Monday, August 1, 2011

Four Money-Saving Myths: Busted

1. Everything's Cheaper at the Dollar Store.

I'm a big fan of the dollar store. (Holla to the Dolla Tree!) But sometimes, it's actually much cheaper to get things elsewhere. For example, the dollar store near my house sells Powerade for $1.00 a bottle. I can get the same bottle at the grocery store across the street for $0.69 a bottle on sale, and anywhere from $0.79 to $0.89 at Kroger regular-priced.

2. Making Your Own Everything Will Cost Less Than Buying Stuff Pre-Made. 

DIY is great, and sometimes does save you money. But be careful before jumping in to buy materials for projects: Sometimes it really IS cheaper to buy stuff pre-made, especially when it comes to clothes, notebooks, and growing/canning your own food. Take a few minutes to do the math and figure out the price difference before committing to making something from scratch if saving money is your goal.

3. Buying in Bulk is Always a Money Saver. 

Per ounce, buying things in bulk generally does result in savings. However, buying in bulk also usually requires paying more total. Let's take a look at this example:

Medium Bag of Rice - Total: $2.99 (price per ounce: $.20)
Huge Bag of Rice - Total: $5.99 (price per ounce: $.14)

As you can see, buying the huge bag of rice does save you money per ounce, but requires more cash up front. This is OK if it's a product you eat a lot of, but use caution. A second problem with buying in bulk is that certain foods can go bad quickly, and if you don't manage to eat all ten pounds of those bananas you bought in time, you will end up actually throwing away your money.

4. The People on those Extreme Couponers Shows Are Saving More Money Than Anybody Else!

Yep, people who massively stock up on coupons can save hundreds of dollars in a single shopping trip. BUT keep in mind that many families featured as "Extreme Couponers" have a family member who does not work, and spends all their time rounding up newspapers and organizing their thousands of coupons. Now, having that person home all the time may save the family money in other ways, like in childcare costs. For those of us without kids, though, (single or otherwise) I can guarantee you that working even twenty hours per week will put more money in your pocket than sitting at home cutting coupons all day ever will.

... Wishes for another frugal week, friends!

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