Did you know that the average American household spends about $6,600 yearly, or $550 per month, just on food? Not only does that sound like a lot of money; it is a lot of money, especially if some of that food ends up going to waste. And with food and other costs on the rise, it’s a good time to become more cost conscious all the way around.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can cut costs without drastic shifts in lifestyle. Small changes can add up to surprisingly big savings and that’s a good thing.
To help you out, we’ve put together five ways to make your money go further.
1) Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist About Generic Medication
We know, when someone else is talking about their medication, it may not be that interesting. But, hey, when it comes to your medication, the potential for cost savings is exciting! We aren’t doctors (and we don’t even play them on TV), but there may be some real savings associated with inquiring about generic medications over what may be more pricey brand-name versions.
If you or a dependent takes medication, consider asking your doctor or pharmacist about generic replacements which may be available at a discounted rate (estimated 80% to 85% less) compared to brand-name medications.
2) Buy Generic Foods
There’s a real psychology to food marketing and buying brand-labels. But, in the final analysis, brand-buying might be less about quality and taste, and more about the perception created by that marketing. Think about it the next time you find yourself perusing the grocery aisles in search of some savings. Generic foods like canned goods and even many cereals are pretty much the same quality as the pricier versions with the fancy labels and hefty marketing budgets. It turns out choosing generic may save you about 25-30% on items you were already planning to buy anyway. You’ll be shrinking your grocery bill and fattening your wallet at the same time. Win-win!
3) “Clip” Some Coupons
Not many people enjoy spending time cutting coupons, but don’t worry. Thanks to 21st century technology, you can save time and avoid scissor cramps by clipping and using coupon-like savings digitally.
Plenty of stores now offer coupon-like savings through apps, loyalty rewards programs or even manufacturer’s coupons that are handed to you along with your shopping receipt. Hey, it’s already cut and ready to go!
Coupon databases are another method. These websites compile coupons for you in one digital database to make them easier to find. Sites like Coupon Mom, Lady Savings, and Hot Coupon World are all great sources, just to name a few.
4) Bulk Up
Now, before you impulse buy a gym membership, we’re actually talking about buying in bulk.
Buying certain foods and household products in bulk are a surefire way to stretch your savings on items you use frequently. Toilet paper, laundry detergent, dried, frozen and canned foods, spices, batteries, garbage bags, vitamins and even some snacks are all items you can consider buying in bulk and there are likely to be savings in buying in a larger quantity on a per/unit basis.
5) Use Cash Back Services
There are also many ways to earn points and other rewards while you shop. Cashback services are rewards programs that allow customers can earn back a small percentage of the money they spend when they shop at participating retailers. And depending on the type of program you enroll in, you get different rewards too.
For instance, online cashback services like Rakuten make deals with retailers to ensure cashback rewards for their customers. If you’re already planning to shop, earning some cash back at the same time sounds like a good deal!
Finding new and different ways to stretch your budget can be fun. Try out our tips to put a few extra dollars back in your pocket.
Want to learn more about ways you can save? Take a look at our Smart Money page for more tips and tricks.