There are a few things I thought I’d never buy. Such as sugar, ketchup, pepper, and pretty much anything else that comes in packets. I finally broke down and bought pepper for the first time yesterday. It’s kind of a major upgrade to go from those little packets to a legit pepper grinder. I still haven’t bought ketchup or sugar, but I don’t doubt that one of these days I’ll be baking such a large batch of something that packets won’t cut it. So that’s a small tip. Use packets for as long as possible but come to terms with the fact that eventually you may have to break down and buy.
My biggest tip for today is based on my experience this morning at Duane Reade (for those of you who don’t live in NYC, it’s like Walgreens or CVS.) I was buying two items both of which were on sale according to the signs on the shelf. One, a bottle of about-to-expire moisturizer, was $2 off. The other, a tube of mascara, was 50% off.
I got in line with these two items and was quickly distracted by all the magazines (who doesn’t want to read about Jessica Simpson’s diet struggle?) and candy bars on both sides of me as I made my way up to the checkout counter. When I got to the counter, I was preoccupied with the funky packaging of the Mentos gum, UP2U. I was also curious about an eyeglass repair kit that had a display stand with blinking red lights. blink blink!
Anyway, the woman behind the register scans my items, and tells me my total. At no point does she ask for my rewards card.
1. CASHIERS WILL NOT ALWAYS ASK IF YOU HAVE A REWARDS CARD SO YOU HAVE TO BRING IT UP EVEN IF IT’S AWKWARD
So I whip out my keychain, and ask her to please scan my rewards card. Bingo. $2 comes off my total. That is for the moisturizer. At that point I could have just as easily swiped my credit card (I don’t pay with cash so I can track expenditures) and gone on with my day. But, I didn’t because I did #2.
2. MAKE A MENTAL NOTES OF PRICES AS YOU SHOP
I remembered that the mascara should have been 50% off so I kindly pointed that out to the cashier. There was a long line of people behind me, and I knew some of them would be annoyed that I made their wait longer, but it was worth $4 to me. The cashier left to go look in the makeup aisle, and I scored a few extra moments to look at their candy bar selection. It’s so unfortunate that what used to be fifty cents is now $1.39. No folks, that is not for a King Size. That is for a regular. Heck if they sold Fun Sizes individually, they’d probably be at least fifty cents. Nothing funnish about the size or the price.
The cashier returned, and sure enough, I was right. The mascara was 50% off so I saved $4. That’s enough to take a trip and a half into Manhattan. So if there’s anything to learn from this mediocre post, it’s that being a conscientious consumer will score you savings.
So then you’ll have enough money to buy a thing of pepper, ketchup, or sugar when your stash runs out and there’s no condiment bar in sight.