“I only buy it if I have a coupon.”
Have you ever made this statement or known someone who has? In my opinion, this isn’t being a coupon snob as much as it’s like wearing horse blinders. By creating some crazy, restrictive, and arbitrary rule for yourself like this you not only miss key savings opportunities, you become dangerously reliant on a system that could change without notice, at any time.
Diversification isn’t just for Retirement
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you might have noticed a subtle shift from exclusively sharing coupon deals to sharing different ways to save money. Why?
Because I believe a successful method to saving money involves diversification. Here, I made a handy Excel pie chart to illustrate what I’m getting at:
This isn’t exactly my own breakdown of savings, but it gives you an idea of how a good plan for saving money might work.
- Perhaps Costco or a local butcher or Zaycon is a good place for you to save on meat.
- You watch sites like Amazon for good deals on diapers, and maybe you even earn Swagbucks to lower your out of pocket cost.
- You grow your own kale, herbs, lettuce, and carrots to save money on produce.
- You shop stores like Grocery Outlet for deep discounts on organic items.
- You snag vouchers from Living Social and Groupon for discounts on local grocers.
The advantages of Diversification
So why am I taking the time to encourage you to try new methods of saving money? A few reasons, really:
- Stuff changes. In the past couple years, we have seen coupon policy changes at many, many stores. Some ends up being in the couponer’s favor (which is always AWESOME), but in some cases, the store changes the game and leaves couponers feeling confused and frustrated. If you know how to save at a variety of stores, this change will be less jarring for you. Case in point. I’ve not appreciated all the changes I’ve seen go down at the drugstores lately. This isn’t a huge blow to me because I’m aware there are other places I can shop.
- You feel empowered. So no one has soap or laundry detergent on sale this week? Well, since you’ve taken out the time to learn to make it yourself, this is no problem. I’m becoming an avid fan of learning to make and do things for yourself. Whether it’s learning to make your own vegetable stock or sandwich bread, picking up a few skills can make you realize you’re capable of doing much more than you think.
- Being flexible = being frugal. As I was contemplating this last night, it occurred to me that true frugality is about being flexible. Learning how to do more with less. Learning how to make substitutions in cooking. Learning to throw a fantastic dinner from whatever you happen to have in your pantry. Learning at how to shop best at whatever stores may be in your area.
Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired, but I truly enjoy rotating the stores I shop at. Last week, I hit up Fred Meyer and Grocery Outlet, but the week before it was WinCo Foods. I also have shopped Whole Foods Market, Top Food and Drug, Safeway, and QFC in the last month. (I consolidate my shopping trips though, so I’m not actually at a store every day!) Now here’s the cool thing – I found some wonderful deals at EACH of these stores! Unadvertised stuff, tearpad coupons, rebates, and more.
My Mission Here at TheCouponProject
Yes, you can count on me to share how to use coupons to save money. I believe coupons work. But I believe if that’s all I share, I’m not doing my job in helping make a meaningful difference in saving you money. And that is exactly why you find other posts around here…
- Local consignment sales.
- Recipes and DIY posts.
- Series on how to cook with different produce and bulk food items.
- Amazon and online finds.
- Posts on farmer’s markets and gardening.
If “variety is the spice of life,” may your shopping and savings journey always be spicy.
Do you think you do a good job saving in a variety of ways? Or have you gotten in a “savings rut”? Do you know people who are so focused on one method of savings that they miss other opportunities?