Being a cheapskate is a lot of work sometimes and you really have to know what you’re doing. It actually takes awhile to get into the flow of things and there is definitely a learning curve at the beginning. I think if miserliness was somewhat ingrained in you as a child, it’s much easier to understand and get into the flow of being a cheapskate like me.
I had only received one set of coupons this past week so I decided to let the update slide and get back to writing a real entry about being a cheapskate. I wanted to talk about the three things you should sign-up for as a cheapskate.
Club Cards: Most large chains now have a little card that you keep on your person to swipe before or after your transaction to get a deal. I cannot believe how many people I see getting on line in a store trying to buy things on sale and then are completely clueless as to why the sale isn’t working for them. You really need to be careful and know your prices because sometimes a “sale” isn’t really one. For example, I went by Stop N Shop and they had a big pile of Cheez-It boxes at the front of the store that said “2 for $6.00” with your card of course. I know that these are regularly on sale for $1.50-$2.00 elsewhere so I would skip that—I don’t want to shop at places that jack up their prices to “lower” them at a later time. Hint: You might realize you have more of these club cards on your key ring than actual keys after awhile. My solution is to simply keep all of your cards on a separate key ring and only bring them with you if you are going to the store or if you think you are going to the store. If you drive everywhere, that’s easy to keep in your car. If you walk everywhere, that’s easy to keep in your bag.
Coupon Sites: There are the main coupon sites (RedPlum.com, Coupons.com and SmartSource.com) that many people frequent. If you are lucky enough, you shop at a chain that allows you to directly place coupons on your card online, avoiding the hassle and waste of printing and cutting them out yourself. I also check out other sites (BettyCrocker.com and P&Gs website) that also put coupons up that may or may not cross-over with the main coupon sites. If you have specific brands or companies that you are loyal to, sign-up for their mailing lists. Many companies will mail you coupons or offers from time to time and others will tell you to contact them every three months if they do not have a “coupon list.” Hint: If you do not want to clog your e-mail with coupons and coupon-related offers, set-up a separate e-mail account for this.
Free Samples: I have received a number of free samples ever since I started signing up to receive them a month ago. I know more samples will be on their way and that’s good for me. As mentioned above, if you don’t want to clog your e-mail with “stuff” you can use your separate e-mail address for this as well. Many times you can just click on the box that you do not want to be contacted. Not only are the free samples useful but some even come with coupons. I have received travel-sized toothpaste (good so that I don’t have to buy my own), Breathe-Right strips (good because I have always wanted to try before I buy), cat food (good because it will provide 3-5 meals), tissues (good for the car) and a dish washing packet. Hint: You don’t have to search around for these free samples, as there are people who already do that for you. Subscribe to a blog (Money Saving Mom, for example) and check daily in the freebies section. Websites like hers are great because she posts tons of other information as well—limited coupon offers, advice, drugstore deals, etc and they’re all right there for you—no work on your part necessary.
Stay cheap my friends!