If you're shopping twice a week, which is slightly less than average, that works out to 75 hours a year. That's like spending two weeks of your holidays grocery shopping every year! I live across the road from a supermarket, so I spend an awful lot of time there. Out of milk? I worked out that by doing some basic meal planning, and shopping twice a week rather than every day, I could free up valuable time for more important things, like walking my dog or going out for dinner with my partner. On top of the time spent at the shops, we all spend an awful lot of time thinking about what we're going to eat, looking at recipes and writing shopping lists.
Meal-planning apps and websites can do these things for you automatically, and save you heaps of time. I have an app where I have logged all my regular meals and interesting recipes I've stumbled across. Before I head to the shops, I use this app to help me decide on the dinner for the next three nights. It automatically generates my shopping list, saving me both time and headspace.
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Anna, a busy mother of two children, swears by meal-planning apps, and has taken it a step further. Her meal plan covers four weeks, with only a few double ups. Now that it's working. I don't have to think about it," she says. It can take a while to find a system that works, so Anna suggests starting with recipes you use regularly and the simplest of meal plans. While the internet has changed our lives in so many ways, it hasn't had much of an impact when it comes to grocery shopping.
He says there are good reasons why online shopping hasn't taken off: it's not quick, you don't get to choose your own groceries, it creates a lot of waste, and if you live outside the city or a major town it might not be available. Anna tried vegetable boxes and supermarket delivery before settling on a local grocer that offers online shopping and delivery.
She now avoids the hassle of shopping with kids in tow and finds the food is good quality. When you're not choosing it yourself, you want to make sure it's good quality. By combining meal planning and online shopping, Anna is now getting the bulk of her grocery shopping out of the way in just half an hour each week. It's a little more expensive, but she says it's been worth it. If you aren't keen on waiting to have your food delivered, some grocery retailers offer "click-and-collect" services, which can be a great time saver, Dr Mortimer adds.
There was a time when people thought their collections would bring them riches. Beanie Babies were a big fad at one time, as were Longaberger baskets. Already in trouble with bad credit? Apply for a bad credit credit card and rebuild your credit through slow, consistent spending on essentials. You can add to those rewards and discounts by using rewards credit cards to earn points on purchases at a wide range of stores that can be redeemed for cash back or other benefits.
Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance , and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule. One of the easiest ways to save money is to only shop when you have a list. Creating a list before you go to the grocery store is especially important. Not only can it help you buy items that fit with your meal plan, but it can also help you avoid buying food you might waste.
Always create a list and, more importantly, stick to it. You can also take advantage of a cash back rewards card that gives bonus cash at grocery stores — just be sure to pay off the balance each month. And no matter what, it is always cheaper to stay in with friends and come up with your own entertainment. Instead of hitting the town, host a fun pitch-in dinner with your friends.
Play cards, sit around a fire pit, or watch movies with your guests. Most basic sewing jobs can be completed by anyone, and a little bit of practice goes a long way. Learning basic sewing skills is a great way to save some money — and extend the life of your clothing. Photo: Chris. Most children, especially young ones, can be entertained very cheaply. Buy them an end roll of newspaper from your local paper and let their creativity run wild.
Play ball in the backyard. Head to the park. Plant a garden. Teach them to ride a bike without training wheels once and for all. Not only do you have the right to negotiate your current interest rate with your credit card issuer, but you have the right to transfer your balance to an entirely different card as well. In fact, that is perhaps your biggest bargaining chip. Start by calling your card issuer at the number on the back of your card and explaining your request. Go through your closets and find anything and everything you no longer use.
You can have a yard sale with it , sell it on eBay or Craigslist, take it to a consignment shop, or even donate it for the tax deduction mark down what you give away so you can get a receipt. Now, I focus on games that can be played over and over and over again, and I focus on mastering the games that I buy.
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Good targets include puzzle games and long, involved quest games — they maximize the value of your gaming dollar. Drink a big glass of water before each meal in order to stay fuller longer and ultimately eat less. Even better, drinking more water — whether in a refillable bottle or at restaurants — means spending less money on beverages like soda, juice, and tea.
Instead of eating fast food or just nuking some prepackaged dinner when you get home, try making some simple and healthy replacements that you can take with you. If you want to add years to your life and save a boatload of money, the easiest thing to do is to stop smoking altogether. You can quit cold turkey, try some of the many anti-smoking products that are out there, or switch to an electronic cigarette to buy some time.
Whichever path you choose, you will be much better off. We all know that casseroles are nice, easy dishes to prepare. The next time you make a casserole, make four batches of it and put the other three in the freezer. Then, when you need a quick meal for the family, you can grab one of those ready-made casseroles and just heat it up.
Keeping the lights on in your home may not be expensive on a per-watt basis, but it sure does cost money over time. To save as much as you can, turn off lights any time you leave your house — or even when you leave the room. Turning off lights when you have plenty of natural sunlight can also help keep your electric bill down over time. Yard sales are a great place to score awesome deals on items you need anyway — think housewares, shoes, clothing, or even sports equipment.
At your next garage sale, limit yourself to items that were already on your list of things to buy. Energy-efficient light bulbs might cost a bit more initially, but they have a much longer life than normal incandescent bulbs and use far less electricity.
CFLs , which use a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last for years, are the next cheapest option after traditional bulbs. But they also have some drawbacks: They take a while to warm up to full brightness, and they also contain a small amount of mercury. When you need to buy an appliance, do research: Start with back issues of Consumer Reports at the library. Additionally, consider utilizing a professional to install appliances to ensure they are installed properly and will last in the long-run.
If yours is beyond help, also consider changing it out for a new one. If you want to save money while also giving generously, creating your own homemade gifts is one way to accomplish both goals. You can make food mixes, candles, fresh-baked bread or cookies, soap, and all kinds of other things at home quite easily and inexpensively.
Even better — include a personal handwritten note with the gift. Look at the biggest sales, then plan recipes based on those ingredients and what you have on hand. Just keep track of the 20 or so things you buy most often, then shop for these items at a variety of stores. Before I tried it myself, I thought making homemade bread would just be a complicated waste of time. But after I tried it, I found that it was pretty easy and it was actually much cheaper, healthier, and tastier than buying a loaf from the store. We rarely ever buy bread at the store these days, mainly because the bread I make is not only cheaper, but much better too.
Figuring out what you can make it home is a great way to save some money — and learn new skills along the way. Exercise is always a good option, as is meditation and even a good old-fashioned nap. This seems like an odd way to save money, but think about it. If you spend time with the people you love the most and come to some consensus about your dreams, it becomes easy for you all to plan for it.
Look behind the appliances, and use your vacuum to gently clear away dust. Check all of the vents, especially on refrigerators, dryers, and heating and cooling units. Are you paying dues at a club that you never use? Like, for instance, a gym membership or a country club membership? Remember, you can always renew the membership at a later date if it turns out that you actually do miss it. You can often find the exact item you want with a bit of clever shopping at used equipment stores, used game stores, consignment shops, and so on.
Just make these shops a part of your normal routine — go there first when looking for potential items and you will save money. Clothes, for example, often cost pennies on the dollar when bought used — even if they were only worn once. By buying used most of the time, you can save a ton of cash. It can be beneficial to shop around for a new car insurance or home insurance policy every few years to make sure you are getting that best deal.
The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account. For new parents, give an evening of babysitting as a gift.
If you know pet owners, offer to take care of their pets when they travel. Offer up some lawn care as a gift to a new homeowner. Most people use this technique for Christmas , but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday, then go out shopping for items you need that are themed for that day. Get Easter egg decorating kits the day after Easter, and Halloween decorations on Nov. Get wrapping paper, cards, bows, and gift bags the day after Christmas. The discounts are tremendous, and you can just put this stuff in the closet until next year.
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirit. It is hands-down the best thing I have ever done. Go into a room and go through every single item in it. Do you really need that item? If you can find stuff to get rid of, get rid of it — it just creates clutter and it might have some value to others. Instead of just picking up the ordinary brand of an item you buy, try out the store brand or generic version of the item.
Even better, you can easily prepare meals in advance — even handy fast-food type meals. Repeat after me: insurance is not an investment. Universal and whole-life policies are much more expensive and offer a subpar investment opportunity. Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least companies to find the very best rate.
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A reliable and fuel-efficient car will save you thousands over the long haul. Reliability can pay the same dividends.
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Do the research: It will pay off for you. Learning some simple strategies for fuel-efficient driving can also help. The mall might be a fun place to people watch, but it can also be packed with temptation. Unburden yourself and find something else to do when you need some entertainment. A walk outdoors, a fun puzzle, or a good movie can easily replace your regular mall shopping adventures.
This keeps me from making impulse buys on a regular basis. Rent it out on a site like Airbnb. If you live near a popular or tourist area, doing so could bring in a lot of extra money. Just make sure you know the risks and are willing to take the steps required to protect your family and your possessions. To put your debt into terms that are easy to understand, make a giant progress bar that starts with the amount of debt you have and ends with zero. Each time you pay down a little bit, fill in a little more of that progress bar.
It can help keep your eye on the prize and lead you straight to debt freedom. Do you have a pile of unread magazines sitting around your house?
Not only should you not renew that magazine, but you should give their subscription department a call and try to cancel for a refund. You never know until you ask— they might even give you the prorated amount back. An app like TrueBill can even review your purchase history to find forgotten subscriptions and other recurring charges, and help you cancel or renegotiate them for a cheaper rate.
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Eating a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day while also curbing your desire for a big, expensive lunch. Meanwhile, breakfast can be very healthy, quick, and inexpensive.
Write a shopping list
A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is often the one thing that keeps me from running out to eat an expensive lunch later in the day. We live in a neighborhood with dozens of families with young children. Because of that, there are a lot of parents out there willing to swap babysitting nights with us, saving us the money of hiring one for an evening out.
A few families even take this to incredible extremes. Try to find another set of parents or two that you trust, and swap nights of babysitting with them. Many people feel as if leftovers are just inferior rehashes of regular meals. My favorite technique?