3 easy ways to save hundreds of dollars every year
Saving money doesn’t have to be painful.
- Adjusting your way can be enough to keep hundreds of dollars in your checking account.
- If you want to save a lot of money, start with the kitchen.
I don’t know about you, but I do kicks. I’ll spend months eating clean, only to fall off the wagon and finish a box of Toasty Cheez-Its. I can spend years watching my budget like a golden retriever watching her newborn puppies, then fall off the wagon as life gets busy. And it’s when life gets messy or I’m busy that I burn through money that could have been saved and invested.
Luckily, I recognize when I’m not being as careful as I should be, and I’m able to take steps to correct myself. Here are three ways to save money without depriving yourself.
1. Take inventory
Going to the grocery store is about as much fun for me as being frisked at the airport. My travels are often made of desperation. For example, I decide to make Mexican for dinner, only to find that I don’t have any tortillas at home. While I’m at the grocery store, I pick up a few other things so I don’t have to come back anytime soon.
Here’s the problem: I often buy things that I already have at home. If I had only taken the time to look in my refrigerator, my freezer and my pantry, I would have a better idea of what I should be spending.
It is estimated that 30-40% of food in the United States is wasted each year. It is wrong on so many different levels that it is difficult to analyze them. For example, how many people could be fed with the food we throw away, and how much money could we save if we only bought what we need and what we will use?
I’ve been struggling with this issue for a while now, and here’s what I found. I joined Walmart+. It’s free for me because my American Express card reimburses me the monthly fee of $12.95. The main benefit of being a Walmart+ member is that I don’t have to pay a fee to have my groceries delivered. I tip the driver, but the amount of money I save by not buying things I don’t need more than makes up for it.
Before placing an order, I make a list of the meals we are going to eat at home. And even though it hurts, I check the fridge, freezer, and pantry to make sure I don’t already have any of the ingredients. Only when I am sure do I place the order.
Having someone else shop for me means not buying junk I don’t need (including the aforementioned delicious Toasty Cheez-Its). The less junk I have in the house, the more likely I am to eat fruits and vegetables. When it comes to the foods Americans throw away most often, fruits and vegetables top the list.
2. Relax with cleaning products
When I was a kid, I promised myself that my house would be spotless when I grew up. And for the most part, I’ve been true to that promise. That said, I have a weakness for cleaning products. I will try just about anything new on the market. Since moving into our new home four weeks ago, my favorite purchase has been an O’Cedar EasyWring mop and bucket. Not to stress too much about it, but it might just be the best mop I’ve ever used.
The problem is that I can waste hundreds of dollars every year on cleaning products that I don’t need. I have to wonder why. Vinegar and water kill things like salmonella and E. coli. And if I follow that up with a store-bought disinfectant, 99.9% of the lingering germs will be gone.
And if you haven’t discovered the joy of Murphy’s Oil Soap, let me tell you what it can do. A few drops in a bucket (or sink) of water cleans up all the things you wouldn’t think of using oil soap on. Murphy’s cleans everything from counters and windows to blood stains (don’t ask). It makes old furniture look great and that new mop I mentioned? I honestly didn’t know our wood floors could look this good until I added a few drops of oil soap to the bucket of water and spun the room. Murphy’s is also ideal for cleaning toilets, sinks, showers and bathroom floors.
In my area, 128 fl oz of white vinegar is $3, 128 fl oz of Murphy’s $14, and 32 fl oz of all-purpose disinfectant cleaner is $4. I think the vinegar and Murphy would last me four or five months with the sanitizer would last about six weeks. I would still buy laundry detergent and dish soap, but keeping it simple would save hundreds of dollars every year.
3. Drop your belayer
Do you remember someone ever telling you how much they love buying car insurance? Neither do I. It’s hard to know where to start, what coverage you need and how to find the best rates. And yet, the average driver saves nearly $400 a year when he changes car insurers. And that’s just car insurance. If you also own a home, you can bundle coverage and save even more.
If your driving record is a bit messy or your credit score is very low, you may want to give your record time to recover and take steps to raise your credit score before shopping for new coverage. . Both will allow you to score a lower rate when the time comes.
The great thing about each of these tips is that none of them feel like being on a financial diet. You don’t have to do without anything, but you can still enjoy it.
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