01Pay to Have the Store Shop for You
Menu planning can save you a lot of money, but in order to stick to it, you need to go grocery shopping. This can take quite a bit of time, and it can get expensive if you are an impulse shopper and end up with extra items in your cart. You can save money if you have the shopping done for you. Many stores are offering to do the shopping for you. Depending on the store you may have to pay a fee for the shopping. Some stores will deliver the groceries to your door and others will have you pick them up. Walmart is one store that is offering free pick up of your groceries.
The key to saving money with this is to find a store that is more affordable and to consolidate your trips into a major shopping trip once every week or two. The most expensive stores in my area have been offering the service, but it was not worth it because I would end up paying about $50 more per shopping trip. Now that the stores I shop at with lower prices are offering it, I can save time and the fee is about the same as what I would spend on impulse purchases in the store.
02Nicer Apartment Complex
This is a tricky area, because extra money in rent each month can add up to a significant amount each year. However, you may end up saving money on rent by choosing a nicer complex (not necessarily luxury apartments) in a better area. When you are choosing where to live, you may find that cheaper apartments are further out and the amount you spend on your commute and the time you lose in your commute is just not worth the extra savings. You can also save on things like a gym membership since nicer complexes usually offer a gym.
To make this work, it will take shopping around and finding the middle ground price-wise. You may need to make sacrifices in space to find something fairly close to where you work. A shorter commute can still save you money and time and may be less expensive than apartments that are directly downtown or next to your office. Also, consider the public transportation and neighborhood options that can help you save on your commute and prevent you from needing a car.
03Meal Delivery Boxes
The meal delivery boxes are a great option if you are trying to transition from eating out every night to cooking at home. If you are not used to cooking they can save you a lot of money. The delivery boxes offer options that make it easy to cook at home and come with complete recipes. It is a great way to get used to cooking at home and can help you build your confidence in the kitchen. Eventually, you will want to transition to creating your own menu and save money that way.
To make this work, you need to commit to cooking your meals at home. You end up wasting money if you throw the food away. If you are single, you can take leftovers to work. Unfortunately, these recipes do not come with leftovers, but you can always purchase extra portions if you want to take your lunch to work.
04Higher Quality Items That Last Longer
When you are looking at items like furniture, appliances, and even clothing, it may be tempting to buy the cheapest items that you can find. However, you can save money by choosing things that were built to last and that are more classic. If you buy a vacuum that will last you 10 years for $400 dollars, that works out to being $40 a year. The cheaper vacuum may be $100, and will need to be replaced every two years, and if you do that five times you end up spending about $500 total or $50 a year and end up with a product that does not work as well.
To make this work, you need to take time to research your appliances and look at how well they last over time. Sometimes over-engineering can end up with more expensive repairs so choosing a simple design without as many bells and whistles but a high quality and reliable brand may be the best option. When it comes to clothes and furniture, choose items that will last through trends, but are easy to add more trendy updates so that you can refresh the look without buying new furniture.
When you are trying to save on food costs, you may be tempted to try to cut back by choosing the cheaper processed foods or canned goods. However, this can end up costing you more as it negatively impacts your health. Additionally, if you are not excited about the food that you are making for dinner, it is easier to buy takeout on the way home and then you will have the food go to waste instead of making it and saving money.
To make this work, you need to shop around for the best deals on these items. For example, Trader Joe’s tends to be a bit less than whole Foods on many items. You can shop at the farmer’s market or join a CSA to save money on fresh locally grown produce. You can also look into buying in large quantities directly from the farmer to save on meat, or use a service like Zaycon Fresh to save on meat. It will take employing several strategies, but you should be able to save money and still eat healthy.
06Memberships That Save You Money
It can be frustrating to have to pay to shop somewhere. It seems counterintuitive to pay to go to a store or to save on shipping. However, memberships to warehouse clubs like Costco, and Sam’s can save you money especially if you buy in bulk. Similarly, you may be able to save with online memberships like amazon Prime, which sometimes offers lower prices on certain items to members, plus you can get free shipping and the video library.
To make this work you need to still compare prices between different locations. Sometimes your local grocery store will have a better deal than you can find at the warehouse. Additionally, you need to be sure that you will use up your bulk items before they go bad. If you are throwing things away, then you are not really saving money. Properly storing bulk items like rice and flour can help them last longer.
07Buying a Home Versus Renting
A home may cost more than renting especially when you consider the increase in home repair costs and taxes. However, buying a home allows you to build equity and will give you the chance to save money and increase your overall net worth. If you buy a condo instead of renting, you can sell it when you are ready for a home or you want to start a family. However, you should be sure you are ready to buy a home before you do it.
To make this work, you need to find a home that you can afford. When looking at condos or townhomes, be sure you consider the monthly maintenance fees into your overall payment. It helps to have a solid down payment in place. You should also have a solid budget that you can stick to so that you do not end up house poor and resent your decision to purchase a home.
Insurance can be expensive and there may be times when you do not want to pay for it. If you are healthy, it may seem like a big chunk of your paycheck goes to covering health insurance. You may have similar feelings about car and renter’s insurance. However, if you do end up with an emergency, you can end up spending thousands of dollars without insurance. It is worth having coverage.
To make this work, you can look for discounts through your work or your alumni association. You can combine policies for discounts. Adjusting your deductible up can help you save on monthly insurance premiums, but you will need to have that money put aside in a savings account.
If you are serious about working out and you go on a regular basis, purchasing a few pieces of gym equipment and canceling your membership can help you save money. The savings really depend on how much you spend on a gym membership. Additionally, space may be a factor for you and so something that folds up may be better than larger pieces. Free weights may be a better option than a weight machine.
To make this work, you need to shop around for quality equipment that is not too expensive. You should also know the type of equipment you usually use and focus on getting that instead of equipment that will just gather dust and not get used. This works best if you already know enough about setting up exercise routines that are effective for you.
10Set Amount of Fun Money
It is important to set aside money each month that you can spend on entertainment of things that you just want and do not necessarily need. This may be counter-intuitive, especially if you are on a bare-bones budget and money is really tight, but it really does make sticking to a budget much easier. When you cut back too much you often end up frustrated and end up spending more than you would have if you had allowed yourself a bit of money to spend how you wanted.
To make this work, you will need to stick to the amount you budgeted. It can help to do this primarily in cash or if you spend most of your money at one online location, but a gift card for each month to that site. For example, most of my free money is spent on books and I can set my limit by purchasing the amount I have to spend in gift cards for myself. Then I do not need to worry about tracking it and I can just check my balance before I make a purchase. Additionally, you need to make sure that the amount fits into your budget. If money is really tight, it may be just $20 a month, but if you are reaching your goals it may be closer to $100 a month.
How Paying Extra Can Help You Save Time and Money
When you are trying to save money and set up a budget, you may be looking for the cheapest option for everything that you do. However, there are times when paying a bit more will help you save money. It is important to think about how long you are going to use something, how it will affect you in the long-term and your personal habits when it comes to spending. Once you do this, you can find ways to save money and time that may look like they cost a bit more money.