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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Money is tight. As a nation, many of us are struggling to pay bills and living paycheck to paycheck – myself included.
Below are some of the ways I work to save every penny I can. Some you might know already, and some might sound a little strange, but trust me, they all work for many people.
Ah, the “evil” shopping. The necessity to most, and the detriment of many. While classic advice is “Just don’t do it!” That doesn’t exactly work for most people. Most people need to buy groceries. Their kids grow a size and there are no hand-me-downs to be found.
Regardless of the reason, shopping is just one of those necessary evils we almost must suffer through, and hope with all we’ve purchaed that we didn’t overspend. Here are a few of my tips and tricks when it comes to shopping.
I’ve got a few good tips that I take advantage of on a regular basis.
- Make sure you eat first! This is my number one rule for grocery shopping. I will not allow myself to go if I haven’t eaten in the past hour. Even if it’s just a quick banana or granola bar on my way out the door. Now, why is this so important? Well, have you ever gone grocery shopping when you’re hungry? Have you noticed that there tend to be a lot more impulse buys when you do? If you go shopping when you’re hungry, your mind wants to indulge in every craving insight, and you wind up buying a lot more than you budgeted for.
- Write a list and stick to it. By writing a list and planning your meals ahead of time, you know exactly what you need and how much. This will help with impulse buying. Just remember to tell yourself; “If it’s not on the list, I don’t need it!”
- Try for more ingredients and fewer premade dishes. Whether it’s a frozen lasagna, a premade salad mix, or a box of mac and cheese (or if you’re Canadian like me, Kraft Dinner), buying this convenience food will rack up that grocery bill. While that grocery store salad might cost you $8 for a single serving, buying all the ingredients will cost half the price, while also giving you enough to make five of the same salad. Try learning how to make these awesome, and often simple dishes on your own. Trust me, you’ll thank me!
- Try price matching. Now, not every store does price matching, but I always go to the ones that do. It’s an easy way to lower the cost of your grocery bill without going to a million stores. I personally use the flyer app Flipp, but I know a lot of people also use the flyers that come in the mail.
Other kinds of shopping
- Clothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s your business attire for your new office job, a pair of jeans because your last ones wore out, or the next size up for your kids. Shop at thrift stores. In both Canada and the USA, thrift stores can be found all over the place, and they’re a fraction of the price of new. Now, I know some people get grossed out by clothes worn by others, but that’s why you use a washing machine. Buying clothes from your local thrift store versus a first-hand store will cost you a fraction of the price! Definitely worth having to run it through the wash if you ask me.
- Furniture. This is another one of those things I tend to buy mostly second-hand. Brand new furniture can easily cost you into the thousands. That is not worth it to me. Heck, even if I had the money to spare, that sounds ridiculous. It is so easy to find good quality furniture on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace. And often, you’ll find it dirt cheap, or even free! (And I love me some free stuff.) You can also try thrift stores and yard sales for some pretty great finds.
Other Ways to Save
There are numerous other things you can do to save money in your everyday life.
- Cut the cord on cable. If you haven’t already done this, you should. The cost of cable television is huge, with many cable plans running upwards of $50 to $100 a month. Yes, I know, you probably still want to watch some television. Most of us already have at least one streaming service, and even 2 streaming services are cheaper than monthly cable. Look into Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, just to name a few.
- Other forms of entertainment. Whether your thing is books, movies, or video games, have you checked out the library? Libraries are completely free to use, and most people don’t realize that a lot of them hold more than just plain old books. Is paper not your thing? Many public libraries are also connected to a free app called Overdrive – it works in both Canada and the States – that allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks right to your smart device or computer, and again, completely free! (I use Overdrive constantly! I am proud to say over the last 8 years, I’ve collected library cards at six different libraries for more variety too.)
- Staying fit and healthy. Many people prefer workout classes and gym memberships. I get it. There’s just something about working out with a group of people to keep you constantly pushing harder. When money is tight though, find other ways to do it. Try walking around your neighborhood or on a hiking trail, and if you get a walking buddy even better! It’ll help keep you both motivated. Other things you can try, if you’re really missing that class experience is YouTube. It’s full of exercise videos. It’s how I personally do my once a week yoga and HIIT workouts. Heck, even my grandma does workout videos for seniors on YouTube almost daily.
Wrapping it Up
I know there are so many more amazing ways to save money in your everyday life. Heck, I’ve barely skimmed the surface! I just wanted to bring to you some of the ways I use on a regular basis that I love, and people don’t always think about it.
That being said, what are some of your favorite ways to save? (P.S. If they’re uncommon or unorthodox, even better!) Who knows, if there are lots, maybe we’ll do a reader round-up, and your idea could be posted in an article.
Until next time, and stay frugal my friends.