Saving money sure doesn’t always seem easy. I mean look, I went shopping last week, list in hand, prepared to get what was on it and nothing else (but of course, that didn’t happen), and when I got through the checkout line, My total came out to $120.
And what do I have in my fridge to show for it?
Well, to be fair, it was a stock up trip, and a lot of it is in the deep freezer. Trust me when I say we won’t be needing to buy butter again for several months.
Which leads me to this: What are some easy, doable steps to save money that everybody can implement?
I think you’ll be surprised if you sit down and think about it for a minute.
- Stock up. This will probably always be at the top of my list because it’s so important! Nearly everything is cheaper by weight or measurement units when you buy more of it. So buy non-perishable, and freezable items in bulk. It just makes sense! Not everyone has a deep freezer, but with a little organization, you’d be surprised how much you can fit in a normal kitchen freezer.
- Cut out expensive drinks. You know what I’m talking about. They’re white cups with a funny green logo? Cut. It. Out. It’s like giving someone money to give you the worst junk they can find to put in your body, poisoning you slowly. Going to Starbucks is a status symbol, but of all the ways to waste money, it’s also one of the worst.
- Shop online with cash back sites like eBates. I wrote recently about how shopping site-to-store was not only saving me money, but seriously distressing my life. It’s worth a try!
- Take a serious look at your cell phone plan. I’ve found this to be a bit of a touchy subject for some people, because they don’t want to give up data and have to think twice before using the internet on their phone (or whatever the case may be) which is fine. But even if that’s you, it’s still a good idea to shop around and find the best deals. I recently switched to Ting.com, which is a pay as you go plan. I love it because most months, I don’t go over 100 megabytes of data on my phone, so Verizon’s plan was a constant waste of money, and yet, when I need it, I NEED IT. And my average monthly bill is less than $20.
- Don’t bother buying organic produce unless you know exactly how it was grown. A lot of the stuff you see at the store sadly isn’t any better than conventional produce. A lot of people disagree with me, but as I’ve said, I’ve personally known Whole Foods suppliers, who delivered the exact same product to Save-A-Lot as they did to Whole Foods. Call me a skeptic, but after seeing hydroponic farms labeled as organic, I don’t trust the label one iota.
- Eat more whole foods. You might be surprised, but often eating whole foods will lower your grocery bill. Why? Because vegetables and fruits may not be calorically dense, but they’re nutritional powerhouses. Often, what we interpret as hunger pangs is our body craving nutrition, and sometimes, no matter how many calories you eat, you still crave. Little Debbie cakes may seem cheaper on a per calorie basis, but they may actually make you hungrier!
- Make a meal plan. If you’re like me – or the way I use to be – you dread the very idea of meal planning, because it takes so much time and preparation. But you can make meal planning simple with a rotating meal plan, which allows you to take advantage of sales cycles, and save who even knows how much money!
- Eat more beans. Beans are much maligned, but a great source of super cheap vegetarian protein. Cooking your own dried beans, rather than buying canned makes them even cheaper and more versatile. Try to intentionally supplement at least one meal with beans every week. One of my favorites? Easy refried beans. My kids would eat burritos or quesadillas for lunch nearly every day, so I’m not exactly sure how much money making my own refried beans saves, but it’s a lot!
- Eat a lot of cheap food. Brown rice, chicken leg quarters, frozen vegetables, plus lot of other great, super cheap food you can check out in here in what to eat when you’re barely scraping by. – they’re all great, nutritious food, and super cheap!
- Use less laundry detergent. It may sound crazy at first, but just think it through. The main purpose of detergent is to break the surface tension of the water. It doesn’t take a lot to do that!
These are such simple things, but they have to potential to save a LOT of money, and some of them will even make you healthier!