Saturday, March 27, 2010

This edition of Frugal Friday is brought to you by our fine sponsors Technical Difficulties and Pure Frustration

who ask...Have you thrown your computer out a window today?

I have felt like that for DAYS AND DAYS now. My tiny tip of the day is computer related...sorry about the lack of post yesterday BUT I am trying to be frugal which meant not calling the computer guy. It meant letting the Hubs do whatever he does...which takes for-freakin'-EVER. Patience, patience, patience, right? WRONG! I don't watch a lot of TV and that's fine with me but if I don't get my Facebooking in {is that a new verb?} I go a little crazy. That's my not-really-related-to-anything computer frugality tip of the week. But the real Frugal Friday tip of the week actually does have to do with patience.

Have you ever been in line at the grocery store and it's a relatively short line but it's taking some time because there is a sweet old lady at the front paying with pennies and nickels? And you stand there all tolerant and smiling until she is done, then when she moves on you roll your eyes at the person in front of you as if to silently say "Oh thank we can get on with our rushed, busy day!" The person in front of you doesn't actually have too many items and you think it will roll along swiftly until the person in front of you starts asking the cashier questions and know. This is going to take forever...and a day. Um yeah, that person in front of you is probably me. And I'm not even going to apologize for it. On average, the grocery store makes a 10% mistake on every grocery bill. Whether it be something that is keyed in wrong, misadvertised in the flyer or posted incorrectly on the shelf. 10%. 10%!!! That's $10 on every hundred dollars you spend. Let's be generous and say they don't make quite that many mistakes and call it 5%. On a $100 per week grocery budget that is $20 a month you are just handing the grocery store for no reason. $240 per year. Call it a tip. For good service? Well, I don't know where you shop but my store does not have good service. For me, grocery shopping is a mission. I go in heavily armed and I come out alive every time. Because I am prepared. And one of my weapons is The Scanning Code of Practise. Click on it to learn more {plus the frugal shopper website is pretty good}. In short, this rule protects you from getting overcharged if you are willing to watch for it. They aren't going to help you out here. Ideally, watch the items as they are being scanned so you can catch it right there. No, I am not kidding I actually do this. Now, I am also a realistic Mummy with 2 little boys. So if I don't have my eyes on the scanner {because they are otherwise occupied making sure the boys don't shoplift gum by accident} I pay, bag up my groceries, put the boys back into the cart, pull some snacks out of my purse {remember, I go in heavily armed} and I park beside the Customer Service desk and carefully review my receipt to make sure it jives with the prices I saw when I picked the items up off the shelf. If I see a mistake, I am already where I need to be. Customer Service will take care of it and refund you right away. This saves me money almost every single week. And not little money either. My best purchase-for-free to date has been hair colour. I'm always asked "How much is your time worth? Do you do all of these things every single time?" No of course I don't. You pick and choose what is important to you and your schedule at the time. So the day of the hair colour mission I was at one store that happened to be right across from a drugstore. I knew I could get the hair colour at a different store for $7.99 but didn't have time. So I thought I would pay the extra $3 and make a quick stop at the drugstore. The regular price was $10.99 but was on for $8.99! Right on! It was my only purchase so I went up to the counter where the lady proceeded to ring it in at the regular price. Now this is where I remind you that this is not OK. The item is advertised at a specific price. Don't feel embarrassed about pointing out a mistake and saving yourself a few dollars. Let's say you did this just twice a month at $3 per item. $72 dollars a year back in your pocket. There is the "Oh, it's just $2" thing again. It matters. So when you see a mistake, all you have to do is politely ask "Do you adhere to the Scanning Code of Practise?" If they don't know what you are talking about get a manager. The lady at the drugstore said yes they do, re-rang in my purchase and because it was under $10 I got it for free. FREE! That's a $9.89 saving right there. And that excites me. This post could branch off a hundred different ways, but here is a list of do's when at the store:

~Go heavily armed. If you must take the children make sure they are happy and occupied. I always go right in the morning when the older one is in school and the younger one has just been fed. I often carry snacks in my purse and will have the DS or MP3 player for emergency situations only. If the children are happy, Mummy is happy.

~Try to adjust your budget so you shop once a week. This cuts down on stocking up on unneccessary items and makes it easier to keep track of your purchases. Meal plan and stick to your list. This is a whole post all on it's own...stay tuned!

~Bring your own shopping bags. {I often forget but I am working on it!} at 5 cents per bag the average week's worth of groceries could cost you another 40 or 50 cents. That's around $20 per year in savings just by bringing your own bags. Wow. $20. I have to work harder at this!

~Dump your embarrassment at the door. Pointing out an error isn't embarrassing. It might take a few extra minutes but it's worth it. Remember: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be extra polite and if you are met with hostility, put on your best smile and ask to speak with the manager. If you are met with even more hostility, smile even bigger and ask for the number of his manager. Believe me, it works. And if it saves my family money I am willing to go that extra mile. If I save $5 on my grocery bill a few times a month that is a nice lunch out. Period.

~Frugalness is all about thinking long term and avoiding instant gratification. Yes, I want to get out of the store, yes I want to get home and crack open that toblerone bar, yes I want to make sure I am not ducking daggers on my way out from the people behind me. BUT if you crunch those numbers it's just too much money to pass up. Would you walk up to someone on the street and just hand them $240? If you would, please make sure I am standing right next to you! LOL No, of course nobody would willingly give away $240 for no reason. So stop doing it unknowingly. I've given you the knowledge, now stop the cycle!

~And of course all the regular rules like don't shop hungry, distressed or 5 minutes before the store closes. You are likely to spend far more than what you actually went in for.

Watch for next week's will tie in nicely to the whole grocery store theme. Questions? Any good scores lately? {Never mind Kags!} Post them here and let's help each other out! xox


sassy said...

great ideas, I have used the scanning code of practice before but have forgot about it-thanks for the tip! ps teh coupons work! it out!

Kelly said...

I love getting stuff for free. And yes, I feel like a bit of a B**** but if I can get an item for free, why not? I always watch VERY closely as they scan my items. Especially for bulk items ... ummm, $16 for Craisens, no thanks.