How To Save Now
Stuff costs more. Perhaps you’ve noticed. It’s natural for some to complain and impulsively assign blame. But when people move beyond that, it’s easier to notice that much is in our control. We can immediately make simple changes today to soften the blow of higher prices. Today, I’m sharing some easy methods on how to save now. Of course, I can’t possibly cover every option, but that’s good news! So many options exist, and I encourage you to share your tips in the comments.
Get Out of Your Car
Fuel costs are the leading concern for many. As individuals, we can’t magically change those numbers outside the station. But we can change our behavior to save. Here are just a few options.
Skip the Drive-Thru: Instead of sitting behind a dozen or so cars just to get your overpriced chicken item, don’t even enter the drive-thru. If you must have that food crack (whatever it is), park and walk in. Enjoy not wasting gas or staring at unsavory bumper stickers.
Walk or Ride: Many daily errands can be accomplished by walking or riding a bike. Take in fresh air, get a little exercise, and save gas en route. Or use public transit to finish your to-do list. Along the way, listen to music, a podcast (maybe one of MtM’s), or an audiobook, if it’s safe to do so.
Question Your Motives: Why are you even driving? Is your destination truly worth the effort? Can you accomplish your goal without getting in a car? Does it have to happen now, or can you combine the immediate need to drive with future errands? A little extra thought can save you time and money.
But even if you choose not to change your behavior, plenty of other options exist for saving on gas. And, of course, when you must fuel up, use a credit card that highly rewards gas station purchases.
The number of available streaming services can be overwhelming. Flip that to your advantage. Streaming services are competing for your business. Make simple changes to maximize them.
Streaming Stands Trial: Take advantage of free streaming trials – over and over again. You have more options here than they may think.
Monogamous Streaming: Consider paying for only one streaming service at a time. Don’t pay for a bunch of subscriptions and content you don’t substantially watch. More fully consume that one service you’re paying for and save!
Cascades of Free Streaming: Options to stream for free are everywhere. PBS, the Roku Channel, and Pluto are just a few of my favorites.
You can check out more strategies for free or cheaper streaming here.
“Why do I want to own this?” I ask myself that question before I buy anything. Periodically, I realize the item isn’t something I truly need or even want enough to buy. Often, we can easily obtain fulfillment from certain items without buying our own copies. For instance, my family and I enjoy our local libraries and primarily choose to check stuff out rather than buy more clutter. In my view, obtaining a new phone every year shouldn’t be the norm. Rent is rising, but buying a home isn’t the optimal move for everyone.
For some, it seems the act of shopping is more enjoyable than the actual item. Similar to how I avoid buying groceries when I’m hungry, I try not to shop when I’m bored. And speaking of grocery shopping…
Rethink Your Grocery Trip
It seems like most all groceries are more expensive now. But many strategies exist for saving at the supermarket. Here are just a few tips:
- Make a list, follow it, and don’t wander around the store.
- Buy generic brands.
- Skip the bottled water.
- Shop at discounters like Aldi and Lidl (NOT Dollar General).
- Use an optimal credit card for supermarkets.
- Use coupons (apps and old school paper ones).
Check out more strategies here.
Wisely Use Those Card Benefits
Many credit card hobbyists already hold cards that offer plenty of benefits and freebies. For instance, the Amex Platinum offers $20 monthly in digital entertainment credits to SiriusXM, Peacock, Audible, and The New York Times. Use them to save by discounting or replacing your current subscriptions, rather than adding new bills. Efficiently use Uber and other dining credits to spend less while dining out. I just paid $9 for my next year of cell service thanks to the Amex Business Platinum’s wireless credit.
Beware – it’s easy to get swept up with these credits and spend more than you planned. Don’t let your card benefits create unnecessary spending!
Relaxing, in and of itself, doesn’t need to involve spending. Fortunately, we have plenty of options. Go to a nearby park instead of a movie theater matinee. Enjoy a neighborhood walk or workout rather than joining a gym. Get together with a neighbor or, gasp, introduce yourself to one. Call your family or friends and catch up. Meditate – in whatever free form that is for you.
I’ve only scraped the surface here. So many other options exist for how to save now. Small changes can improve your situation. Even better, you may catch yourself enjoying the process, and you’ll have fun finding new ways to save more. The truth bears repeating. So much is out of our control. It’s integral that we control what we can. How we spend is just one of those areas. What are you favorite methods for saving more now?