There are lots of ways you can save big chunks of money. Buy a secondhand car instead of a new one, fly coach instead of first class, and limit vacations to once a year, for instance. Aside from these occasional money-saving strategies, there are small but effective ways to keep your expenses in check—ones that you can implement on a daily basis.
Every day, we waste money in ways that we often overlook. If you want to save big in the long run, you have to start by looking at the small stuff. Here are four things you can easily avoid to keep your monthly spending in check.
Grocery shopping on an empty stomach
As much as you can, avoid going to the grocery store when you’re hungry. If you go grocery shopping on an empty tummy, or even if you’re just feeling sort of peckish, you’re more likely to put food items you don’t really need in your cart.
This is also true for leisurely grocery shopping. When you go to the grocery store and have time on your hands, you’re more likely to browse all the aisles and spend money on items that weren’t in your grocery list. If you avoid doing the grocery shopping under these conditions, you can actually save hundreds of dollars every month.
If you’re on social media, you’ve probably succumbed to the lure of an ad, a sponsored post, or the pull of an “influencer” peddling products like cosmetics, clothes, gadgets, and travel destinations. Worse, when the product arrives, you often find that it wasn’t all it was hyped to be. Another easy way to save money is to avoid buying something you see being promoted on social media.
Impulse buys also include in-app purchases. You may not think much of those $1 or $5 purchases, but they do add up.
The same goes for the inexpensive knick-knacks you buy every now and then, like the snacks and drinks you grab at the gas station or the trinkets and magazines you add to your basket at the checkout line. Instead of mindlessly paying for these seemingly inconsequential items, log these little purchases into a spending tracker. This will give you a clear look at how much impulse buys actually cost you in a month.
Investments can also fall under this category. Sometimes, an investment opportunity seems so lucrative you immediately want to sign over a chunk of your money. But before you do, it is wise to look over peer-reviewed articles and studies to find out more about these investment opportunities.
Keeping up with the Joneses
You don’t really need a brand-new car, a luxury vacation, or the latest appliances, especially if you’re only getting them to try and live up to the standards of your friends or neighbors. While everyone deserves nice things, you don’t have to choose what gadgets you use, what kind of car you drive, and where you go on vacation based on what your neighbors and friends like. Stop trying to live up to other people’s expectations and you’ll save yourself tons of money.
Always choosing brand-name products
Choosing the generic or store-brand product over the brand-name product is another easy way to save more money. You can do this for a wide range of items: groceries, toiletries, makeup, over-the-counter medicine, household cleaning items, pet supplies, skincare, and more.
Of course, you don’t have to go generic for everything. But if you compare the ingredients in your favorite brand-name product with the generic version, you may find that they’re nearly identical. If you avoid reaching for the big brand name every time you buy something, your wallet will thank you.