Keeping expenses in line with savings goals is essential. A good way to do this is by journaling every expense.
Generic brands of medicine, staple food items and cleaning supplies cost less than their name-brand counterparts. Shop at warehouse chains like Costco or BJ’s to save. And plan meals ahead of time to curb unnecessary spending at the grocery store.
1. Shop with cash
Using cash when you shop can help you avoid spending more than you intended, especially if you are tempted by “buy one, get one free” deals or other specials. Plus, when you use a cash-back app like Ibotta or Rakuten, you can add a layer of savings to your purchases.
Generic brands of medicines, staple food items and cleaning supplies often cost less than name brand products. And you can save even more by buying in bulk at stores like Sam’s Club and Costco, or shopping for used items on Craigslist or eBay.
Evaluate your spending habits by documenting what you buy for a week or month to identify unnecessary expenses. Try to eliminate nonessential spending from your budget, even if it means living without certain luxuries for awhile. You may be surprised by how much you can save.
2. Shop at warehouse chains
Purchasing items in bulk can save you money, especially on nonperishables and household products. However, make sure you’re getting a deal. Warehouse stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s use a different pricing model than regular retailers. They charge a yearly membership fee and then mark up their merchandise, according to Entrepreneur.
If you’re shopping for food, check unit prices (the price per ounce or quart). Warehouse stores often offer better deals on bulk non-perishable items, but when it comes to groceries, comparing supermarket sales and coupons can often beat them.
Also, watch out for impulse buys. Warehouse stores are filled with shiny temptations and can be a trap for the unprepared. A good way to avoid them is by planning your shopping list ahead of time and bringing a calculator. That way, you can calculate exactly how much you’ll spend and avoid going over your budget.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time
Budgeting your money is necessarz because eating out is expensive, and frequent restaurant meals can easily eat up your food budget. Having a weekly meal plan can help you cut down on dining out and save money.
When you’re planning your meals, consider purchasing foods that can be used for multiple dishes and are versatile. For example, roasted chicken can be used in a salad or as an ingredient in soup.
Before you go grocery shopping, create a list of what you need to make your planned meals. Then, shop with that list in hand and avoid impulse purchases. Also, shop your fridge and cupboards first to see what you already have on hand before you make a purchase. This can save you time, money and reduce food waste. Lastly, shop for items on sale and use coupons to save even more.
4. Shop online
The ability to shop online is a great convenience, but it can also be a money-saving tool. When shopping for everyday items, such as toilet paper or a new pair of shoes, make sure you compare prices before you buy.
For example, Coles offers its Every Day low price range on staple products like selected Tasty Cheese, Kellogg’s cereals and Helgas bread all year round. This means you can easily plan your budget for all of these essentials.
Try to avoid buying fad items, and consider giving brand names the boot in favour of generics. Generic brands of medicines, household cleaners and paper goods cost far less than their mark-up name-brand counterparts and often work just as well. Delay gratification by waiting a full day before purchasing any item, which helps you evaluate whether or not you truly need it.
5. Shop with coupons
Saving a few dollars here and there might seem like a small feat, but those little amounts add up over the course of a week, month or year. In order to get the best prices, use resources such as weekly flyers, price comparison apps and loyalty programs.
In addition, don’t forget to use coupons and combine deals. For example, many stores allow you to stack a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon on the same purchase.
Also, look for store sales and avoid unnecessary purchases, such as data plans, phone insurance and warranties. Another great money-saving strategy is delaying gratification, which means putting off purchasing any non-essential items until after a few days have passed. This will help curb the impulsive part of your brain and make you more aware of what is truly needed. Besides, it can be really fun to spend a day without spending anything!
6. Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs
With monthly electricity bills on the rise, many homeowners are looking for new ways to save money. One easy way is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Energy efficient lights use less energy, which lowers your bill and helps reduce carbon emissions.
Energy Star-certified halogen incandescent bulbs use about 25% less energy than traditional bulbs, but CFL and LED bulbs offer better savings. These bulbs also last longer than traditional bulbs and are more durable.
Adding energy-efficient lightbulbs may cost you a bit more upfront, but they’ll pay for themselves over time by saving you on your energy bills. Another easy way to save on energy is by plugging appliances into a power strip that you can flip off when not in use. This helps cut down on “vampire” energy costs and can save you up to $60 a year.
7. Shop at retailers that offer free shipping
When shopping online, sky-high shipping fees can be a major deterrent for consumers. That’s why ecommerce brands often offer free shipping to encourage shoppers to purchase more products and increase conversions.
Keeping track of daily spending can help you understand your money habits and identify areas for savings. Try using a budgeting app or tracking your purchases on paper to see where you can save.
A simple way to save is by using your loyalty cards. Use your loyalty cards at the grocery store and retail stores to earn cash back or discounts on items you buy regularly. This classic saving trick can add up to big savings in the long run. If you don’t have a loyalty card, consider getting one from the places you shop most often. For example, a loyalty card from the retailer that sells your favorite jeans can add up to savings on future orders.
8. Shop at outlet stores
Outlet stores are a great place to save money on everyday items. They offer lower prices than their full-price counterparts and often have sale promotions or coupons on a regular basis.
QVC, for example, has an outlet location where shoppers can save on shipping fees and get the same products they would see on their TV show. It’s a good idea to check in frequently because the sales and discounts change on a regular basis.
To make the most of your time at the outlet mall, try to go during the weekday instead of the weekend. This way you can avoid the crowds and will have more options to choose from. Also, remember to be a smarter outlet shopper by evaluating whether you need the item before making your purchase. Delaying gratification is one of the best ways to save money on everyday items.
9. Shop on Craigslist
When you shop on Craigslist, you can find a wide range of items for cheap. From furniture and appliances to electronics, there’s something on the site for everyone. If you’re looking to save money, check out what people are selling on the site before making any big purchases.
Instead of buying expensive gifts for friends and family, give them something homemade. Cooking a meal, baking cookies or making art shows that you care just as much as any store-bought gift.
Giving up brand name products can save you a lot of money. Things like medicine, staple food items and cleaning supplies cost less when you buy generic versions. Stock up on these items during sales or sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program to get them delivered at a discount. You can also save money on clothing by shopping clothing sales all year round.
10. Don’t buy anything you don’t need
While it may seem counterintuitive, avoiding buying anything you don’t need can help you save money on everyday items. This strategy can be difficult if you are an impulse shopper, so it is important to make a plan for how you will avoid unnecessary purchases.
One way to do this is to limit your shopping trips to once a week. Additionally, you can save money by grocery shopping online or using curbside pickup. This will force you to stick to your list and eliminate the temptation of impulse purchases.
Another tip is to wait 24 hours before making a purchase. This will give you time to think about whether the item is really worth the price. If not, consider finding a cheaper alternative. For example, you could try shopping secondhand or asking your friends if they have the item you need.