Shopping smart - 5 tips to save money buying everyday items


College life is an incredible learning experience. You learn everything from balancing priorities, how to procrastinate when you fail at balancing priorities, and most importantly, how to budget your money. I just did a real-life laugh though, because budgeting is definitely not my strong suit yet. Even though my budgeting skills still need a little refinement, there are a few hacks that I have found that will help you save money where you can.
1. Brita water pitchers and/or water bottles. We have both in our house, and I couldn't tell you the last time that I paid for water anywhere. I especially love having the water bottle, because I can fill it up anywhere I go whether there is a designated water fountain or not! Buying a $2 water plastic water bottle every time you need water on the go is costly and not very eco-friendly. I've heard that buying the filter that attaches to the tap in the sink is great, too. Point is, you will save money by buying a filter.2. Coconut oil In addition to coconut oil's wonderful skin affects, as mentioned here, it is also a very cost effective product. For $6 you acquire a cleanser, moisturizer, shaving cream, and butter-substitute all in one. Just google all the things you can use coconut oil for, and you will realize how much you could be saving by not buying all those different products individually. Not to mention, one jar lasts forever!

3. Farmer's Markets If you're going to be buying produce anyways, why not? It is usually cheaper, not to mention locally grown. Support the farmers in your area and help keep the small farms alive! Trick to shopping at farmer's markets is to either go super early, or later in the day. Earlier, you will have the best selection of produce. Go later, and get good deals from the sellers trying to get rid of produce before packing up.

4.Dollar Stores And I mean the actual dollar stores where everything they sell is $1, not those really lame ones that actually charge normal prices for everything. Find a real dollar store, and you've found yourself a gold mine. I could go on for days about the great purchases I've made at these wonderful, heaven-sent places. Cloth hair ties, 5 for $1, seasonings for your food, wall art, cleaning supplies, toiletries, glassware, kitchen utensils... Not saying that what you are buying is going to be top-knotch quality, (I would stay away from the toilet paper), but if you're on a tight budget, it will be your saving grace!

5. Become a member to your local grocery store(s).  I have memberships at both Fry's and Safeway, which are the two most common grocery stores near me. They are always offering great deals for members, and especially on things that you actually need/want. It is free to sign up, so you're basically getting free money without having to cut coupons. A note of caution, these stores are not always the cheapest when it comes to produce. If there aren't farmer's markets near you, do some research and check out the different stores in your area. A store that I thought would be super expensive for produce is actually cheaper than where I normally bought it before. Trial and error!Now get out there and act like the savvy shopper I know you can be! I am the queen of bargain shopping and finding good deals on just about anything, so let me know if you would like to see more of these kinds of posts from me! :)