This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo about saving money.
No matter who you are, you should always look for tips and tricks to help you save money. This won’t just be a benefit to you, but also your family and, if you’re an entrepreneur, your business. However, everyone knows that designing a budget and sticking to it is easier said than done. What’s more, it can feel as if there is always another purchase, another bill, another emergency expense that makes it impossible to save up enough funds every month.
But, these bills and services are often essential, or at least, you think they’re essential. Food and energy are essential, of course, but you need to look past this. You might find that what you thought were essentials were, in fact, luxuries, and although these luxuries can help make your life easier, they can’t help you if you want to save money. So, what can you do? Consider these ten tips to help you save money on essentials.
Understand What Essential Means
Before doing anything, you must understand what essential means to you. This can be different for each person, as everyone has unique needs that ensure they are comfortable. Despite this, it’s easy to define essential by separating what you need from what you want.
Things like food, energy, and even internet or data connection should all be considered essential. On the other hand, an expensive cable subscription might not be so essential, especially with the wealth of options you can find with streaming services. Furthermore, little treats from the supermarket are things you could consider essential now and again, but making a habit of it will not do your finances any good.
Plan In Advance
Planning can always be beneficial if you want to save precious cash and put your family in a stronger financial position. You might already do something similar to this, and shop for next year’s Christmas presents in July. This is not the only way to go, though.
One of the most effective ways to save money is by considering seasonal purchases. This includes everything from Easter eggs to Christmas decorations, as well as any holiday celebration in between. You can easily save money by buying these decorations in advance while they are heavily discounted. Doing so won’t just help you save money, but it will also give you the peace of mind that you’re ready for the holidays, and you’ll not need to make a mad last-minute dash to the store.
Remember That You Have Options
You always have options when looking for the best ways to save money on your essential purchases. This includes your cell phone plan, your car deal, as well as several other options that all go into ensuring a comfortable life for you and your family.
This is true even if you need to take out a loan. Services such as Plenti.com.au can offer low-rate loans that are less intimidating to pay back. Services like this give your family the buffer you need to make significant purchases on essential items, such as a refrigerator or purchasing a vehicle. Wherever you are, it’s important to research which options are available to you, and you can compare possible prices and rates to help you find the best deal.
Making big life decisions can be tricky when you have money on your mind. There are so many scenarios in which you might need to take out a loan – going back to college, buying a home, or even starting a business. These big moves are “essentials” too – just the rare kind that only come around once in a while. There are ways to save money on all these things – such as studying online at institutions like Marymount University – but ultimately, there’s still a cost to these big moves. By knowing you have options and researching thoroughly, you’ll be able to save money in the long run.
Keep Track of Dates
One thing that always seems to trip people up is losing track of payment dates. These are dates that come every month, such as your phone or internet bill. They may come every three or six months in the case of a water bill or other utilities. Missing these payments can impact your budget, as you will often think you have more money than you actually do.
Therefore, it’s crucial to make a list of payment dates to help you keep track of everything. You can write this on a physical calendar or use your phone or laptop calendar to keep track. It might always be worth including the cost along with the type of payment you need to pay. By keeping track of these dates, you can monitor your budget and keep enough money for essential payments.
Buy In Bulk
It might be more convenient to pick up a small bag of rice when you run to the supermarket, but this is not always financially intelligent, especially if you’re trying to save as much money as possible. The higher the volume of the product, the cheaper it will be, which is why bulk buying is fantastic for personal needs as much as it is for small businesses. Instead of purchasing a smaller version of the product, whether rice, pasta, sauces, or meat, look at wholesale options.
Some foods will keep for a long time, anyway, whereas others might go bad within a week. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though, as you can freeze what you’re not using now so that it’s ready for later.
Get Rid of Unused Subscriptions
There is a startling percentage of people who are still signed up for services they pay for but rarely use. These payments, sometimes known as ghost subscriptions, are things such as old phone plans, digital subscriptions to things like Netflix or Spotify, or even gym memberships.
Many people will tell themselves that they will use these subscriptions, but they just need to find the time. However, every month you don’t use these subscriptions, even just once or twice a month, is a substantial waste of money. Often, it’s that people have forgotten about the subscription altogether, so do through your bank account and audit payments. If you identify any payments that you don’t use, get rid of them as soon as possible.
Stay Up to Date With Events and Promotions
Events and promotions are some of the best ways to save money on key essentials, especially toiletries like shampoo or toothpaste. The problem that many people encounter is that they either just miss these promotions. Or, they forget about them until it’s too late.
However, if you keep track of sales events and promotions, you won’t miss a great deal ever again. This is a fantastic way to stock up on household essentials, even if you don’t need them right now. Make sure you get to supermarkets and stores as early as possible while the stock is still high, so you’re not disappointed, and fill your shopping cart with as much as you can carry.
Know Where to Find the Best Prices
You might have a favorite store where you buy your food and other must-haves. This place is usually convenient. It’s close by, and you can get to it without taking too much time out of your day. However, have you ever stopped to think that there might be better prices for the same items elsewhere?
With a little research, you can find which supermarkets stock the same items as your favorite stores at a lower price. These may be a little out of the way and might require you to drive rather than take a walk down the street, but the overall savings will make this worth it. Discount supermarkets are the way forward, especially as the products are often identical to brand-name products from other places.
Make the Most of Discounted Items
Everyone loves a discount, and you might already be familiar with the discount shelves at your local stores or supermarkets. Still, just because there is a discount shelf doesn’t mean you always find what you want. There might be heaps of stuff, but nothing you actually like.
This can make you forget about the discounts. But, if you find ways to make the most of discounted items, you can stock up on a range of essentials, including meat, desserts, and more. It will take time to find out the best time to get everything you need. But, if you find yourself at the supermarket regularly, don’t forget to check out the produce and non-perishables. The discounts are usually applied after 3 PM, but this can vary between chains.
We all know how busy life can get, which means that you might not be able to make the most of your current memberships. You already know about canceling subscriptions, but some memberships might be too difficult to part from.
Instead, see if you can pause your membership when you don’t use it. This can apply to your gym membership, any theme parks your (used to) visit regularly, or even memberships for national parks. If you give these services a call, you should be able to pause the payment for one month, two months, or even six months. If not, you can re-evaluate whether you really need this service.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that any luxury is essential, especially when you get used to using it. However, this can severely impact your finances and make it almost impossible to save money. If you want to improve your financial health for the rest of the year, you must re-evaluate your expenses, consider which essentials are worth it, and get smart about where you shop and which services you use.