Saving During Tough Times

Katrina survivor shares his frugal lessons.


Today's guest entry comes from Roderick Simmons, founder of the blog Helping You Live Better :

In addition to a weakening economy, our country has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in American history over the last three years. As a Mississippi resident, I experienced Hurricane Katrina firsthand, and I've put together these money-saving tips to help people rebound from such tough times:

  • Look for coupons before shopping. Major retail and grocery stores, including Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, and Kroger post their coupons online, so you can see what's on sale prior to shopping. Rite Aid has instant coupons that you can use for online purchase, and Walgreens has coupons you can print out. Or, you can register and receive a weekly E-mail.
    •  Stockpile groceries. When I was younger, I saw my grandmother buy multiple quantities of the same item every month—so buying when items are on sale can add up. For example, you can buy 10 packs of three Dial soap bars for $10 when on sale, compared to the regular price of around $3 per three bars. But make sure to check the expiration date when you're stockpiling, because it might take you a while to use them.
    • Stockpiling can also come in handy during hurricanes or storms. During Hurricane Katrina, my power was out for six days, and most area grocery stores were shut down. Thank goodness I had a stash of food to keep me going.

      • Go generic. Which medication would you buy, Tylenol or acetaminophen? The answer—if you want to save—is the generic brand acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has the same active ingredients as Tylenol, the only difference is the price. Do you know that healthcare facilities buy generic medications in buck supply to save money? Most medications given in the healthcare setting are generic. If the hospitals can save, then so should you!
        • Shop for clothes during the off-season. The best time to purchase clothing is during the off-season. Last spring, I noticed winter items that had been reduced by 75 percent or more off the original price. I bought a Polo winter jacket that retails for $395.00 for only $19.95. What a deal! Check with your major retail stores for price reduction on summer clothing.
          • Be generous. What will you do with the clothes and shoes you don't wear anymore? Consider donating to your local charities such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or local health center. I recently donated some suits and coats that I don't wear any more to my local charity. I received a $500.00 tax deduction. Everyone wins!
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