Times have been tough for many people over the last few months. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a headache, inflation is causing everyday items – from gas to groceries – to take a bigger chunk out of our weekly and monthly budgets. Supply chain issues are also adding to the problem, allowing businesses to raise prices. As a result, we have to be more aware than ever about the products and services we buy as we try to stick to our budgets.
Of course, some spending is necessary. But, there may be some wasted spending that can be reduced – if not eliminated entirely – to help cut down monthly costs. Even though the economic climate is less than ideal, it’s still possible to reach your financial goals by trimming the fat on unnecessary spending. Here are a few cost-cutting strategies to consider that can help reduce extraneous expenses.
Pickup instead of delivery
Delivery services are great, but most of them increase the cost of your purchase. Unless you’re really in a bind, consider picking up orders yourself to avoid paying those extra fees and tips for drivers.
Eat in, not out
We all need a night out from time to time but, if you eat out frequently, think about cooking yourself a few extra nights a week. You don’t have to be a master chef to prepare a great-tasting meal, especially with all the recipe options available online – and you’ll have a pretty penny in the process.
Make your own cup of coffee
Along the same lines, if you stop at your local coffee shop on your way to work every morning, think about making your own. You can find great-tasting coffee for less than .50 per cup. That’s about a quarter of what you will pay at a coffee shop for just a basic cup of coffee. If you do that every day, you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
Manage your insurance premiums
Shop around for better deals on your insurance rates. Even if you think you are getting the best rates, if you haven’t shopped around in a while, you may be surprised. Also, check to make sure your coverage makes sense for your current needs. There may be many ways you can reduce your premiums. Not sure where to look? TMB Insurance Services works with more than 40 carriers to take the hassle out of comparison shopping.
Reduce your driving
The low prices were nice while they lasted, but gas prices have also gone up again. Every time you fill up, you’re probably looking at the pump in amazement at how much it just cost you. If you’re doing activities with others, think about carpooling with them. The same goes for work. Try to combine multiple stops when you go out, to reduce the number of trips you make. Along those same lines, if you’re in the market for a new car, think about a fuel-efficient model. Even if you’re not ready for an EV, you may be surprised at how quickly the savings can add up with a hybrid car.
The internet is an amazing tool for finding deals. Use it! Don’t simply assume you’re getting the best deal possible. Regardless of what you’re looking to buy, shop around online to see where you can get the best deals – and factor in shipping costs when buying from an online to make sure you are using the total cost. You may be surprised to see how often you can find a sale, promotion, or coupon. Loyalty programs are another great way save regularly.
Consider buying in bulk
Sure, it’s another annual fee, but if you use them enough, wholesale clubs, like Costco or BJ’s, can save you money, especially on items you use regularly. When it comes to food, packaged properly, many food items will freeze well. Or, you can cook in larger portions and freeze prepared dishes that make for quick weeknight dinners, or just use them as leftovers for lunch or dinner during the week – instead of eating out.
Reduce energy consumption
We all need power, but there are ways we can reduce our power consumption without impacting our living – just our utility bills. Turn off powered items when not in use. That includes lights – the only thing keeping all your lights on every evening does is increase your bill. Look into replacing traditional bulbs with energy-efficient versions – either LED or CFL. Run your dishwasher and laundry with full loads – this will also reduce your water consumption. And use a programmable thermostat to adjust your heating/cooling when you’re not home.
Evaluate subscription usage
Do you belong to a gym? Have a few streaming accounts or digital magazine or newspaper subscriptions? Are you paying for an application you no longer use? The modern economy is flooded with subscription-based plans for popular products and services. We have become accustomed to automatic payments for recurring expenses like these. It helps ensure we don’t miss paying bills, but it also makes it easy to forget what you’re paying for every month. Subscription-based services only make sense if you actually use them. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money every month. Make a list of all of your subscriptions and evaluate how often you use them and whether it actually makes financial sense to retain those subscriptions.
These are only a few ways you can save on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Individually, they may not seem like much, but collectively and factored in over the course of a month or year, the savings can be very significant. What you do with that extra cash is up to you, but one great option is to put it into savings using a savings app, like Plinqit.
Don’t let the state of the economy take you away from financial freedom. With smart shopping habits, informed decision making, and some help from your friends and family, your savings can continue to rise without much sacrifice.