My friend came up with the term “Cheapo Geek” to describe “one who not only likes a good deal but focuses, needs, relies & obsesses over the best deal”. Um, yeah, that would be me.
It’s easier than you think to save money on all your purchases, and nobody has to know except you and your bank account! Saving money used to be more challenging in general, but these days, most people have access to the Internet and/or a mobile device with a data plan.
Here’s how you can quickly become a deal-seeking geek:
Simply Frugal – This website is easy to navigate and completely Canadian! I have to admit, part of the frugal fun is doing the work yourself but if you’re too busy or just getting started, Simply Frugal will point you in the right direction. I follow @SimplyFrugal on Twitter to alert me to new offers or good coupon matchups that I might have missed.
Grocery Alerts – You may feel a bit overwhelmed here if you’re new to frugal living, but once you get the hang of it, you will find this site to be a beneficial resource. It contains links to all the grocery flyers across Canada as well as a searchable coupon database.
No Frills Won’t Be Beat – This website hosted by No Frills offers price comparisons against major competitors. More importantly, this site allows you to research prices of popular items without having to check and make notes at multiple stores. Once you “know” what the baseline prices are for your favourite products, you will never need to ask, “Is this a good price?” You will automatically know whether to pass on the item or stock up when it is on sale. Note: The prices are not in real-time. They reflect the prices from the week before, including expired sales.
Shopcatch – This smartphone app allows you to get the best deals in a shopping mall. Most shopping centres offer free Wi-fi access so you won’t even need to use your data plan. The deals are location-based and available across North America. It’s great for catching deals during local excursions or cross-border shopping trips!
Spreadsheets – You can use any software to track your shopping, such as Microsoft Excel. However, I recommend using Google Docs/Google Drive so that you can save your spreadsheet “in the cloud”, which means you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection. Input the items that you shop for consistently, including information such as the specific brand, date and store where purchased, regular price and price paid. (Use the No Frills Won’t be Beat website to enter the regular price for these items if you don’t know/remember the price). This spreadsheet can serve multiple purposes:
1. Acts as a shopping list
2. Allows you to budget for your purchases
3. Shows you if the sale price is a cold, warm, or HOT deal
4. Tracks your savings
5. Highlights which brands you use the most so you can target your search for coupons
I’ll discuss other techniques at a later point. (Yes, there are more!) In the meantime, please let me know if these tips work for you.