Living A Frugal Life A Frugal Life is a Rich Life Thu, 11 Sep 2014 02:15:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Tips for Raising Smart Money Kids Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:05:48 +0000

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5 Tips for Raising Smart Money Kids is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

smart money kids


Raising kids is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Raising kids who are smart about money is an even tougher job. Are you up for the challenge? These five tips on raising money smart kids will help you focus on raising kids who are smart about their money.

#1. Talk About Money

Don’t spend their whole child hood not talking about money. Kids need to hear their parents talking about money and solving their money problems. It’s important that your kids don’t grow up thinking you’re perfect with your cash because you’re not. Do not be afraid to talk about money in every light possible.

#2. How to Spend Money

Some parents don’t teach their kids how to spend money. When your child reaches adulthood and are faced with all of this “pressure” on how to spend their money, they may not spend it right. That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about spending money. Let them spend their own money and make mistakes. It’s okay if you’re there to guide them, but let them make the majority of their decisions. Isn’t it better if the learn about money mistakes as a child (where it’s harmless), then as an adult? Adults have larger repercussions then children when it comes to spending money the right way.

#3. Balancing an Account

Spending money and not balancing an account is how the majority of Americans spend their cash. However, balancing an account is one of the best ways you can raise kids who are smart about their money. You can teach this lesson when children are little by having them write down everything they buy. You help them subtract it form the overall balance they had before they started spending. When it comes to money lessons and children, this should be on the top of the lesson list.

#4. Handling Money

Kids should know that not all money comes in the form of credit or debit. Your children should be able to touch and feel the cash they are about to spend. Most money experts would agree that cash hurts when you spend it, using a card doesn’t. Allow your kids the chance to handle the money they own. Also, let them pay with cash when they do make a purchase. This is something they really need to experience to understand.

#5. Money isn’t Free

A lot of children grow up with a sense of entitlement about money and “things.” From an early age, all children should understand that money doesn’t come free. There’s always a price to be paid. Whenever you spend $50 on a meal eating out, that is a couple of hour’s worth of work. You should teach them that time is money and it’s important to be wise about where it’s spent.


Check out more ways to teach your kids to save money!

5 Tips for Raising Smart Money Kids is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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How to Keep Track of Individual Bills + Free Printable Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:07:03 +0000

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How to Keep Track of Individual Bills + Free Printable is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

How to Track Individual Bills

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to keep track of each individual bill you own? This Individual Bill Worksheet is perfect for this. It allows you to see when the you paid the bill, the amount you paid, and what your balance is. This is great for keeping track of your bills without having to keep track of each actual bill in your home.

Individual Bill

Since we went from not having many bills to have a TON of bills, I was looking for a way to simplify things. We are currently using these bill worksheets as a way to make sure our bills are getting paid and as a way to keep track of things. Paying down debt is not easy at all. However, I’d like to make it easy because no one has time for nonsense.

I’d like to share this printable with you. You can actually download it by following this link… Individual_Bill_Worksheet.

Be sure to check out the other family budget printables!

You can also get more tips on a perfect family budget here!

How to Keep Track of Individual Bills + Free Printable is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Saving Grocery Money By Cooking From Scratch Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:07:01 +0000

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Saving Grocery Money By Cooking From Scratch is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

Cooking From Scratch and how it saves you money.jpg

If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE 

Cooking from scratch has always been something I have loved to do. I never realized the benefits it has to my family or to my pocketbook until I was married for a few years. 

We spent way too much money on processed stuff that was doing nothing for us.  When I decided to start cooking regularly, I was able to dramatically shrink our bill.

It is strange because I think one of the most common misconceptions is that cooking from scratch costs a lot of money.  For most people the opposite happens.  When they begin to cook from scratch you actually spend less.

One of the biggest reasons this happens is because cooking from scratch keeps your pantry simple. – When you cook from scratch you tend to use the same basic ingredients. This means you buy less items to stockpile in your pantry.

  1. You use the same recipes often but do variations of them – I find when I cook from scratch I have base recipes of things that I then can add things to. When we make muffins we have a few items that make the base muffin mix and add the fruits or other items to make them different.
  2. The basic items cost less – Buying base items in bulk cost less then being food pre-prepared, so it saves you money.

There are many other benefits to your family as well.  Cooking this way has less additives and preservatives.  This means your family is getting more of the bulk and goodness of the vegetables and fruits.  It helps your family to maintain a healthy weight and to have a healthy lifestyle for life.

If you are looking for some great recipes to help you start to cook from scratch for your family, check out my Frugal Recipes!

Saving Grocery Money By Cooking From Scratch is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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How to Track Monthly Bills+Free Printable Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:00:30 +0000

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How to Track Monthly Bills+Free Printable is a post from: Living A Frugal Life



My husband and I are not new to having to pay bills, especially since he’s been through law school and now we’re living with debt. Since he’s done with law school, it’s important we take the time to know what bills are due and when. Paying a bill late is not an option, so that’s one reason I created this bills worksheet! Here’s a little more on this worksheet and how it can help your budget.

Bills are probably one of the most stressful parts of living the adult life. It’s hard because you need to make sure you have enough money every month to meet the demands of having bills. It’s best if you can sit down and write down what each bill is, amount owed, when it’s due, and so on. Having all of this information in one place is ideal because then you can make sure every bill is delivered on time.

What if you have a large bill you’re paying on? Well, unless you’re relying on the company to send you a bill every month, you might forget exactly what you paid. Putting this information all down in one spot is one way you can reach financial freedom.

monthly bill tracker photo

I’ve created this monthly bill tracker to hopefully make your bill paying life a little easier. With life and kids in the picture, it can be hard to remember to pay something like a bill. With this monthly bill tracker, you’ll be good to go in the bill department. It includes

  • Bill
  • Amount Owed
  • Date Paid
  • Actual Amount Paid
  • Balance

I’d suggest putting this in a binder to start with. Put it in a place you can go back to every month to check. And don’t forget that one of the main parts of this whole “bill” paying this is to remain consistent.

You can actually view the printable and download it  with this link. Monthly_Bill_Tracker.

Please let me know what you think and if you used this printable (and if it helped you)!

How to Track Monthly Bills+Free Printable is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Using Local Markets To Save Money On Grocery Shopping Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:09:55 +0000

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Using Local Markets To Save Money On Grocery Shopping is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

 Save money on grocery

If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE.

When we were first married I was a one store shopper.  Like most people in the US we went to the closest place to our house and never cared to research prices or other stores that may save us money.  We had a Save Mart close to us and we went and shopped there religiously.

That all changed when I started to be aware of money and where it was going.  We were spending over $600 a month on our family of 4.  So I began to branch out when I started couponing.  I started to go to other stores and found some great deals and much better quality of produce and meats at lower prices.

Then one day a friend of mine rocked my world.  She told me about a market in down town Fresno that was open year round and sold fresh produce for mostly $.50 a pound!  I  was shocked! I had no idea this place existed. Heck, I didn’t even know they could sell produce for that cheap and make money!

I headed down town and was overwhelmed with the choices.  It took me about 30 minutes just to decide what to get.  I was so excited I came home and called everyone I know. I told them that they had to go check this out.  It was amazing to go and leave with a weeks worth of produce for about $10!!!

The produce was great!  It was a market run by local members of the community, they took cash only and were very helpful.  The fact that the market was year round was a HUGE plus because I was able to get the in season items.  During the winter I honestly had no idea what to do with 1/2 the things, but I was able to consistently get all the produce we needed for about $10 a week!!!

Not all farmers markets are the same

Not all markets are the same however.  We went to the weekly farmers market that is close to our home and the prices were higher then the sale prices at the stores.  This market is more about the feel of the market rather then the produce itself.

We have another one in the area that has prices similar to the store but it only runs a few months out of the year.  It is important to know how your farmers market runs when you are planning on using it regularly.

It is also important to know other things as when like your price points.  This can determine if a market is worth your time and your money to go to.  Be sure you also know if you want organic or non-organic produce as the markets will vary on that as well.

Finding a local farmers market

So how do you find your local market?  First off you want to search the internet.  This is a great way to find the high traffic places and to get your feet wet with local markets.

The second thing you want to do is ask everyone you know if they know of a market.  That market I talked about is not advertised anywhere, so if my friend hadn’t told me I would have never known.

Lastly, you need to be prepared.  Take only the cash you want to spend, have your own bags, and if the price isn’t right be prepared to walk away with nothing.  Finding a market you like is a learning process, sometimes you have to go through 3-4 to get the one you want and need, so don’t be afraid to try out different options!

Do you have any tips for finding or shopping at a local market?

Using Local Markets To Save Money On Grocery Shopping is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Saving Money On Food By Shopping Through Co-ops Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:00:17 +0000

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Saving Money On Food By Shopping Through Co-ops is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

Saving Money On Food By Shopping Through Co-ops

If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE.  

A Food Co-op is a way to save money on food while still shopping for it locally. It is food distribution outlet that acts like a cooperative. That means the decisions about the production and distribution of its food is chosen by its members.  So In a co-op you get to say what type of food you get if it is organic or non-organic, how it is grown and where it is grown.  

Food Co-ops are  are wonderful for those who aren’t afraid to try to cook new things.  They are also wonderful if you want the freshest produce for the cheapest price.  For those who are not so comfortable with those things, they are a bit harder to use unless you are able to get past that.

Benefits of a food co-op

Even though stores buy in season items closer to the actual store, they still have to include transport time and shelf life into their decision when to pick.  Food co-ops usually get their produce the day of or day after the produce is picked. so it can be the freshest and most prime time for picking.  A lot of people say this makes the produce taste better.

Most co-ops get you the produce at around 50% off the price the store. This is often cheaper then when you shop the sale prices at stores.

This is also a great way to get your family eating a variety of healthy fruits and veggies.  During the summer there are lots of fruits and winter there is usually more veggies in your packs.  When you get new things you have never cooked before you learn new ways to cook them and your family tries new items.

Some co-ops even include breads.  This is an added bonus if you have a co-op near you that includes bread, as this is a huge cost for a lot of people.  It is also usually freshly made and very healthy.

How to find a local food co-op

To find a co-op I would start on the internet look up “food co-op” and your city and see what comes up. Another good place to search is facebook as lots of local co-ops will have facebook groups or pages.

Second, you could do a search Bountiful Baskets to see if your state and city are included in their program.  This is one of the cheapest and best co-ops I have seen so if you can get in on this I would definitely do it!

Third, I would ask grocers and food market participants if they know of any in your area.  They may know if some if they participate in selling their produce to them.

Lastly, I would ask everyone around you if they know of one.  If they don’t you may want to get a group of neighbors together and start your own co-op.

Do you have any tips for finding or Using a Co-op?  Have you ever used one?  What has your experience been?

Be sure to check out other ways to save money on food!

Saving Money On Food By Shopping Through Co-ops is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Getting Outside, Even In The Heat Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:31:52 +0000

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Getting Outside, Even In The Heat is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

It is summer and while for most places that means it is a time of playing outside and climbing trees, for us it is a time of scorching heat and sweat dripping of you when you go get the mail.

Getting Your Kids Outside When It is Hot

It is SO hard to even think about taking your kids outside to play, let alone making it happen.  

Didn’t I just say…..

With 4 kids it is an undertaking at least.  The conversation usually goes like this:

Me: “Kids, it is time to go play outside.  you need to get your shoes on.”

Kids: “yay I love playing outside”

Me: “I am going to put my shoes on, get yours on so we can go out.”

3 minutes later….

Me:”ok, I am done lets g……. why don’t you have your shoes on?  Where is Quinn so I can get his shoes on?  Please get your shoes on….. come on guys!  you said you wanted to go out!” 

Kids: “we are getting them!”

Me: “OK, I am going to put Quinn’s shoes on, get yours on before I am done.”

3 minutes later……

Me: “ok,….. Where are your shoes??  I seriously thought I just tod you to put them on!  Braxton, Reagan, Kiley…. here are your shoes PLEASE put them on.  If we wait any longer it is going to be too hot and we wont be able to go play at all.  come on!”

5 minutes later…..

Me: “ok, 2 of you finally listened, 1 to go…. Reagan, PLEASE get your shoes on!!!!!  I am trying to not get upset, but I really need you to get them on so we can be outside for a bit.  Reagan,….Reagan,…. yay!  you finally got one on….  ok, now for the other one.  you got this.  keep going…. ok, you put your toes in… keep going… your doing great!!!!  YAY!!!  you got your shoes on!”

I turn to go open the door and turn back around……

Me: “seriously Kiley???  Where are your shoes????  You just had them on, where are they?

Kiley: “In da bafroom”

Me: “what are they doing in the bathroom?”

Kiley: “I don’t know…”

I close the door, go into the bathroom get the shoes and put them on her.  Then I go back and open the door.  

Quinn and Braxton usually walk out no problem.  Kiley usually has a battle with me about taking her whole room of toys out to play.  I tell her to not take them out that we are going out to run and play with the outside toys.  

After about 5 minutes she finally agrees to go out without taking anything.  Then Reagan comes to the door.  “AHHHHH!  It is too… (picture this in the whinniest voice you can imagine)  hot!!  I don’t want to go out…. where are my sun glasses????  I am hot!!!!”

Me: “Reagan, please just go out!  Quinn is out there and I need to go get him.”

Reagan: “But it is too hot!  I don’t want to get hot!”  (yes she is 6 going on 16)

At this point I usually end up pushing her out the door and locking it behind me and go get Quinn.

Playing outside with kids

Kids Need To Be Outside

I know it is important for them to go out and play, but with all that work I have to really mentally get myself prepared.  So I usually like to spend our outside time somewhere with others so I can get some help when I have an emotional meltdown… I mean the kids have an emotional meltdown…*wink, wink*

A couple weeks ago, We were at my moms and took the kids in the front to ride bikes.  My 7 year old learned to ride a bike about a year ago.  Reagan had never ridden a bike without training wheels and my husband was on his day off of studying and this was our chance to get her taught.    

The Lessons Begin

My husband took her out on her brothers bike and did the best thing he could.  He got her started riding while he ran behind the bike.  Up and down the street he ran while she got used to balancing while peddling.

After about 5 times up and down the street he started running and then let go.  She kept going then noticed dad wasn’t around her.  We were all holding our breath hoping she wouldn’t fall when she started to get worried because dad wasn’t with her.

But it was the opposite.  She was so proud of herself and she just kept going.

I knew we had to get her a bike of her own.  So we took her to Kmart to get a bike!

Kmart Kids Bikes

There was a huge selection of bikes at different price ranges.

It was hard to pick, because they even had a variety of character bikes which had bags and horns.

Girls Dragonfly Bike

We picked out a 16 inch dragonfly bike.  She loves it! I love the colors too!  It is SO her!

Girls Bikes From Kmart

What is even better is that we now have a bike for each of our bike riders!  That means more outside bike riding time and hopefully more excitement to get outside for everyone!

This post was sponsored by Kmart, but all opinions and experiences are my own!

Getting Outside, Even In The Heat is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Saving Money At The Grocery Store By Price Matching Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:34:55 +0000

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Saving Money At The Grocery Store By Price Matching is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

price matching to save you money on Groceries

If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE

Each time I go out to grocery shop, I have one of these two situations to deal with.

Stop touching your brother!

Me loading 4 kids into the car and driving to the store where I take them all out and load 2 of the littles into the cart.  Usually one kid in the cart seat and the other in the basket.  Then I load the other 2 on the side of the cart and push it  into the store.  While in the store, My time is usually taken up with me telling my kids to stop touching, stop running away… “where did you go??”  “why are you touching that?  I have told you 3 times to put it down.”  “No, you can’t have that candy, put it down.”   “sit down!”  Ya, you get the idea. Or….

Toothpicks holding the eyelids up

It is 9:30 at night.  I am able to go to the store by myself. (YAY!!! PARTY!!!!)  BUT most of the stores close between 10pm and 11pm.  I literally have time to go to 1 maaayyyybe 2 stores and then it will be too late and I will be totally exhausted because of a crazy day and a crazy late trip to the grocery store.

But when you are on a tight budget, you are always looking for the best deals, the way you can only buy what is the cheapest at the store.  So how do you do this when you have no time or a ton of other things that keep you from getting in and out like you want to?

Price matching to the rescue!!!!!

Price matching means that you go into a store with ads from other stores and you are given the advertised price on the same product in the ad.  For most places that item has to be the exact same size, item name and look as the ad.

There are very few stores that are national chains that price match.  Walmart and Target both price match with certain restrictions.  Those are the only 2 food stores that I am aware of that match consistently.  This doesn’t mean that some of your local grocery stores wont price match as well.

Keep your eyes open!

We spent 5 years in an area before we found a local grocery store that price matched.  This was mostly because we weren’t looking for it.  I am sure we would have found it much earlier if we had known what to do.

To find out if your local store price matches, go into your local grocery stores, find an employee, and ask them if they price match.  Sounds simple hu???  It is!  You may be surprised to find a store that does price match in your area.  If you still don’t find one, always price match at Walmart or Target.  You can get it all in 1 spot and get all the deals you need while you are there.

This is the best way to save money on food especially on fresh items such as meats and fruits and vegetables.  So if you are into organics or eating clean or fresh, you are able to get the best deals in the area in 1 stop.  This saves on gas and time as well as money!  It is a Win, Win!

Saving Money At The Grocery Store By Price Matching is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Fresh and Easy Quick Meals Saved My Day! Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:00:41 +0000

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Fresh and Easy Quick Meals Saved My Day! is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

Thank you to Fresh & Easy for sponsoring this post and keeping my meals quick and healthy!

Summer has been crazy for us.  We have moved and been trying to purge a lot of our things we had in our garage in Southern California.  Not to mention the over 100 degree weather that we have had to battle at least 60% of the time we have been here.

fresh and easy to go meals

This summer has been crazy!  I am trying to get into a groove and have a routine, but I have really struggled to make that happen.  Some days I am lucky to get dinner on the table.

I can’t tell you how tempted I have been to just go get fast food or serve cereal or popcorn for dinner.  (popcorn is a vegetable right?)

I am being good.  Cooking for my family as much as possible so we don’t spend unneeded money and so we can get healthier and loose the law school weight that my husband and I have both put on.  So I have been trying to find recipes and options that are fast and healthy and don’t cost a ton for the family to eat.

normal life

But there are those days when I am just done with trying to make it work, I am needing a break or just out of time to get everything done.

We had one of those days this last week.  I was busy getting ready for the 4th of July sale for the woman and girls clothing boutiques I have been doing.  I had no time to get dinner done while the sale was happening and I needed something I could put in and cook between customers.

Fresh and Easy

At times like these I am so grateful for Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market that does all the prep work for me.

Ready to cook Meals

So I put all 4 kids in the car and headed over to Fresh and Easy.  We went in and we able to go straight to the family size section of their fresh made ready to cook meals.  There was so many choices!

Fresh and Easy Meal Ideas

I picked out a chicken and cheese macaroni pasta with bacon, some fresh green beans and carrots on the side and some breadsticks for an added bonus!  It took me about 15 minutes to cook and serve and everyone was happy!!!  Can’t beat that!

Fresh to go

Way better then fast food that costs me a ton for our family of 6.  Everyone was loving it!

If you are in CA, NV, or AZ, find out if there is a Fresh and Easy Market location near you so you can take advantage of the fresh pre-prepared meals check out their store locator!  Get your family fresh meals and you get the quick prep time you need!

Fresh and Easy Quick Meals Saved My Day! is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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Saving Money On Grocery Shopping through Knowing Your Grocery Store Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:04:38 +0000

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Saving Money On Grocery Shopping through Knowing Your Grocery Store is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

saving money in grocery shopping by knowing your grocery store

If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE

Way back when we we started to be aware of our money and where it was going we were crazy busy.  I had finished my 4 year degree in 2006 and I had a baby about 3 months later.  I was the typical new mom that wanted her child to be perfect, which means I was busy schooling him (at 6 months..*eye roll*), going to the park and giving him every experience out there and managing our money.  (#aintnobodygottimeforthat).

While trying to have the perfect life we ended up going through the small savings we had very quickly.  We were buying diapers and food and all the “normal” things that you buy for your baby.  My husband was in school 16 hours a week, working 4-5 hours a day and doing homework.  Not to mention spending time with his family.

Our days were full but we were trying to make our income stretch further and further.  We tried to find ways we could stretch our money on food.  As we looked at our shopping habits to try to find ways to save, we realized that there were things that wasted out time just as much as it wasted our money.  And time is money right?

We realized that a huge time and money saver was to know the layout of our store.  This does so much to help you to make the most of your money. If you know when your grocery store you know when they mark down produce or meats. you know when the best time to get the sales are so they aren’t out of product. You know who to talk to about how to cook meats and the best way to store them.  Each of these things helps you save money by having the largest selection of clearance items. It also helps you to be able to cook what is on sale.

It also helps you avoid the pitfalls of the promotional items and the purchase of impulse buys as you walk around the aisles trying to find the item you need.  This was usually me in the store.  Walking around the store and glancing from side to side as I walked through.  then I spotted the newest cereal and “oh look at that! ”  I then pick up the box to check it out, turning it around a few times.  Then decided to give it a try and would put it in the cart.  Was I even there to buy cereal?… NO!  But I bought it anyways because it was new and I HAD to try it!

You don’t know until you ask

To learn your store, remember to ask questions. You can’t learn unless you ask a few people when the clearances happen. You don’t know how to cook the sale meat unless you ask the butcher. You get to know them and their names and they get to know you. Then they give you first pick and talk to you like a friend.

The employees are your friends!

When talking with the workers of the store make sure you tell them a little about you so they feel like they know you and know what your goals.  Tell them you are trying to learn about the different cuts of meat or the different ways to pick produce.  Ask what they do with the produce they take off the floor.  See if you can get things at a discount if you buy in bulk.  This will help them to feel comfortable with you and trust that you aren’t taking advantage of them, just trying to get the best deals and feed your family on a budget.

Get your workout in while at the store

Another thing you can do is get to know how your store sets up promotional items.  Get to know how your store organizes items in the store. The items on the top or bottom shelves that most people don’t see because they usually only see what is at eye level.  Get to know how their end caps work and where to find the best priced items.

Don’t be a man, ask for directions

Lots of stores have physical maps that list what items are in each aisle.  This can usually be found on the stores websites or at the customer service desk.  This will help you make a plan so you can get in and out of the store faster and to help you to avoid the spending traps!

Do you have any other ways to get to know your store? Please share them in the comments!

Be sure to also check out how to save money on grocery shopping by reading your sales flyer

Saving Money On Grocery Shopping through Knowing Your Grocery Store is a post from: Living A Frugal Life

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