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Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate

It doesn’t take many clicks online to find writing and advice on how to shape up your finances, even First30Days has a great financial advice section found here. There are...

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Joanne Heim

Author of Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More

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Gary Foreman

Editor and publisher of The Dollar Stretcher Newsletter

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Editor and publisher of Budget Savvy magazine

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The Frugal Gourmet

Sometimes it's easy to read an experts claim on frugality, but hard to determine if what they're saying would work for you. So, we decided to show you frugality at its best by someone just like you—a non-expert trying to get by!

Jason White over at Wisebread.com has worked in the financial and banking industry before, but he prefers the life of a frugal dad and engaging writer. In his blog he talks about going grocery shopping, The Price is Right style. It's definitely a consumer-friendly approach and deserves a nod, if for no other reason than the concept is amusing.

Here's what you do. Make your grocery list ahead of time—this way you're not as tempted to stray and pick up unnecessary items. Have pen and paper handy (the back of your list works just fine) and keep a running total of everything you put in your cart, rounded to the nearest $.50, i.e. $3.25 would be $3.50. Once you've put everything on your list in your cart, take your total and multiple it by your state's sales tax and get the anticipated total.

Your number will be purposely inflated, much like contestants on The Price Is Right under estimate their bids. With your new total in hand, consider your budget. If the total is less than your budgeted amount, you've done well. If it's over, you'll need to
hit the aisles and see if you can find cheaper alternatives to some of your items, or you'll have to reprioritize your shopping list a little for that trip.

What do you think? Is Jason's non-expert method something that would work for you?

Posted: 5/16/08