I’ve written before about why it’s important to not get attached to one method of saving, and I was reminded again about that this week when I learned my local paper has discontinued their multiple Sunday newspaper subscription.
It’s times like these I need to give myself a little pep talk and regroup – and I thought I’d include you in on that pep talk today.
If you are in the couponing/frugal living world, have you noticed stuff changes? A lot? You get used to diaper coupons coming out regularly, only for them to stop without warning. Your local store stops offering a yearly sale you look forward to (Quaker sale in January anyone?). You find out your drugstore is issuing loyalty cards now. Just when you get used to saving money one way and feel like you’ve got the “game” down, the rules of the games suddenly change.
Depending on your personality, you can either grow discouraged by this, or see it as an opportunity to find new ways to save. Either way you should be prepared and be careful to grow to reliant on any one method of saving money!
New Opportunities will Come
I’d like to remind you that not all changes are bad changes. Some of you might recall a few years back Albertsons stopped allowing competitor’s coupons. There was an uproar and many couponers shook their fists saying they’d never shop there again! Guess what? At least a few of these folks changed their tune when Albertsons started to offer Twice the Value coupons.
In recent years, we’ve seen a huge uptick of strong coupons and free offers on Facebook. Amazon has become a strong source of holiday deals. Daily deals have made family outings more available, and there are ways one can earn credit for these sites, too. I bet you can think of some recent changes that have positively impacted your ability to snag a deal.
In my opinion, the ones that do the best saving money are those that take an active role and not just waiting around for the deals to come to them!
Be poised and on the lookout for new and interesting ways to save. For instance:
- Try to find “untapped deals.” For instance, I’ve found the Target toy clearance by and large a royal waste of my time, but have discovered Fred Meyer puts many toys on clearance around the same time – and not many people take advantage of that event. Look for these deals by shopping the same stores to become acquainted with their sales/markdown schedules, checking out local blogs, and reading forums.
- Try to DIY. So laundry soap hasn’t gone on sale in a long time? Might be time to take a gander making your own. Organic veggies too expensive? Grow your own – or maybe forage for berries or greens in your backyard!
- Be disloyal. This sounds like awful advice at first, doesn’t it? But hear me out. If you will only ever by Dawn dish soap, 7th Generation Diapers, or Philosophy skin care, you’re going to have a harder time saving! Same goes if you must only ever shop at Trader Joe’s – you might miss a smashing deal on similar items at Whole Foods or Fred Meyer! Or how about this one – if you can say “no” to meat for a few meals a week, you can stretch your grocery budget a bit by opting for meals made with dried peas or beans instead.
Frugal living should be an adventure, not a hardship. Living frugally has inspired me to try new things including gardening, cooking techniques, canning, shopping at different stores, DIY, foraging, and much more. It has made my life richer (both figuratively and literally, I suppose). If you let it, living frugally can also improve your character – it challenges you to live more generously, more humbly, more creatively, and more simply.
I know it can be frustrating when things change – a coupon program goes away or a store goes out of business – but I do believe so much hinges on our attitude and response.
I’d love to hear from you. What kinds of changes have you seen happen in the couponing/frugal living world? And how have you adapted? What additional advice would you give someone struggling with the constant changes?