Tips & Tricks To Save During Times of High Prices
So, if you're like most people...lately you've felt like you have to decide between getting a carton of eggs...or sending your kid to college. I mean, why are eggs so expensive right now?!?! Sadly, it does not look like grocery prices, or any other prices for that matter, are coming down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, some economists predict the prices we are seeing now are likely the new normal. That we will start to see prices cease to rise, but not likely come back down. With that in mind, it is important to learn how to stretch a paycheck further each week. So, LLCU Financial Counselors created a list of tips & tricks to start saving money now. So don't throw in the towel just yet on sending your kiddo to college.
- Limit the number of times you dine out in a week.
- Take lunch to work, instead of grabbing on-the-go.
- Cut back on your grocery bill by making a shopping list ahead of time and sticking to only the items on the list.
- Avoid high priced stores and shop at discount stores.
- Join loyalty programs to get coupons and discounts.
- Avoid the high prices of the theatre and watch movies at home.
- For streaming, select ONE service (i.e. – Netflix, Cable or Hulu) and stick to it only.
- Don’t be tempted to buy in to multiple outlets to get entertainment.
- Go over all of your recurring subscriptions and/or review the free trials you might have signed up for that auto-renew and you never use them.
- Be cautious of great sign-up deals. Be sure to ask what the rate moves to at renewal time.
- Save your internet searches on your phone for when you are on WIFI, not on cellular service.
- Look into getting a prepaid smart phone plan to avoid over-spending.
- Shop around to other carriers for the best deal, but again, be cautious of great "first-year" or sign-on deals. Be sure to ask what the rate moves to at renewal time.
- Consider eliminating your house phone if you still have one.
GYM or FITNESS FACILITY
- It is important to exercise every day, but it is not necessary to pay to exercise. Brainstorm ways to be active without having to fork over a big chunk of your paycheck to an overpriced gym.
- Get outside and enjoy nature with a walk or jog.
- Use your stairs in your home or at a local park to feel the burn.
- Search on YouTube or Google for "Home Workouts" - there are literally thousands for all levels of fitness!
- Learn the very important habit of categorizing things you’re looking at as either a NEED or a WANT. If you don’t need it, use the “sleep on it” method. This means, put the item down, go home and sleep on it and if you still think you want it the next day, then go for it.
- For online shopping, do this same thing. Put the item in the cart and leave it for a day or two. More often than not, you’ll decide to forego the purchase. Additionally, sometimes an online vendor will track that you have not yet pulled the trigger and may email you an offer to finish your purchase!
- Avoid saving credit card information on websites. Not only will you avoid identity theft or fraudulent charges, but you’ll also have to manually enter a card for any purchases, which often makes you think twice before clicking BUY.
- Avoid opening store credit cards for discounts. This may save you at that moment, but you'll have too much access to drive up your credit card debt.
GAS & TRAVELING
- Always shop for the best gas prices before you fill up!
- Download an app like GASBUDDY, which searches for best prices for you in the area.
- Consider carpooling as often as you can, whether for yourself for work, or for events for your kids (i.e. soccer practice, etc.).
- Reduce your speed to save on gas mileage.
- Look for gas station rewards programs. Some will offer you dollars back on a credit card for purchases or some offer loyalty discounts.
- With the ease of using the Internet to compare rates, the insurance business is much more competitive than it used to be. Shop around for the best deals on any type of insurance you have—auto, home, life, etc.
- Check into bundling these with one company to save even more.
- You should shop your insurance company every year, especially if you have an agent that just rolls over your policy without checking for new discounts you might be eligible for.
- Keep your thermostat in check. Don’t turn it down too much in summer or too high in winter.
- Unplug appliances that you do not regularly use (i.e. coffee machine, printer, etc.).
- Shop around services periodically to be certain you’re getting the best price – you don’t have to stay with the same garbage hauler if you can find a better offer.
- Save on your Water Bill with the following tips:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only do full loads of laundry or dishes.
- Don’t leave water running while you brush your teeth or shave.
- Use a dishwasher instead of doing dishes by hand.
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days.
- Wash your car at a car wash instead of at home.
- Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Throw everything you can into the trash instead.
- Avoid using your sink’s garbage disposal feature.
- Put mulch around plants to slow the evaporation of water.
- Shower instead of taking a bath.
- Don’t thaw food by running water over it. Thaw it in the microwave instead.
- Wash your pet in an area of the lawn that needs watering.
- Check your toilet or any outdoor spigots for leaks.
- If you have plants or flowers to water regularly, collect rain water in a barrel.
GIVE UP VICES
- Might be time to give up the vices that cost you money, and often times your health as well. Cut out cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food.
- Cut back on coffee and soda or eliminate them from your diet entirely.
- Don't even think about a visit to the casino.
- Reevaluate how much money you are having taken out of each of your paychecks. It may be more than is necessary. Cut this expense by using the IRS withholding calculator to determine the appropriate amount to have withheld from each paycheck.