This is Part II of our Money Saving Ideas in Tight Times (aka everything-inflation). As we were in the middle of talking about last, the cost of groceries is of major concern to many Americans (and I imagine since most of the world is experiencing cost of living increases, others too). People have turned to lower cost options in their grocery shopping.
Getting Creative with Discounts and Bargain Hunting
This may mean turning to store brands instead of name brands to save money on items where they can. It may mean shopping at lower cost grocers like Aldi or Marcs for others. It may mean getting really creative with discounts too.
For some this can mean clipping coupons or watching for sales on items at various stores. One way I’ve tried to curb the cost of groceries is to strategize use of discounts received for ‘frequent shopper’ types of rewards.
One of our big grocers here in Northeast Ohio offers points toward a percentage off your groceries, or toward gasoline. I choose to put my points toward percentages off grocery bills. It does add up, and as soon as I’ve reached my max percentage off, that’s when I buy the higher cost items like meats, high quality oils, dairy products or prepackaged convenience items (which have really skyrocketed).
Buying in Bulk
Buying items you use every day in bulk can save a significant chunk of money. The thing that is difficult about this strategy is you have to pay more for these items upfront. But on a per-unit basis, it’s really a cost effective way overall to reduce costs of individual items.
Good examples of this are toilet paper, other paper products like napkins, paper plates and paper towels, canned food items, meat purchases like large cuts of beef that can be cut up into smaller cuts, coffee, baking items like sugar and flour and more. Wholesalers like Costco and Sams Club can help you save here, as can Amazon (sometimes) for certain types of items. Related: Time is Money! Time Saving Hairstyling Cheats
Healthcare is no exception. It’s skyrocketed right along with everything else, and even started its trip higher before inflation kicked in. What can you do about it though? Having health insurance is almost a necessity when you consider that a major health even or chronic disease can practically bankrupt a person if they have to pay costs out of pocket. Related: Can Glycine Support My Overall Health?
The first and most obvious tactic to avoid healthcare costs is preventive health. Staying as healthy as you can by eating a wholesome diet, getting regular exercise, not indulging in hazardous activities like drinking excessively or smoking, and using common sense when it comes to sun exposure can all not only keep the doctor away, but also extend your lifespan and overall enjoyment of life itself.
Take Advantage of Free Screenings and Other Health Benefits
Going to free routine screenings can be a really great way to ensure you’re staying healthy too. Many insurances will allow free preventive screenings like mammograms and other cancer screenings, some mental health counseling and other important health benefits for free or almost free.
If you’re pretty confident about your health and don’t typically have to go to specialists other than for your routine screenings and minor issues, then you can investigate whether a high deductible plan might be right for you. High deductible plans often allow you to participate in an HSA or Health Savings Account. You can actually put money away, tax free, that you can use toward deductibles and other medical expenses.
This can help offset the high deductible associated with these lower costs health insurance programs, and if you don’t use it, you can invest it and use it toward your retirement, which is another extra bonus. Plus you’re reducing your taxable income, and saving on your plan. So it’s really a win/win for people who do not anticipate heavy health plan usage.