Ways to Save More Money Everyday
At Cents of Happiness we often talk about the importance of growing your net worth, using your money wisely, living below your means and finding ways to save more money everyday. An important part of the formula to increase our monthly savings is how much we spend — or not spend — on shopping and eating out. There are tricks that we can do to minimize these expenditures.
Plan Before You Buy
Ever bought something just because it’s on sale? This happens to the best of us. Sadly, most of those items will remain untouched in our closets; a rather wasteful way to use our funds, don’t you think? Good planning will always help, even when it comes to shopping.
For everyday items, I suggest that you identify a few stores that are conveniently located to you and that you enjoy going to. Driving long distance just to pick up a loaf of bread or milk wastes both your time and gas.
Sign up for store email newsletters so you know what items are on sale and how long the sales last. These newsletters may also include coupons. Plenty of stores these days have mobile apps that offer discounts.
Make a list of what you want to buy at each store. Stores are created to tempt you into spending your money. Sticking to the shopping list is the key! There are mobile apps these days that allow you to share your shopping list with other members, so everyone knows exactly what to buy.
Resist the Urge to Impulse Buy
Shopping at the mall is the same thing. Before your trip to the mall, take a look inside your closet. Are there pieces that are missing from your wardrobe? Do you already have an abundance of a certain item? Armed with the knowledge of what you already have in your closet, you’re less likely to impulse buy when you get to the mall.
Alas, we all get tempted by items that’s not on our original shopping list. If this urge arises, then try walking away for a little bit or ask the salesperson to put it on hold. This gives you a chance to price compare and think about how this piece will add to your current wardrobe. Can you wear it in more than 3 ways? Does it complement other pieces that you already own?
If you the answer is yes to all of the above, then go ahead and buy it. We all feel good when we look good!
Save Money Online Shopping
In our household, over 60% of our shopping is done online. Online shopping is convenient and saves time. We get to avoid the crowd and wasting energy trying to find parking space, especially during the holidays.
We like to “window shop” online, where we save items into shopping carts or “save for later” lists. Retailers will often alert you if the items in your cart is on sale. Many retailers periodically email you discount codes. One of our favorite retailer is Old Navy, which often offers steep discounts. I have often received 40% off discount codes that even applies to items from their clearance section.
So before purchasing anything online, always look for promotional codes or coupons. Web sites like retailmenot.com or slickdeals.net are good for this purpose. Make sure you Google the item to see if other retailers offer a lower price. You’d be surprised at what you will find!
Save Money While Eating Out
Even though eating out is more expensive than cooking at home, we occasionally enjoy the social experience of going to restaurants and it’s always fun to explore new places. There are a few places we frequent on a regular basis, and for these restaurants we sign up for their email program to receive discount offers or special promotions.
Often, we make eating out more affordable by skipping the beverages. It is difficult to justify the price of a soda, iced tea, or alcohol at restaurants. We actually do this for both financial and health reasons. Most of the beverages served at restaurants are simply not good for you. Sticking to plain old water makes the most sense to us. Most people don’t drink enough water daily, even though water is quite beneficial to our health.
Making Use of Gift Cards
During the holidays or special occasions, some restaurants will offer limited time deals. You may get a bonus card if you buy a certain amount of gift cards, or receive a free meal coupon or some other special offer. If you know that you enjoy a particular restaurant and will definitely go back in the future, why not take advantage of these offers and save yourself some money.
We have also found great deals on Groupon for restaurants near us. Be sure to read the fine print on how the Groupon can be redeemed or if there are any restrictions on what you need to order. Groupon has been great in helping us discover restaurants that we wouldn’t otherwise go and all those savings sure come in handy.
One sure way to get even more discounts is to buy gift cards for restaurants from Costco. For example, the Costco near my house sells gift cards at a discount to face value for restaurants like Buca di Beppo, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, California Pizza Kitchen, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and P.F. Chang’s.
The discounts typically range from 20-30% off the face value of the gift card. Now imagine if you happen to also have a promotional coupon from that same establishment. There’s nothing wrong with using a 25% off coupon from a restaurant, and then paying the bill with a gift card (that you bought for 30% off face value). Now, that’s what I call a good deal!
Remember, always try and save money whenever you can. Spend a little time at home and do your research in advance. The more you planning you do the more likely you will save!