Ten Quick and Easy Money Saving Tips
Trying to save money is an everyday struggle for most. Even though it can seem impossible to get ahead, there are ways to save a few dollars, leading to significant savings over time.
1. Give up Name Brands
Brand loyalty is what keeps major corporations in business, but it is not always beneficial to the consumer. With their catchy slogans and labels, big brands reel in shoppers by purporting to be superior to the off brands that lack those types of appeal. However, hidden beneath the plain labels may be an equal or even superior product. Do not be afraid to try store brands, off brands, or generics. They are often significantly cheaper than the national brands and may provide desired quality without all the flash.
2. Shop Discount Stores
Big stores like Wal-Mart or Kroger may carry all the name brands and seemingly offer the best quality, but many discount stores like Aldi offer the same quality without the high prices. While stores like Aldi only carry limited amounts of name brand items, the store brands they carry are comparable to those found in other chain stores. Their fresh produce and meat are also priced lower than in larger stores, making it affordable to eat healthily. Beyond stores that carry primarily food items, stores like Dollar General or Dollar Tree also offer deep discounts on cleaning products, clothing, and things like dishes and cookware. Some items may be packaged in smaller amounts, misleading customers to believe they are cheaper, but others really are a bargain. Make sure to compare not only price, but also the quantity to ensure a true discount.
3. Download an App
Savings apps, like Ibota, Retail Me Not, or Shopkick, offer coupons, rebates, and savings by allowing users to download coupons, or gain cash or points on their purchases. Each app works a differently, but the premise is to help the consumer save cash, either immediately or over time. Sometimes the savings are huge, and others times it may only be a few cents. Overall, a person may save larger amounts over the period of a year, especially during the holidays, as many of the apps offer special holiday rebates of several dollars. In addition, many of these apps offer sign-on bonuses and friend referral bonuses.
4. Subscribe for Savings
Many stores offer loyalty programs for returning customers. Be it the local grocery, or a major retailer, there may be significant savings available for scanning a loyalty card and/or registering an email. While some of these programs lead to immediate savings at the checkout, others keep track of spending, issuing points and discounts after reaching a certain level. Some also offer early-bird specials, holiday discounts, and even fuel discounts. The savings may seem small, but they will add up in time.
5. Unsubscribe from Email Lists
Not spending money on unneeded items is the fastest way to keep money in the bank. One purpose of email solicitation is reach consumers who may not already be shopping, so they will visit websites and stores to make an unplanned purchase. Receiving an email about clearance sales and discounted items might be useful if those things are needed, but the same email can lure in buyers for items they might not need, leading to impulse spending. In order to avoid those frivolous purchases, unsubscribe from any unneeded email. Doing this can lessen spending and increase savings with minimal effort.
6. Return Unwanted Items
Sometimes, there may be purchases that do not fit the intended need–an item might be broken, may not fit, or may just be an extra. Rather than leave these lying around, consider returning these items to the place of purchase for a refund. With a receipt, most stores will issue a refund, so long as it is within the designated timeframe and fits the return policy. Even without the receipt, some stores will issue store credit. Some things may not be returnable unless faulty, and most stores have fairly strict guidelines for the amount of time after purchase to return an item, so make sure to check those rules.
7. Sell Unwanted Items
Most people have things they no longer want or need. So long as the items are in good condition, selling them online, at a yard sale, through an app, or in the newspaper can lead to extra money. Hot-ticket items like computers and electronics can fetch large prices, while still being affordable for the purchaser.
8. Buy Used
As stated above, buying used items can be affordable, especially for pricier items. People sell furniture, household goods, electronics, and clothing they no longer need or want every day. Moving and estate sales, auctions, flea markets, and the aforementioned types of sales can lead to money-saving deals on great items.
9. Make Cleaners at Home
Commercial cleaners, often containing harmful chemicals like bleach and ammonia, can cost hundreds of dollars over time. Not to mention, they are harmful to the environment. With just a few dollars, anyone can make effective, environmentally friendly cleaners to use on nearly everything in the home, and even outside. Things like baking soda, lemon juice, and white or cleaning vinegar are wonderful for nearly all household chores, including tubs and tile, kitchen counters, floors, and even vinyl siding. In fact, vinegar is more effective at eliminating mold than bleach, as bleach leaves residue behind on which mold can grow. Most of these items cost less than two dollars each and make gallons of cleaner, saving hundreds a year when compared to cleaning products that might cost five dollars or more for just a few ounces.
10. Ditch Cable
Cable television was once a status symbol. Every household wanted all the channels cable had to offer. Now that most homes have internet access, cable is becoming an unneeded expense. Devices like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick, apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and networks like CBS and ABC all operate through an internet connection. While most do require some type of subscription fee, those charges are minimal compared to the high price of cable. Moreover, there is no more need to pay for unwanted channels. Each subscriber can choose which networks to subscribe to, eliminating unwanted bundles and needless expense.
There are ways to keep money from slipping away. These ten easy ways to save, paired with others like having movie night at home, and avoiding credit card debt can keep your money where it belongs–in your pocket.