I bet everyone has a local grocery store with a great online app. In my case, I have Ralph's. Every Friday, Ralph's has a free item on its Facebook page. I am going to present the argument as to why you should always get the free Friday item.
As we leave this year's holiday and shopping season and enter the New Year of New Me, I would advise a person seeking financial freedom to take advantage of the free item(s) at their local grocer. More often than not, this item is not going to be something you want or even need. In fact, it will likely be something like a bag of chips or any number of insignificant items. Regardless of what is given away, creating the habit of claiming this item will begin to train your mind to think about your purchases more significantly. What other deals are available? How else can I save on groceries or household goods? When you begin to ask these questions and explore social media, find coupons in the paper, or even download couponing apps, you will find yourself in a world of offers.
There can be $0.25 off this or $1.50 cash back on that, $42.75 back here, and so on. As an example, on this year's Black Friday, Hulu offered $0.99/month for the first year to new customers. That is undeniably a steal, right? $12/year for a service most of us use? Great deal, yes? But I can beat it! While Hulu had this offer, an app called iBotta had an offer of $10 cash back on new signups for Hulu. Coupling these two offers together took an $11.88/year Hulu subscription, and made it $1.88/year. That is a 145.35% gain on your money.
When you begin to train your mind to think in terms of savings, your money will grow exponentially. A dollar saved, is a dollar earned. Becoming financially free is not solely about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Money is there for the taking; opportunities surround you daily!
Before I close, I will give another example of smart savings.
A single mother has a couple of children. She is living paycheck to paycheck and can't seem to find money to save. How excited would that woman's kids be to enjoy eating out once a week? A single medium pizza from Papa John's is about $15 with tax and delivery. When you order Papa John's they are required to give you everything you order and pay for. The pepper packets at Papa John's are $0.01 each. They HAVE to give you EXACTLY what you purchased. So, let's say you purchase 25 pepper packets, but what you receive is maybe 2-5 at best. Seeing this error and respectfully notifying Papa John's of it, entitles you to a FULL refund of your order PLUS they will give you a free pizza for your next order. Upon redeeming your free pizza again, you PURCHASE 25+ pepper packets, and again you received only 2-5, and you notify the merchant once more; again they refund your money ($0.25) and give you a free pizza. You can do this all year long, every week. The $15 you saved weekly can be accumulated and invested or whatever you want to do with it. The point is that there is nothing illegal about this, nor is it even malicious. It’s in the purchase agreement of the restaurant or business.
$15/week for one year is $780. Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 1 is a $1,000 Emergency Fund. In just over a year, a struggling mother can achieve baby step one. Where there is a will, there is a way. It just takes a matter of looking, practicing, and creating a habit. So, create the habit of looking to see what your local grocer is giving away on Friday. Be mindful that coupons and sales are every Wednesday. You do not have to eat crappy food, you just have to find out when the good stuff is on sale, has a rebate, or cash back offer and redeem and/or stack them if you can.
A dollar saved, is a dollar earned, and subsequently, a dollar invested.