Whether you're suffering from a recent job loss or just trying to make the most of your household budget, learning how to save money on everyday items is a smart move.
It's the Little Things that Matter
When trying to save money, the first step is to make sure all of your major expenses are under control. Is your housing affordable? How about your car payment? Could you save money by consolidating your student loans to a lower interest rate?
Once you've covered all the big-ticket items, it's time to focus your attention on the little things. Your morning cup of coffee, your favorite brand of perfume, the products you use to clean your kitchen…while none of these may seem like important expenses on their own, the total dollar amount is often enough to make a real impact on your financial situation.
Learn How to Save Money on Everyday Items
Unfortunately, there is no one easy tactic to use to help you figure out how to save money on everyday items. The best way to develop the mindset necessary for frugal living is to implement several different strategies.
Ask Yourself What You Need
Do you actually need all of the items you buy on a regular basis? Do you purchase an assortment of lotions, masks, and skin care treatments when you barely have time to wash your face in the morning? Do you spend a small fortune on produce at the grocery store, even though nobody in your family ever eats salads? Make sure you're buying products you'll actually use, not things you simply wish you had the time, energy, or motivation to incorporate into your daily routine.
Do you tend to spend a lot of money on gum, soda, newspapers, and other small treats throughout the day? Stop mindless spending by giving yourself a set allowance for these items each week. Carry only that amount in cash, so you're not tempted to whip out the plastic whenever the mood strikes. This tactic will also eliminate the inconveniences of overdraft fees on your checking account and credit card bills that are unexpectedly high.
When it comes to items like body wash, hand soap, and laundry detergent, a lot of people tend to use much more product than what is truly necessary. Pay attention to what you're doing instead of mindlessly dispensing globs of product. You may find you can use half as much and still get the same results.
Brand loyalty will earn you brownie points with a company's marketing department, but it's not the best strategy for your pocketbook. It's fine to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese if that's the brand you honestly prefer, but you'll never know if a cheaper alternative is available unless you're willing to experiment. Maybe Purex will get your clothes just as clean as Tide or Cover Girl lipstick will produce results that are virtually indistinguishable from your Clinique shade.
Store brands are also another great resource to consider; they've vastly improved in quality over the last decade and can provide significant savings on many of the items your family uses each day.
Buy Multipurpose Products
Multipurpose products save time and space, but they also save money too! Whether it's a two in one shampoo/conditioner combo for your hair or a multipurpose cleaner for your kitchen, bathroom, and living room, products that do double duty are typically a good buy.
More Money Saving Tips
If you'd like to learn more about creative ways to save money, here are a few slideshows from LoveToKnow that may be helpful: