New Year, New You

Happy New Year! January is a time of optimism and renewal. In the new year we have the opportunity to start over, break bad habits and begin good ones. One of the most important ways we can get a fresh start is by taking inventory and organizing ourselves and our stuff.

If you are a frugalista, bargain-hunter, or just plain-ol’ cheapskate you know organization is an essential part of your money-saving strategies. In order to know what we need, we first have to know what we have. Nothing is more frustrating than paying full price for a bottle of salad dressing or barbecue sauce you think you need for dinner only to discover you already had a bottle in your pantry! A well stocked pantry is necessary in order to make a significant dent in your grocery bill. When we stockpile we buy large quantities of non-perishable items (shampoo, ketchup, can goods, cereal, etc.) when they are at sale for rock bottom prices. If you were to buy a box of cereal every week at full price ($3.50) you would spend $14 a month on cereal. But if you were to buy 4 boxes of cereal when it’s on sale ($1.50) you would spend $6 a month on cereal. That’s a savings of $96 a year on one item!

Perhaps the most important item in our money-saving arsenal – the coupon – also requires lots of organization. Coupon organization is usually done in one of two ways – you can either clip all your coupons and organize them in envelopes or binders alphabetically and by expiration date or you can save the entire flyer, leaflet, insert or magazine, keep them organized by publication date and rely on your favorite discount blog to let you know what coupons you might want to use when. I use a combination of both of the methods. Either way make sure you have space to keep 3 to 4 months worth of coupons.

Regardless of how you organize or when you organize be sure not to let it stress you out! Remember, organizing is supposed to make your life easier, not more difficult. A little work on the front end will make things smoother down the road. And being thrifty is a hobby — it requires patience, persistence and dedication, but it’s also a lot of fun. Happy Savings!