Frugality 101: The 3 Basic Steps To Saving More Money & Time

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We’re not just about coupons. Here at Mambo, our main focus is on quality – getting the most value for your time and money. The higher quality foods, personal care and home items add to the quality of life. In a harsh economy, we find our budgets and schedules being squeezed tighter and tighter. But frugality doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. It means making careful decisions about how we spend our limited resources – our time & money. Plus, there is a green side effect of frugality, as conserving resources and minimizing waste is the way of it. It will change the way that important decisions are made – decisions that determine your family’s quality of life. So, here are three simple steps to get you started!

1. Track prices.

Got an old notebook laying around? Grab your latest receipts or sales flyers and start jotting down the prices for each item. After you’ve done this for several weeks, you’ll know for certain whether those salmon fillets on sale for $7.99/lb. are a bargain or not. It will be easy to know which items are worth waiting to get on sale or not. You’ll become a savvier shopper. Tracking prices works for anything you need to purchase, not just groceries. Start tracking prices on everything you need to purchase on a regular basis and you’ll see savings! Download Uncommon Way To Wealth’s free Grocery Price-Book Spreadsheet for free. Or try a pen-and-paper price-book, like the one from The Complete Tightwad Gazette, described here at Get Rich Slowly’s blog. Oh, and one more thing. Check out Evernote, an app for your smartphone or PDA that lets you keep track of, well, everything. Including prices.

2. Hunt down the best coupons.

Of course, here at Mambo, we can honestly and proudly say that we have the absolute best coupons you’ll find on the highest quality stuff. But many people hunt down extra savings by combining store coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, doubling coupons at participating stores, and waiting until the coupon items are on sale. Hunting means waiting for the opportune moment and then striking with a strategy. Ready to start? Check coupon websites, manufacturer websites, coupon forums, newspaper ads, store sales flyers, store websites and coupon blogs to start saving a bundle every time you shop. Read Smart Money’s 5 Best Coupon-Clipping Web Sites here. Ready to take your coupon clipping savvy to the next level? Play The Grocery Game. It’s free and challenging, but with big rewards!

3. Do some homework.

The frugal people of the world may hoard bulk jars of peanut butter, but they don’t usually hoard their secrets. Check out some of the best blogs & sites with a frugal perspective to gather free tips, tricks and strategies for saving more time and money. Here’s our Fave Five.

  • BeingFrugal.net is a one stop-shop for free advice for anyone, beginners to experts!
  • Frugal Dad offers up some of the most frugal tips and tricks for everyday life.
  • Get Rich Slowly gives you clear answers to frugal questions and ideas for making the right changes for your financial health.
  • Frugal Family Fun Blog is authored by Valerie, mom of 2 girls, sharing creative fun and quality time ideas for frugal families.
  • Wise Bread’s website may be the ultimate in frugal resources. A “How-To Library”, daily list of deals, and plethora of hot topic posts all reside here.
Bonus tip:

Keep in mind how much your time is worth. Don’t get too carried away and spend an hour hunting down a 50-cents-off coupon. Your time is worth more than that! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t save much at first. Over a few weeks, you’ll see an improvement in the way you manage your resources and frugality will become second nature!

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