Tips for Saving Money in a Small Town

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The following is a guest post from Amy of Amy Loves It! Since Amy lives in a small town in southern Oklahoma, I appreciate her unique perspective on saving money.

It seems as though everywhere you turn these days, someone is having a sale or offering good coupons or are just plain inexpensive. That is, if you live in a large town or city!

For those of us in small towns, good deals can be hard to find (and nonexistent at times!) without a CVS, Target, Walmart, and all those competing grocery stores. It can also be inconvenient and costly to drive to the areas that feature all of these goodies.

So, what’s a small-town guy or gal to do? What are some ways to save money when you live in a small town?

First of all, you must know what is available to you.

:: Do you even have a local grocery store? If so, find out if your local store has a loyalty program and/or offers double or triple coupons. My local store can be expensive… unless I shop their sales and use coupons (my store doubles coupons $1 and under). Using those tools, I save a ton of money!

:: Consider couponing. Are you in an area that can have the Sunday paper delivered, either to your home or to a local convenience store? Do you have friends, family, and/or neighbors that could save the inserts for you? Don’t forget, there are an abundance of coupons available on the internet, too!

:: Utilize your local dollar store. Many times, you can get items very inexpensively at the dollar store, and some even take manufacturer coupons.

Now that you know what is available to you, the next step is to have a plan.

:: Know what you need… food staples, personal items, etc. Keep an ongoing list somewhere very visible, and add to it as you run out of something.

:: Decide where you want to shop and gather those store circulars. If you do not have a paper circular, you can usually view and print it online.

:: Have a budget. This includes any items you need to purchase at the store, “overflow” or “extra” money (in case you remember something not on your list), and the gas it takes to get there.

:: If you have to drive out of town to get your groceries, plan to get them all in one trip. It might take a while, but planning all of your stops in one trip saves money and time!

:: Make a list. Do your coupon matches at home (but don’t leave home without that binder! You never know what you might find on clearance.), and keep each store list separate. And be a stickler to that list! Hopefully, you have made an allowance in your budget for “forgotten” items, but that allowance needs to be small so you don’t go over budget.

:: Comp-price your items. Is Walmart your closest option?  Did you know that Walmart comp-prices most items from other stores. Simply bring in the ad from the competing store, show it to the cashier, and they will price-match. Just be sure to separate your comp items from the other items when you check out. This makes everything easier on you and your cashier.

Finally, implement your plan.

:: Gather everything you will need for your grocery shopping trip: wallet, checkbook or debit card, list, store circulars, coupons, and coupon binder. I also recommend packing a bottle of water and a small snack. This will keep you hydrated and (hopefully!) stave off any unnecessary purchases.

:: Leave the kiddos at home. This always helps me think more clearly, and shop more efficiently. If leaving your darlings at home is not an option, make sure you pack them a snack and bring an activity to distract them… at least for a bit! You can also involve them in your shopping experience. Sure, it might take longer, but what a lesson they will be learning! My 5 year old loves to shop with me and she is learning how to make a list and stick to it, and how to purchase things at the lowest price possible.

:: Pack a cooler with a bit of ice. This will keep your cold purchases cool if you have to make more than one stop.

What tips do you have for saving money where you live?

Amy is a WAHM to 3 girls and the wife of a youth pastor. She lives on coffee, loves her Jesus, and thinks that red heels go with everything. You can find her and everything she loves on her site. And, yes, she has lived in a small town her entire life and survived (so far)!

Comments

  1. Kathy says

    I have a small cooler that stays in my car behind the driver’s seat. Before I go shopping, I grab three or four 20 oz frozen water bottles from the freezer and place them in the cooler. I have a drink and “ice” for items that need to be kept cold or cool. Once I get back home, I wash & refill the empty bottles, rinse the bottles not empty and re-freeze all of them for another trip.

  2. says

    Canada doesn’t have a lot of coupons but checking out the flyers for sales, having a budget and making a list are all great money savers!!
    .-= Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog ..Blog Hoppin’ 09 – GIVEAWAY! =-.

  3. says

    Target now does price matching as well. Just buy your things then take the receipt and the printed ad (the one you get in the paper) over to customer service, and they will match prices. You don’t even have to do it the same say if you are in a hurry.

  4. saving money says

    According to me saving money is very important factor, so we have to see all small things from which we can save single penny. This recession applies to household expenses. Check out some ways for saving like always look for sale, don’t use bottled water, always buy from same shop. Evey person should inculcate the habit of savings for brighter and secured future. For more details on saving money refer http://www.prime-targeting.com/tips-on-saving-money-on-household-expenses/
    .-= saving money´s last blog ..Get Secured With Secure Credit Cards =-.

  5. says

    Same problem here no CVS Wal-Mart or Target for miles. No store have any incentives or double coupons so saving here is almost hopeless not to mention I stink at clipping coupons. I usually only find 2 or 3 items in a circular that I would normally buy so after I paid for the paper for the circular I saved like 4 cents. I have found that no brand items are cheaper even after the coupon discount for name brand items. So I gave up on the coupon idea. However Thanks to a blog post review and giveaway I read about an online store called “Alice” (which I have fallen in love with). I now buy household products such as shampoo conditioner paper towels ect. From this site. Not only are the prices cheaper than per say CVS to start with if there is a coupon available any where they automatically deducts it from the item. If that wasn’t great enough they ship it FREE to your door. No minium to buy~! So now I spend no money on gas , I don’t have to stand in line , My children are in bed and fast asleep while I shop at 10pm while the stores here have been closed since 8pm . For household items I now shop for NAME BRAND items. I just purchased Bounty Paper Towels for 54cents delivered to my front door! Check it out go to Alice.com Thanks for another great read~! :)

  6. says

    Money Savings Expert

    Same problem here no CVS Wal-Mart or Target for miles. No store have any incentives or double coupons so saving here is almost hopeless not to mention I stink at clipping coupons. I usually only find 2 or 3 items in a circular that I would normally buy so after I paid for the paper for the circular I saved like 4 cents. I have found that no brand items are cheaper even after the coupon discount for name brand items. So I gave up on the coupon idea. However Thanks to a blog post review and giveaway I read about an online store called “Alice” (which I have fallen in love with). I now buy household products such as shampoo conditioner paper towels ect. From this site. Not only are the prices cheaper than per say CVS to start with if there is a coupon available any where they automatically deducts it from the item. If that wasn’t great enough they ship it FREE to your door. No minium to buy~! So now I spend no money on gas , I don’t have to stand in line , My children are in bed and fast asleep while I shop at 10pm while the stores here have been closed since 8pm . For household items I now shop for NAME BRAND items.

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