This morning I made a quick stop at Kroger. Tyson fresh chicken was on sale and there was a coupon in this Sunday’s paper for $1 off any Tyson fresh chicken. While I was examining packages of chicken that were sale priced at $1.50 to $1.75 per package (meaning I would pay 50c to 75c a piece,) I noticed another lady with Tyson chicken in her cart. She had several packages, although her packages were not sale priced. I also noticed that she had no coupons and little else in her cart. It appeared that she was stocking up for a party. I counted out 5 coupons for chicken from my stack and handed them to her. I finished picking out my chicken, paid, and headed out of the store. On my way out, I stopped at the free newspaper box in the front of the store, which was full of free papers containing the very same coupon inserts. I picked up 5 more papers, which gave me 5 more inserts, replacing those coupons I gave away.
The other day, I went to get gas. There are several gas stations near my house, so before I left, I checked the gas prices online. Because of this, I chose to drove 2 blocks farther than the gas station on the corner closest to my house, because it was over 25c cheaper per gallon. To fill up my 25 gallon tank, that’s a difference of over $6, almost 2 whole gallons worth, just for a difference of 2 blocks.
These are just two examples in my own life of how the simple act of paying attention to things can really save money. I spent substantially less on my chicken than the other customer, even after the coupons I gave her, because I paid attention to the sale. In fact, she saved $5 because I paid attention to the coupons that were right in front of the store, for free. And I saved $6 just by paying attention to the gas prices instead of simply pulling into the closest gas station when the tank was low.
For some people, they will save money with even less effort. Many people pay very little attention to where their money goes. When they come to the end of the month and someone asks them what they spent their money on, they often have no clue. Many people simply swipe their debit card at the gas station, at the grocery store, at the corner drug store, and pay very little attention, if any, to the dollar amount on the register. In fact, most people, even those who are very frugal, are guilty of this at some time or another.
If you are not a frugal or thrifty person, but looking to become one, my best piece of advice is to start paying attention. Start small. Take one day and write down all the money you spend that day. Just pay attention for one day. You might be really surprised. Then you can start to branch out a little bit. Download a gas prices app and the next time you need gas, stop and check the prices, you might find the next closest station has the best deal. Start paying attention to the sale papers from the grocery stores. You don’t have to use coupons to save money this way, if you only buy what is on sale and then cook your meals around that, you still be saving money over just making whatever you want whenever you want.