Do you struggle to put any of your pay-check aside?
Between food, gas, rent and other bills, it seems money comes and goes quickly.
Sometimes I go into the grocery store just for eggs and I come out with an $80 bill.
Why is it that money seems to disappear so quickly?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one struggling with this. It took me a while to figure out where my money was going and how I could save it. I’m going to share with you some of my money-saving hacks that helped me break my bad habits and start saving.
Before I dig into these hacks, it’s important to first start with the right mindset.
We are all programmed to be consumers. Everything around you encourages you to spend money. Knowing is the first step to taking control of your finances.
To avoid living from pay-check to pay-check, embrace the “less is more” mindset. Not to say you shouldn’t have anything but next time you want to buy something, ask yourself “do I need or want it?”
With that psychology stuff out of the way, let’s dig into how you can save on your everyday spend.
Saw something on sale you wanted? Make sure it rings up at the sale price
A number of large retail stores in North America have a policy which states that if an item is marked as on sale in the store but rang up at full price at check out, then the customer gets the item at the sale price with some retails providing an additional discount.
Getting a discount for catching a store tagging error. Not bad right?
The caveat here is that you have to pay attention and say something when it happens. Most of the time, the sale price doesn’t come up in the system because the sale ended and someone forgot to remove the sticker from the aisle.
Next time you’re at the check out with something on sale, scan the counter or walls for the store policy (it’s usually displayed somewhere it’s just not very noticeable).
I’ve had experiences where clerks have refused to give me the discount even though the policy was clearly on the wall and said they had to.
I stood my ground and walked out with an even bigger discount every single time. I don’t blame the clerks, it reflects poorly on store performance (most stores have a code for this and it gets reported to the national office as labeling not being properly changed which doesn’t look great).
Research and price match
Most large retail stores will price match their competitors. If there’s something you want, take a minute to do a quick Google search and see if another store has it on sale or for cheaper. More often than not, they’ll give you the lower price to get the sale.
Some retailers even give a 10% discount on top of the price match!
Really, these retailers are just trying to make sure that you shop with them and not their competitors (even if their competitors have sales).
So next time you want something, plan ahead of time and do some research!
Bonus tip: Did you know you could price match on Amazon? Here are a few other tricks for saving money on Amazon.
Avoid buying new
Believe me, I love new stuff. I love unwrapping it, I love that it’s in mint condition, that it never been dropped or scratched. There are countless reasons why I love new but new is expensive.
All though I much rather have new stuff, I know it costs too much money. Whenever I can, I check to see if I can find it second hand on Craigslist, ebay or Amazon before I buy it new.
Most of the time, I can find what I’m looking for used. If I can’t, I try to be patient until a second-hand one pops up. Sometimes, I forget I even want it which brings us back to the start of this article and being in the right mindset (less is more). It goes to show that I didn’t really need those things, I just wanted them. They were fads and went as quickly as they came.
Barter and share more
You don’t need to have a specific skill to barter.
You can save a ton of money by exchanging everyday favors.
To give you an example, I have a friend who lives with her parents and has to commute an hour each day to get to work. On my end, I have a dog which gets very expensive when I’m traveling (and I travel A LOT). Dog boarding runs at about $40 a day. Needless to say, it adds up very quickly.
So one day, I went up to my friend and asked her: “how would you like to house sit and take care of my dog when I’m away? It gives you a chance to get out of your parent’s house and my place is only 10 minutes away from your office instead of an hour”.
It was a win-win situation for both of us.
I got to travel without paying a small fortune for my pup and she got to live on her own and shorten her commute drastically.
Can you think of any ways you could share or barter with others?
Look for win-win situations where you’re not only making it easier for you but also for someone else. You’re guaranteed to score yourself savings!
Can you carpool to work and both save on gas or parking?
Are there memberships you could share with someone? Netflix and Spotify are both very easily shareable.
Avoid premium grocery stores
Trust me when I say, I love stepping into Whole Foods. The atmosphere, the staff, the layout, it all comes together to give you a wonderful shopping experience.
That being said, everything you buy there will be at a premium. It’s the only way they can afford to give you such a great experience.
It may seem like I’m picking on Whole Foods but this is the case for all premium stores.
Yes, without a doubt, the shopping is so much more enjoyable but is it worth it?
Next time you do your groceries, step it down a notch. You might be surprised just how much you save on your bill.
Don’t do groceries hungry
I cannot stress this enough: NEVER SHOP FOR FOOD HUNGRY.
Without fail, you will buy more than you need.
Chances are the food you buy will go bad and you’ll have to throw it out. It seems silly but I buy noticeably more food when I’m hungry.
Most of the time, it ends up being junk too (not so good for my diet…). I’ll usually binge on it when I get home and end up feeling sick on top of having spent more than I should have.
Next time, plan to go to the store after eating.
If the timing doesn’t work out, at least have a snack so that you’re not starving once you get there.
Stick to your grocery list
Before you go to the store, make a plan of exactly what you need (meal plan for the week) and how much to spend.
Watch out for buying stuff that’s on sale. I know, it’s super tempting when they slap a 50% sticker on there but if you weren’t going to buy it before then you probably still shouldn’t get it.
Most of the time, the window to actually consume food on clearance is pretty small so chances are, it will go bad before you get to it.
If on the other hand, you were planning on getting it regardless then Hoooraaay! You’ve gotten surprise savings!
For more money-saving hacks, check out this post on how to Enjoy your life without breaking the bank.