those pennies as much as you can, but when you just don't have time for every deal, spend only what you need to spend, and move along.
Do you have any other tips on how to pinch those pennies even when you're in a hurry and don't have time for every deal? I'd love to hear them!
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