You never know when the next disaster is going to strike and require a few hundred dollars to handle. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that money may not be available. Here are a few ways you can make those precious dollars stretch and maybe have some in reserve.
When shopping, go with the generic brands of foods and medicines. For food, there is little difference in taste, and staple foods like flour are regulated to be produced in the same way all the time. Over-the-counter medicines, meanwhile, work the same way as their more expensive name-brand products. To verify this, look at the label of a bottle of Tylenol and a generic bottle of comparable medicine. You’ll see that the active ingredient is acetaminophen.
Buying items in bulk can save money, but not always. Take several factors into account, like how much room you have to store items and how frequently you need them. In small apartment spaces, buying in bulk isn’t always feasible. Also, if you have a lot of an item like soap, it’s easy to overuse it. If you have doubts on what a good buy is, try to calculate the per-ounce cost between two items, if it isn’t listed on the container.
Coupons and loyalty cards work well for saving money. Many stores, such as Kroger’s, offer a rewards card with which you get special membership prices. Sign up for these cards as often as you feel comfortable. Stores also have sales flyers available at the checkout register, so look at any deals you can find.
When it comes to eating, buy cheap, filling snacks and staple foods like water, buts, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. Water especially helps to stave off hunger pangs that tempt you to spend a few extra dollars at the vending machine or cafe. At home, try to prepare snacks and meals in advance to take to work in order to lessen the temptation of going out to eat. Sandwiches with lunch meat, some carrot sticks or other vegetable, and a container of water are far more filling, cheaper, and healthier than a hamburger or latte.
To save on gas, avoid using the air conditioner or heater in your car unless absolutely necessary. Roll your windows down and it will provide you with fresh air and cool you off. If you can avoid driving by taking public transport or carpooling, do so. This saves money that you would spend on gas and grants some peace of mind.
At home, you can save money on your utility bill by investing in oscillating fans instead of running the air conditioner, and by using natural light when possible.
These are just a few ways to save money bit by bit.