by Nikki Ducas

win at shopping

Mark Cuban is worth $4.1 billion and is one of the 500 richest people in America, yet he keeps a frugal mentality by buying things in bulk, especially items he knows he’ll use like razor blades and toothpaste. If you want to make your dollars stretch, here are five ways to do it.

Buy in bulk. Some people buy in bulk out of necessity but I shop this way out of habit. I’ve always been a frugal shopper and, since living in the ‘Burg for the last 15 years, I have artfully figured out where to buy items I use most often at the lowest prices. For example, I stock my pantry with canned goods from ALDI because I’ve found their prices to be the cheapest.

Use the Internet. Let your fingers do the shopping and get items delivered to your door or for easy pick up at the store in minutes. Using these services has helped me to buy only what’s on the list and none of the impulse buys. Bonus, if you are able to plan your pickup for when you are already out, you’ll save money on gas and time.

Grab meat deals. Club memberships are good for lots of stuff but I have found several of my staple meats to be cheaper by shopping circulars. Chicken prices have been really reasonable at ALDI and Lidl. The price of pork loin is the cheapest at Costco but pork shoulder is cheapest at Wegmans. I buy steak when it is on sale at the supermarket, but if I had a larger freezer, I’d consider buying half a cow. No matter where you find the best meat deals, stock up. To prevent freezer burn and waste, make sure to eat it within three months.

Plant a garden or join a CSA. My little garden produced a lot this summer, and I canned bread and butter pickles, salsa and jellies to use throughout the winter. Also, with a little prep work, I was able to freeze berries and stone fruit from our community supported agriculture (CSA). Not only do we save money, we eat fresh fruit and vegetables year round and we support local farms.

Make it a game. I make shopping a game, not a chore. I strategically plan where I shop and my shopping list mentions which items have coupons and Ibotta deals. I refuse to pay full price for health and beauty products. I figure shelf stable items can just as easily sit in my pantry as they do on the store shelf. It’s fun to stack coupons with sale items. I love coming home from a CVS run and asking my husband how much he thinks I spent (or have not spent for that matter).

It doesn’t matter how you shop, where you shop or when you shop, just remember that when you buy it, aim to use it. There’s nothing worse than throwing away stuff you spent money on no matter how good the deal.