How many times have you gone to the drugstore and ended up spending three figures on shampoo, cosmetics, toothpaste and a few snacks? Just because they’re ‘necessities’ doesn’t mean there aren’t any savings to be had. Let’s look at four different types of necessary everyday purchases and some easy tips to reduce how much we’re spending.
Saving on toiletries
When it comes to household cleaning products, personal care items and grooming supplies, it’s a good idea to make a list to separate your needs from wants. You can’t avoid buying necessities like shampoo and toothpaste, but paying extra for scented body washes or teeth whitening kits might not always be a hard need.
If you are buying luxury items, keep an eye out for when the deals arise at your grocery stores and pharmacies. Even switching brands depending on which are discounted will make sure you keep your spending in check. Discount chain stores like Winners often carry skin care or cosmetic products at a much lower price, sometimes as much as half of what you would normally pay for the same product.
This is also where membership programs and rewards come in handy. For basics, PC Optimum points can be collected not only at drugstores and grocery stores, but some gas stations even offer PC points. These points can add up fast, so think about where you’re picking up snacks or fueling up to make the most of these rewards. Specialized membership programs, like Sephora’s Beauty Insider, can help you save on cosmetic purchases and even give you free cosmetics or skin care.
If you’re feeling creative, you can try making your own toiletries and cleaning products. Some of the household products that can be easy to make include glass cleaner, stain remover and degreaser. For personal care products, you can make your own shampoo or develop your own skin care recipes using simple ingredients. Not only are these fun crafts to learn, they can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Saving on groceries
You’ve probably heard the joke that grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea because everything looks delicious. Would you believe there was a study from Cornell University that confirmed this? People tend to buy more high calorie and snack foods when shopping hungry — and impulse purchases can add up fast, so make sure you have a full belly before grocery shopping.
There are some other tricks to reduce your grocery spending. Buying baking supplies or spices in bulk is a simple way to keep costs low. You can also opt for house or no name brands over the bigger brand names to bring down your grocery bill.
Planning out your weekly meals before you go for groceries will help reduce your costs and your food waste. Make a list for each day of the week and what you’ll have for each meal and snacks. Then figure out what you need for each meal, make that your grocery list and stick to it.
Saving on clothes
When it comes to buying new clothing, it can be helpful to plan ahead to see what new clothes you’ll need in the next few months or seasons. Buying clothes that aren’t currently in season is a way to save on items you would spend a lot more on later in the year.
For the purchases you need to make unexpectedly, remember to buy quality over quantity. If an article of clothing seems cheap, it probably is. Spending more once on high quality rather than trying to save a few bucks will save you more down the line.
Saving during the holiday shopping season
We all spend too much on things we never use. This is especially true when it comes to gifts. How often are you given something and all you can think is, ‘what am I going to do with this?’ Sorry to say, your friends and family are likely thinking the same thing. There are some easy ways to give substantially better gifts without having your savings take a hit.
Gifting experiences is a great start to rethinking how you give. Surprise loved ones with theatre tickets, a fun cooking class, a restaurant gift card, a spa day or a family trip to the zoo. The options are endless — and many of these provide the opportunity to spend quality time together. Making gifts can also be more cost effective than buying; gifts are always loved, but handmade ones are usually a little more special.
Let’s keep the conversation going! How do you save when it comes to your everyday purchases? Have any tips for reducing how much you spend on life’s necessities? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to tell us how you’re being a savvy shopper.