Kick Complacency and Convenience from your Budget
By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA – Family Finance and Budget
Complacency and convenience don’t deserve a permanent space in your family’s budget.
Always look for ways to save money beginning with technology. Rather than spending time cutting coupons and carrying around weekly ads, if you have a smart phone your favorite grocery store apps can keep track of sales and coupons for you. Many store apps also link up with your store rewards card, making it even easier for you to shop.
If you always purchase name brand products, you might need to reconsider that habit, too. There are many basic staples that you can save on by forgoing name brands for store or generic brands. This includes flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and even some dried spices such as basil, garlic powder, and chili powder. You can perform a basic internet search on the term “store brand products” to learn more about other products that fall in this category.
Many people also see bottled water as a necessary convenience and a healthier alternative to tap water. Well there have been many studies in recent years that contradict the health claim of the $10.6 billion industry. Furthermore, those same studies also raise environmental concerns. If the thought of drinking tap water keeps you up at night, at least consider investing in a purifying system that attaches to your kitchen faucet. This will cost you less in the long run and won’t have such an ill effect on the environment.
So, let’s move from the kitchen to your wallet and talk about checks and credit cards. While we have become more of a card carrying society, there are still quite a few of us – myself included – who write checks. A box of checks through your financial institution can set you back $20-25 or even more if you are into designs and themes, nontraditional fonts, carbon checks, etc. Yes, it’s easy to call the bank or complete that re-order slip attached to your last book, but it’s also just as easy and less expensiveto order checks via the glossy ad that comes with the Sunday grocery coupons. You only need a voided check, a stamp and an envelope. Also, do you really need carbon checks or any of the other extras? Probably not, all checks cash the same, skip those options and save even more.
Speaking of convenience, it is also easy to whip out a store credit card or worse, apply for a store credit card to make a big purchase. But, unless you have the money sitting in the bank today and intend to pay it off immediately, using a card can set you back in the long run. Also, while intent is always good, unforeseen circumstances such as major car or appliance repairs and unemployment are too familiar, and can stop intent dead in its tracks. Saving up and paying in cash is always the better option.
It’s easy to fall into a routine that results in less thinking. Yet to always take the easy route can be expensive. From time to time, give some thought to the small things, which when totaled, can have a positive impact on your long term financial goals.
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