In our current Economic climate, it should come as no surprise that an overwhelming majority of adults in America are in debt in some shape or form. Those of us who are in debt are always searching for solutions on how to save money and chip away at the mountain of debt in front of us. Below is a list of tips that anyone can try in order to save some money and start on a journey to financial freedom and becoming debt free.
1. Make out a shopping list
Everyone knows they should not shop when they are hungry, but it is also important to shop with items in mind. Make a list of meals you plan on making for the week and stick to it. This helps in cutting down on wasted food and helps to avoid expensive impulse purchases.
2. Plan meals around grocery store flyers
Instead of planning meals on the fly take the time so see what sales have the best value and go with the ingredients you also have on hand. After a few weeks of planning like this you will find your food bill shrinking.
3. Try generic brands
Many generic brands are the same product as the name brands you prefer, but those names brands are marketed better and thus cost more. If you end up liking the generic versions, you will find your grocery bill start to shrink.
4. Buy in bulk
We all have staple items we need: garbage bags, dish soap, paper towels and more. We use most of these items every day and find ourselves picking them up each time we go shopping. While the initial cost of buying these items in bulk can seem daunting you will find yourself buying them less soften and saving money in the long run.
5. Avoid convenience foods
From fast food to prepackaged food we all like the idea of a quick easy meal. This can be hard on the waistline and even hard on the wallet. Take the time on the weekend to make some meals and freeze them or prep meals for the week ahead and put them in the refrigerator.
6. The 10-second rule
Become a master of taking the time to decide if you really need to put something in your cart. Ask yourself why are you buying it, and do you need it? If you can't come up with a good answer put it back.
7. Obey the 30-day rule
Any time you find yourself about to make a significant purchase take 30 days and see if you still need it after the time is up. During those 30 days do some research on the item you wish to buy and if you still want to go through with the purchase you might have found a more reasonable price on the item in question.
8. Don't go shopping when you’re bored
Some of your worst impulse purchases come from when you are shopping and you don't need to be. Plan the times you are going to go shopping instead of going just because you have some time to kill.
9. Remove credit card numbers from your online shopping accounts
It is too easy to just one click by items when you have you card on file. The extra time it takes can help you decide if the purchase is truly necessary.
10. Don't be seduced by sales
Everyone likes a good sale and see sales as a chance to save money. However, you are not saving money if you are buying sale items that you won’t use or don't need. If you are not sure if the sale is worth it, leave the store and go back the next day. If you still want it at that point go ahead and buy it.
11. Don't overspend on hygiene products
Inexpensive versions of your favorite toothpaste or deodorant keep you clean and smelling fresh as well as the more expensive name brands you favor. While the name on the side of the bottle is nice it doesn't work any better than the one that cost you two dollars instead of four.
12. Eat less meat
Meat can be one the most expensive items on your grocery list and protein packed vegetables can be much more affordable. You don't have to go full on vegetarian but you can seriously downsize your grocery bill by having a few meatless meals a week.
13. Only bring the amount of money you need
One of the easiest ways to cut your spending while shopping is bringing a smaller amount of money when you go out. That way once the money you have brought runs out you are done shopping whether you want to be or not.
While all the above tips are great, they have to be practiced to really work. The struggle to be debt free is tough one, but many of us are doing the same thing. Find a personal finance blog, join a support group, talk with friends on how they cope with debt and combine those with the tips above and you will find yourself making strides towards financial freedom!