Instead of sitting around wishing you had more money, why not plan on it? There are so many things you can do right now that could lead to major savings in the long run. Whether it’s groceries,gas or personal health, you can save a little to a lot on most of what you buy.
Here are some quick and easy tips to help you plan ahead to save more.
- Look at your pantry. Is it stocked up? A well-stocked pantry will prevent impulsive grocery shopping. If you’re starting from scratch, do it gradually—the point is to buy up surplus when items are on sale. Don’t stock up just for the sake of a sale price, though. Items should meet two sets of criteria: A long shelf life (like frozen vegetables or baking supplies) and something your family eats often (like pasta or cereal).
- Set a grocery budget and stick to it when you plan menus around stores sales and coupons. Bring the amount you want to spend in cash. It will help you stay disciplined and keep you mindful of your purchases. If you have cash leftover, put it towards next week’s grocery budget.
- Plan for the pump. Gas stations near freeways are often marked up for convenience. Use a gas comparison app like GasBuddy to find the best price in town and look for cash discounts. It may only be 10 cents a gallon, but that adds up. The average driver travels about 13,000 miles a year. If your car gets 25 MPG, that’s an extra $52 at the end of the year.
- Think ahead to spring and summer. If you live in a climate with mild winter weather, you may want to think about installing an AC or updating your landscaping during the off-season. Once spring arrives, home improvement will be on everyone’s minds and the chances of negotiating a deal are slim.
- Watch health care costs. For example, don’t wait till the last minute to refill prescriptions. If there is an issue with your insurance, you may be forced to pay astronomical prices. Stay on top of preventative health care. This month, make appointments for all your 2013 check-ups, and be sure that enough time has passed so that your insurance will cover it.
Final Tip: Have a portion of each paycheck deposited directly into your saving’s account. You are literally scheduling your savings in advance, making this a surefire plan to save.