Spend Less Save More – If you think saving money by cutting expenses is more hassle than it’s worth, this 2-part episode is for you. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to keep more of your hard-earned money without having to sacrifice a thing.
I’ll share the best ways I save money and time every day. And I’m not talking about saving just a few bucks making coffee at home (although I do that too!). In Part 1, I’ll cover 4 clever money-saving tips and then you’ll get 4 more advanced strategies in Part 2.
Smart Ways to Spend Less and Save More Money
If you’re ready to keep more of your money, it’s time to re-evaluate how and where you’re spending it.
Here are 4 tips to cut the cost of items you’re already buying and get much more for your money:
Savings Tip #1: Shop Anywhere, But Buy Online (When Possible)
For many items, you’ll come out ahead purchasing them online. Here’s why:
- You stay focused. When you wander around a brick and mortar store, it’s easy to get distracted by in-store displays, sale items, or trying things out, and end up buying more than you really need.
- You save time. Shopping online is much faster and more efficient than battling traffic, parking, and long checkout lines in stores.
- You get free shipping. Many large online retailers offer free shipping to keep you loyal. So you get what you need without having to pay for transportation or go anywhere.
- You don’t have to handle what you buy. Having items delivered to your doorstep or apartment mail room saves you from having to do the heavy lifting, especially for bulk orders.
- You can easily compare prices. Searching for an item online shows you a variety of sites that sell it. It’s easy to see which merchant has the lowest price, an upcoming promotion, or free shipping.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t support hard-working mom-and-pop merchants in your community if you like to. But even when I’m shopping locally, I may decide to wait and see if I can get a better deal online.
Sticking to an online purchasing strategy makes the most sense for items like certain clothes, electronics, gifts, and non-perishable groceries.
Savings Tip #2: Order Non-Perishable Groceries in Bulk
Speaking of non-perishable grocery items, they’re perfect to buy in bulk online. Buying in bulk simply means purchasing more of something you’d normally buy at once, which typically lowers its unit price. For instance, buying one box of 50 garbage bags may cost $0.15 per bag. But buying 250 of the same item may reduce the cost per bag to $0.08.
I always buy garbage bags, paper products, cleaning products, soaps, vitamins, and office supplies in large quantities because I’m certain that I’ll use them. Additionally, some grocery items with long shelf lives—such as coffee, popcorn, cereal, rice, beans, pasta, and canned food—may be smart bulk purchases, as long as you know you’ll consume them before they expire.
I love Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program because you get up to 15% off a huge selection of grocery, personal care, and household items, plus free shipping. You set up the delivery schedule you need by customizing the frequency at which you want to receive new orders. You’re only charged when items are shipped and you can cancel your subscription at any time. It’s a really great way to manage bulk orders in one place.
Savings Tip #3: Use Online Discounts and Coupon Codes
When you’re shopping online, never check out before checking for ways to get even more savings. There are some great cash back and discount code sites that can really sweeten the deal.
Ebates is one of my favorite ways to cut the cost of just about any online purchase. They get a commission from over 1,700 of the top online stores when you buy something. Instead of keeping the whole commission, they share a portion of it with you. I’ve seen cash back rates as high as 8%.
It’s completely free to join and use. You just search for the store you want to shop and click through. Then you get your payment 4 times a year by check or PayPal.
Another smart way to save is to use discount codes for a percentage or dollar amount off your purchase. I bet you’ve seen a place to enter these on most online shopping carts. But if you don’t have a current code to enter, you can’t take advantage of the discount.
Did you know that you can find these secret promotional codes for thousands of stores at different websites, such as retailmenot.com, currentcodes.com, and couponcodes.com? They keep an up-to-date database of discount codes that can save you huge amounts of money.
Savings Tip #4: Buy Perishable Groceries from the Source
There is one type of purchase that usually doesn’t make sense to buy online: perishable groceries. Not only can grocery delivery be expensive, but the quality of the food may be subpar.
The trick to buying high quality food at low prices is to shop farmer’s markets. You can choose from a variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables from the people who grow them or broker them.
Depending on where you live, some bigger farmer’s markets also have a variety of fish, meat, bread, coffee, condiments, and pre-made salads. Find out where the best farmer’s markets are in your area and check them out. Be sure to bring cash, since most vendors don’t accept credit cards.
Making it a routine to visit the farmer’s market every week can also be a fun family outing. Even if you have to drive to another city or town, the savings and quality you get can really be worth it.