4:48 pm , by
Category: Budget and Expenses
The list of money saving ideas gets longer. (Also read the first part “Setting up a Budget – Avoid more money black holes”.)
You can pretty much always save by carrying your own (whatever) rather than buying out. Perhaps you didn’t think of these ways of saving:
- Do you like Dunkin Donuts coffee? Buy the bag of beans, make a pot at home, and travel with a thermos. Not only does this save you in the cost of the beverage itself, it helps the environment (‘cause you don’t use a disposable cup daily), and if you drive there, it saves money in gas
- Use your supermarket instead of specialty stores: buy the package of gum and pop a pack in your pocket, bring a muffin from the supermarket 4-pack found in the baked goods section, or buy the big bag of chips and put a couple of handfuls in a plastic bag. These small efforts can save you a bundle compared to spur-of-the-moment store or vending machine purchases.
- The major league of moneysaving BYOB – is bringing your own bag lunch. Maybe you don’t have time, but if you do, these night-before efforts can translate to major savings. Most of the time, after making my kids’ lunches, I have no time to make one for myself. But I would sometimes pop a frozen bagel in the toaster and put tea in my travel mug – running out the door with these things in hand means I get breakfast and I don’t have to shell out extra cash to buy pretty much the same food at a premium, even if the result is the same (that is, that I have to eat in the car, on the run).
Store “savings” cards
- I don’t walk around with all these dumb cards. What I do is keep the key cards only, and I keep them all on one key ring. Then, when I go out shopping, I just grab that key ring. If somehow I don’t have the card with me when I’m shopping, I just give the cashier my phone number and ask whether my key number can be looked up. Normally, it can.
- My savings add up, even though I think it’s ridiculous that I have to be a “member” before I get any discounts. It doesn’t promote store loyalty for me. It just prompts me to become a member of every supermarket in my area! No matter what, I shop where I see the best prices.
Avoid gift cards
- “…use them as quickly as possible, and think twice about buying them in the first place.” Says ConsumerReports.org, one of my favorite “save-money-websites”. I learned this in one of their articles on bankruptcy – didn’t even think about the problem of what happens to your card if the issuer suddenly files for bankruptcy! They also informed me about hidden fees, and expiration dates, and other pains in the you know what. The biggest problem, I think, is that stores make bundles because people lose or don’t use them (before the expiration date). They even have an open letter on their site: “Dear Shopper, Last year, shoppers like you were out $8 billion because of unused, lost, or expired gift cards. Easy money for retailers. Lost money for you. Yours truly, Consumer Reports.” (Learn more by clicking here). If you don’t have time to shop, give your loved or liked ones some cash, or gift subscriptions to magazines like Consumer Reports (they offer print and online subscriptions), Real Simple, or Smart Money.
- Here’s the thing: I’m no angel. I happen to have gift cards in my house right now. They are hanging out in our household coupon drawer as we speak. Even though I know where they are, I don’t carry them around, so I don’t have them on hand when I am walking by the store where I could use it. They proliferate in my house too, when – guess what? – I end up making returns when I’ve lost the receipt!
I’ll tell you, and hubby, that I’ll try to make this a regular contribution, but you’ll have to wait for me to think of more before you get the next installment.
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