Please welcome today’s guest author, Sara Masterson! Sara is a tech-fanatic and a freelance writer for MobileMoo.com. Sara likes spending time on Pinterest and learning about new technologies and ways to save money. She also enjoys reading a good book or watching an interesting documentary. Today Sara is going to share some great tips for saving money – something I think everyone is interested in right now. Thanks Sara!
Ways to Save Money on Everyday Items
Saving money is always good, especially in today’s economy. People try everything they can to save a few extra bucks, whether it’s by taking advantage of different specials at restaurants, or joining a rewards program at the grocery store to save on gas. There are plenty of ways that you can save money on items you use every day.
Probably one of the most obvious ways you can save money is by couponing. Of course, you don’t have to go to the extreme and create a big binder of coupons. A lot of stores have little magazines at the front of the store with the current coupons and deals of that week or month. Some of these stores also post the magazine on their website so you can look at it before you make your trip to the store and plan out your grocery trip. There are also plenty of couponing apps that make finding and using coupons simple and easy. The SnipSnap app lets you search for coupons in their database, built from other users, or you can import your own. If you let the app use your current location, it will notify you of coupons you have saved for the store you are walking into. Using coupons can help you save some extra money at the cash register, even if you aren’t an extreme couponer.
A lot of people are getting on the Do It Yourself bandwagon, whether it’s to decorate your home or to make your own jewelry. Most DIY projects cost a fraction of the price as the retail brand products, work just as well, and are easy to do. By DIYing items you use on a daily basis, you can save a lot of money. People are finding they can make their own disinfectant wipes, laundry detergent, or household cleaning products and spending a lot less than they would on the name brand products. Another thing you can make yourself is pet treats. If you have a dog, cat, bird, or other animal and buy different treats and food, you could save some money by making your own treats. Homemade treats can actually be much better for your pet since you know there aren’t any chemicals, and you can remove any ingredients that your pet may be allergic to. You can find just about any DIY project you would want out on Pinterest.
Generic products get a lot of bad press when people compare them to the brand name products. However, there are a lot of products you can buy the generic version of since it’s the exact same product as the name brand. There are some things that you should definitely buy the generic brands of. Things like flour, sugar, and salt are required by the FDA to have the same ingredients in them. So, you know if you buy the store brand flour you will still have the same product as if you bought King Arthur Flour. You can also buy generic medication. The FDA requires for all medications, generic or brand name to have the same active ingredients, so it doesn’t matter if you by the cheaper Walmart brand ibuprofen instead of Advil, you will still get the same amount of pain relief. Of course, there are some things you shouldn’t buy the generic. Things like toilet paper and paper towels aren’t made with the same ply count so they won’t be as strong or soft as your name brand products. Generic trash bags and diapers are also made with less material making them easier to rip, tear, and leak. Buying the generic or store brand of a product can save you a few cents, which adds up pretty quickly.
Buying Multiple of the Same Item
A lot of stores put out deals to buy X amount get X amount free. You should take advantage of these deals. When it comes to buying multiple things of toilet paper, trash bags, or even canned goods, you know these are items aren’t going to go bad any time soon and you know you will use them eventually. For frozen goods or meats, you can save any extras in the freezer until you need them. When you buy packs of chicken, pork, or steak, you may not always need 5 of them at one time. Any extras that you have you can freeze individually. That way if you are making dinner and find out you will have a guest you can easily thaw out a single chicken breast instead of thawing an entire package. Some items you should be wary of buying in bulk are baked goods, fruits, and fresh vegetables. Depending on how often you eat these items, you run the risk of them going bad before you can eat them which then is just a waste of money. If you were going to have a party or be entertaining, you could get more bang for your buck buying these items in bulk. Of course like with meat, you always have the option of freezing them to keep them a little longer.
Watch Your Money
People are very surprised at how much money they can save when they are actually watching how much they are spending on things. To help watch your money, you can track your spending using QuickBooks accounts program, or by creating an excel spreadsheet. After a month of tracking you’re spending, you can see how much you spend on a daily basis and where you may need to change your spending habits. Tracking your money can help you see exactly how much you are saving by getting generic brands or making your own products. Another way to watch your money is by give yourself a weekly allowance for your daily items by pulling out cash at the beginning of the week. When people use cash they are more aware of how much they spend since they can physically see it, unlike with a credit card. When you use cash, you can also save up any change you get and then at the end of the month cash in your change to get a little extra spending money for next month.
Thanks for the tips, Sara! Personally I’m more of a DIY’er than a couponer, but I know lots of people who love using coupons to save money.
How do YOU save money on everyday items?