Covid-19 put pressure on many people’s wallets and led to a rethink about budgets and saving money. We have thought about six of the simplest ways you can put some extra dough away not just this year, but in the years to come.
Optimize Your Food Spending
Food is something everyone has to deal with every day, multiple times a day. But there are ways to save both time and money.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. This allows you to put together a grocery list. Speaking of…
- Stick to your grocery list. Supermarkets aren’t accidentally letting you smell those delicious chocolate chip cookies. If you want to avoid that temptation altogether…
- Use online pickup or delivery. Some stores offer free delivery of groceries and whoever picks your groceries for you will definitely stick to the list.
- Consider buying generic/store brands. Many people don’t realize that often the store brands are manufactured and packed by one of the biggest brands in that industry. Why? Because grocery stores aren’t in the business of manufacturing everything they sell. They are happy to let someone else make it and slap a generic label on. While some brands do have a secret sauce that make them worth buying, on many basic commodities a solid generic/store brand will do just as well.
Audit Your Subscriptions
While many of us may be glad for the auto subscriptions that we have, the hidden trap is that we very rarely audit those subscriptions. The companies who continue to bill you every month certainly aren’t going to encourage you to audit them either!
Take a look at all the recurring charges that you have and make sure that you are still using/getting value from them. Don’t get pulled into the sunk cost fallacy that gyms use to their advantage, “if I cancel my gym membership, that means I’ve given up on my health.” Be honest with yourself about what you’re actually using and save.
Audit Your Recurring Expenses
Most people don’t think about it, but many of the costs they “have to” pay for are open to negotiation.
- Insurance. Insurance is a competitive market and your current provider knows it. They may be willing to give you a rate cut if you just call and ask, but will be even more likely if you call with a few quotes that offer you great savings. They would rather keep you than lose you to the competition.
- Credit cards. If you are carrying balances (or even if you’re not) make sure that you’re asking for a lowering of your interest rates if you’ve been a good customer and always ask for fees to be waived. The worst thing they can say is “no” and very often they are authorized to say “yes.”
- Utilities. There are some basics you can do around the home with lightbulbs, smart meters, and making sure any holes in your insulation are sealed. But in some areas there are also different rates and savings opportunities with your electric provider. Again, call and ask.
Use Your Library
While many of us take streaming services and “one click” buying for granted, the reality is that many libraries (which we pay for with our taxes) provide access to digital and actual content. Often all you need to do is the brief administrative work necessary to get a library card and you can have access to lots of resources that you’re already paying for. That can allow you to tap the breaks on some of the unnecessary spending on streaming services and book buying.
We have seasons in our lives of things that we were once interested in that we no longer are. Maybe it’s an instrument we used to play, or a field of study we were obsessed with. Instead of gathering dust (and taking up room) in our homes, they can be the favorite item of a new owner. There are so many platforms to sell or give away these items. You’ll not just put some money back in your pocket, you’ll relish the mental real estate you get by watching more space in your home return to you.
Saving money is always important, but perhaps no more important than in these strange days of Covid. You don’t have to try all five of these at once, but even one will make an impact you will appreciate.
This content originally appeared in our Open Calendar Club Newsletter.
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