Mar 24, 2008

Creative strategies for coping with rising costs - Part Three: Finding Time For Cost-Cutting Measures

In this series, Creative Strategies for Coping with Rising Costs, I will discuss the ways I am saving money and cutting costs in order to maintain our lifestyle as prices increase. You can read Part One: Back to Basics here and Part Two: The Drugstore Game here.

The first two part of this series discusses fairly time-consuming measures if you've never kept a price book or played The Drugstore Game. So in Part Three, I want to discuss ways to find the time to do these things. Unfortunately, there's no totally painless way - if you weren't doing these things already, you'll have to make some changes. My goal in this article is to suggest the easiest ways to make time.

Here are some ideas for finding blocks of time to implement your cost-cutting measures:
  • If you work, use your lunch hour. You can take the weekly circulars and cell-phone pictures you've collected and enter them into your price book to get started. Or, if there's a drugstore nearby, you could head there at lunchtime. This is also a good time to plan a menu, if you are using meal-planning as a way to save money (bring the grocery store circulars to work so you can plan your menu around what's on sale).
  • Trade baby-sitting time with a friend. You can watch her kids while she goes to the drugstore and vice versa.
  • Create your price book with a friend who lives in your area. You can divide responsibilities by store or by category. Better yet, do both - trade the raw figures that you've collected, fill out the price book page for the items assigned to you, and then make copies of the pages so that you each have a complete book. Your price book will be done in half the time (even less if you get more than one friend involved).
  • Go shopping after the kids are asleep. Personally, I hate shopping late at night, but I have friends who love it.
  • Get your spouse on board. My husband is very accommodating about stopping at a drugstore on the way somewhere. If we're all together, I'll just run in and grab the deal I need, but he will also go by himself if I am clear about what the deal is.
These are the ideas I came up with. If you have suggestions to add, please leave a comment!

And remember, once you've created your price book and played The Drugstore Game a few times, the time commitment is greatly reduced.

Come back next Monday for the fourth part of the series on Unusual Ideas For Saving Money Without Reducing Your Standard Of Living. And don't miss the update on the first two posts in this series.


Shan said...

Our daycare costs per hour are very reasonable so it's worth it to me to pay for an extra hour and shop without the kids, but with the husband right after work. Then pick them up on the way home. That has helped keep costs down a whole lot. Plus I don't have the distraction of keeping one eye on the girls while trying to also keep track of my list and the calculator. With my husband's help I get it done that much quicker.

Anonymous said...

Another trick is shop at 6 a.m.! Yes I do have to rush if I go shopping before going to work. And the clerks are sometimes stocking the shelves at that hour.

But that can be a very smart move when the store you are going to is in a high-traffic neighborhood. Who REALLY wants to spend a lunch hour sitting in a traffic jam?