Staring down the singles’ penalty

Just as you can cook in bulk and share food with friends, you can pool your money to make bulk purchases, says Clarissa Hobson, a CFP with Carnick & Co. in Colorado Springs, Colo. If you don’t have room to store 25 rolls of paper towels, you can still take advantage of the bulk prices at Sam’s Club or Costco when you shop with others for household products.

“This works best if you live near those participating. For example, a bunch of people in the same apartment building,” Hobson says. “Basically, you pool funds for these specific items, buy them in bulk and then divide them up.”

And don’t forget to take advantage of the savings offered by coupons. “You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to benefit,” Hobson says. “Only buy the things you need.”

While you still can clip coupons from the Sunday newspaper, there are numerous other ways to find coupons. Log on to your grocery store’s website and download electronic coupons to your “preferred customer” card before you shop, and the savings will show up when you purchase those items. If you prefer to shop certain brands, check those manufacturers’ websites for current coupons. In some cases, you can sign up to receive coupons via email or text.