If you are anything like me, you have to abide by a strict budget in order to see all of your bills taken care of each month. Most months there aren't extra dollars laying around to be spent freely on anything you want. Sure, you might splurge on an occasional coffee or two, but for the most part the money you earn goes right to keeping you living each month. I have discovered a small but significant way to help curb my expenses and allow for a small amount of 'fun money' each month. Compare prices. It sounds simple and obvious, but my spending habits changed drastically once I began to always compare prices.
One of the biggest areas that I benefited from learning to compare prices is in grocery shopping each week. Rather than just running off to whatever store is closest or more convenient to me, I began to really search the ads and flyers to determine which stores would give me the best deals on the items I needed. I began each week by making a list of all of the grocery items I needed and then I only allowed myself to compare prices for those things. I didn't let myself just go to the store and fill my cart with whatever caught my eye. No, I had a list and I took time to carefully compare prices. It was amazing the money I saved by purchasing items at stores with the lowest prices.
Learning to compare prices benefited me in other ways than just my grocery bill. Take going to the movie theature for an example. I took time to compare prices of the different show times and I began to see movies only in the afternoon when the prices were more reasonable. While this only saves me a few dollars each time I visit the theature, it adds up when you compare prices for all the movies you see in a full year.
I'll admit it, I love coffee. One month I decided to compare prices of buying a coffee at a local coffee shop with making my own cup of coffee at home. Not surprisingly, I can save a lot of money by just making my own coffee. I found that I can even let myself purchase some of the best beans that are sold and I still come up with money to spare when I compare prices with local coffee shops.
It is small changes like going to an afternoon movie or brewing my own cup of coffee that have really changed my budget. I had no idea the amount of money that could be saved simply by learning to always compare prices.