If your budget is already tight, but you need to start paying down some debt or saving money, it can seem impossible to find new places to cut back.
The good news is that there are still some ways to save money without feeling like you are sacrificing your quality of life. To help you get started, here are six easy ways to save money on everyday items.
1. Rethink your grocery list
Eating healthier has two benefits: It can help you feel better overall, and it can also save you money.
It's a common misconception that healthy foods cost more. Even in the most expensive states, a bunch of vegetables often costs less than a bag of name-brand chips.
The trick is to prioritize buying things like vegetables, beans, and dried foods rather than more expensive convenience foods like processed snacks or microwave meals.
Your best bet is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and stay out of the middle aisles and away from all the processed foods. In addition, go for the fruits and vegetables that you have to pick out and bag yourself. Instead of buying pre-shredded carrots or bagged lettuce, do some washing and chopping yourself and save some money.
It may take more time to prepare food, but shopping this way will definitely save you some cash and benefit your health at the same time.
2. Sign up for automatic delivery services
There will be certain items that you purchase on a weekly or monthly basis, such as dog food and furnace filters. While these aren't big-ticket items, they're a good opportunity to save money.
Instead of going to your store to buy more every time you run out, some retail websites offer discounts if you subscribe to get the product delivered to you on a regular basis.
Make a list of all the products you buy regularly and do some research on where you can buy them online, and subscribe for a discount. For example, one of the most popular options is Amazon Prime's "Subscribe & Save" program, which you can use for food, toiletries, cleaning products, and much more.
3. Prioritize quality
There's something to be said for investing in quality items that will last longer and won't need to be replaced often. This is true when it comes to clothes, furniture, and even electronics.
Cutting corners and buying cheaply made products may save you money in the short term, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Instead, shop for established brands at secondhand stores. You can find well-made items at a fraction of the price by purchasing previously used items that still have a lot of life left in them.
4. Get to know the details of your cell phone bill
Smartphones are practically a requirement for functioning in modern society, but that doesn't mean that they come cheap. Phone bills can amount to hundreds of dollars each month, but you may be paying more than you have to.
Take some time to sit down with a representative from your provider and talk through each charge on your bill. You may find that you are paying for way more data than you are using and other features that you aren't using at all.
Just a simple conversation about your phone bill or switching to another provider can help you save a chunk of money on your cell phone bill.
Once you've done that, try the same out with any other recurring bills you have. Don't be afraid to switch energy suppliers or insurance companies if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
5. Bundle your errands
If you use your car a lot for errands throughout the week, a simple way to cut back on fuel costs is to bundle them.
Rather than popping out in the car for lunch on Saturday and then again to visit the store on Sunday, aim to do both of these on the same trip to save fuel.
6. Buy in bulk
A common piece of advice to save money is to buy in bulk. Although it may cost more initially, if you can get everyday items in bulk, you could save money over the course of the month.
Things like pet food, toilet paper, dried foods, or drinks can all be purchased at a discount if you get a bigger pack of them.
If you're worried about buying fresh food in bulk, try meal prepping. This means setting aside a couple of days a month to prepare a series of meals you can freeze. Things like soups, stews, curries, and pasta dishes all freeze well and can be enjoyed throughout the month. This is a great option if you also tend to rely on convenience foods and takeout, which are both great items to cut out of your budget if you're trying to save money.
Saving money isn't all about cutting back or clipping coupons. Often, simply being aware of what you are spending and being willing to invest in quality items can help you save on everyday essentials. Investing more time in being an informed consumer, getting to know your expenses, and increasing your savings could be the key to a better financial security plan.