Saving money does not have to be complicated. Some money saving tips are more extreme and more time consuming than others. Here are five easy ways to save money in your everyday life.
These are meant to be some simple practices to help you spend less money over the year. There are the obvious ways, like using coupons and rebate apps, which I do use, and LOVE, but this is not that article.
To start spending less money throughout the year, you have to change the way you approach your expenses.
Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Your going to get tired but you have to continue to prepare. You may have slip-ups but that’s okay. You have to keep to the plan you set for yourself and your family. Let’s get started.
“Money should be mastered, not served.”—Syrus, Maxims
Take regular inventory of what you have
When will you be running out of toilet paper, paper towel, baby formula, animal food, etc.? Make a list of items that you use in your household and stock up when prices are at their best. If buying in bulk, keep a sharpie handy so you can write the dates on everything. This way you will get an idea of how long particular items last in your household and help you plan for more. This leads us to our next item…
Avoid “convenience” shopping
Convenience shopping would be any trips that are unplanned, spontaneous, and done in a time crunch. Convenience comes at a premium price. With convenience items you usually end up paying more then necessary for the convenience of getting the item when you want. Examples would include items like Birthday Bags, Holiday Cards, Milk, Alcohol, Toilet Paper, Laundry detergent, etc. You will spend more money if you are making an unplanned stop. You may spend $5 – $10+ on a birthday bag ($4), card ($4) and tissue ($2) at the grocery or pharmacy store. On the flip side, you could go to a dollar store and get all three things for a $1 each. Let’s say for example you have 10 birthdays/holidays a year, you could be saving about $70 year (10 Events x $10= $100 – (10 events x $3 = $30) $100 – $30= $70 in yearly savings
Buy in Bulk
This may sound counter intuitive because by buying more you are spending more, however, by having a supply you’re less likely to impulse/convenience shop. Also the price per unit is usually cheaper because of economies of scale (things get cheaper the more you buy). While it’s not always the case, an easy way to check is to take the price and divide it by how my items your getting. For Example, Huggies Little Movers Diapers, Size 4 at Costco are priced at $42.99 for 180 count. This comes out to 42.99/180= .238 Cents apiece. At the same time Babies R’ Us has these same diapers listed at $45.99 for 152 count, or 45.99/152 =.302 cents apiece. Let’s say your baby goes through 7 diapers a day. That would be (7 diapers x 365 days= 2555 Diapers a year) Buying in Bulk at Costco= 2555 diapers x .238= $608.09 Buying at Babies R’Us 2555 x.302= $771.61. Over the year you would be saving $771.61- $608.09 = $163.53 to buy in bulk, at regular prices assuming no discounts at either store.
Review your social calendar
What do you events do you have coming up? Dinner with Friends, Birthday’s, Holidays? Take a look at your calendar so you can set up your game plan. If you are going to dinner bring small bills so you can pay the bill and tip properly without having to make change with the waitress or people at the table. This also prevents awkward feelings of asking for a few bucks back. Check out 8 Ways to Save Money by Planning for the Expected (Birthdays, Holidays, & Events) for more tips.
Regularly re-evaluate your expenses and bills
With everything being so automatic it’s easy to just throw money at a bill and be done with it. Always do a double check. Sometimes cases are more obvious then others. For instance, I received a medical bill for $7000 (obvious!) that was not sent to my insurance because they botched my name. On the other hand, a medical bill that was coded or billed incorrectly may not be so obvious. For instance, charging me for an extra ultrasound instead of a non-stress test, ordered by the doctor. On multiple occasions I have received bills that were incorrectly billed. Had I just paid them and not been familiar with my policy allowances it would have cost me over $400 dollars.