No matter how much money you make, or don’t make, saving money is something we should all be thinking about. Even if you don’t really need to, what’s wrong with saving money without sacrificing when you can? That little nest egg may just come in handy sometime. This last year — job loss, car accident — has taught us that you just never know when you may appreciate having some money set aside. Saving money isn’t nearly as hard as people think, and without too much effort or any major change in lifestyle, you can put a nice chunk of change away for a rainy day.
Use apps for loyalty discounts and coupons. For example, if you like smoothies, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a great app that you scan each time you make a purchase. When you hit $55 in spending, you get $5 in credits towards your next purchase. And bonus: when you first install your app, you already have a free $5 to spend! My first smoothie cost me only $1.67! When you go into Kohl’s, sign into their wi-fi and they frequently have a 10% coupon available, simply for just being there and using their wi-fi.
Shop for cheaper auto and/or homeowner’s insurance. When we bought my car, our existing plan went up about $1100. OUCH. We knew it would happen, but still….so we called around and ended up with a much better deal via Costco’s insurance provider. As in, $1100 cheaper, so we had no real increase and our vehicles are all fully covered with even better limits.
Shop in bulk. I’ve written about this before (see my Costco post here) and I’m an advocate for bulk purchase stores like CostCo, but mainly because of things like k-cups for my Keurig, double-packs of high fructose corn syrup-free maple syrup and toilet paper. My large family burns through it all anyway, so with a little storage space, we’re saving a lot of money. And did you know, many of Costco’s Kirkland label products are actually brand names without the label? (Think Starbucks for the coffee beans.) The Hawaiian blend for k-cups is easily as good as the ‘big’ labels and we save a ton.
This one’s going to sound weird, but really, when you’re looking to save money, look at the consistent expenses. You can start with the big things, like your cable tv and internet provider, cutting back on electricity and saving money on food, but don’t forget the little things. They really do add up. Stuff like hand soap at your kitchen and bathroom sinks. A foam soap dispenser, a cool looking one, is $8 at Target. Liquid soap is one part to five parts water, and you’re set for a couple of weeks at least. That extends the one big refill jug of non-antibacterial liquid soap five times longer. At $4-$5 per jug, that’s already a nice start and the kids love it!
I don’t recommend using credit cards for anything other than an emergency, but if you have discipline and pay them off monthly, consider switching or using those with rewards. I shop at Home Goods and Marshall’s a lot, so I opened up one of their credit lines. Every $200 I spend, I get a $10 gift certificate. It costs me nothing to have the card and I am there enough to get a few of these a year. I also use Kohl’s to get the 30% off coupons. Just be sure to pay off your balance monthly! Interest charges will make up for any savings you may have had.
CareCredit is a wonderful credit if you need to have dental work done or have an unexpected vet bill. Zero-percent interest is available and you can extend your payments up to a year depending on the amount of purchase. It can put your mind at ease in an urgent situation.
Target’s REDcard program is fantastic. I shop at Target at least 2-3x per month, if not more frequently, and if you use either the debit or the credit card, you get 5% off all of your purchases and you have free shipping for online purchases. Pretty cool, right?
Our household generates a lot of laundry, which means a lot of loads in the washing machine and dryer. Our appliances are labeled energy-saver, but we’re still paying for the electricity we do use. Did you know that most electric companies charge less for kilowatts used outside of peak hours? I throw a load into the washer at 8am. It’s done by 9am, when the peak hours start. At 5pm, when peak hours are done, I move it to the dryer. (If your machine is clean, this likely won’t cause any odor or other problems.) No real sacrifice and the result is the same — clean, dry clothes — but at a cheaper rate.
The point is this — look at where you’re spending and check out your options. You don’t necessarily need to stop buying things; you likely just need to look at cheaper ways to buy those things, coming down to where and when to buy instead of what. Saving money without sacrificing is much easier than you think, and you’ll have that piggy bank turning golden in no time!