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Saving for a Dream Vacation?

February 16, 2024 • Education

Here are 15 Steps to Save More on the Basics

“Everything is SO expensive now.”

Trips to the supermarket, the gas station, and even utilities are doing increasingly more damage to wallets and budgets. With the cost of living on the rise, a dream vacation can feel like it will forever only be a dream. One way to help alleviate today’s financial strains is to take a closer look at the things you buy every month. Take the money you can save at the supermarket, gas station and on utilities and put it toward that vacation fund. Every little bit adds up!

1. Shop at Discount and Bulk Stores.

Discount grocery stores and warehouse stores like Costco often have lower prices than traditional grocery stores, and offer excellent quality, variety, and hey — even delicious hot dogs. 

2. Prep Your Meals for the Week

Meal prepping saves time during the week and helps you avoid ordering takeout when you “don’t feel like cooking.” Also, cooking one larger meal instead of multiple smaller meals helps ingredients go further, driving down the price point. If you stick to a meal plan for the week, meal prepping also reduces impulse purchases when you’re shopping. 

3. Buy Generic and Store Brands

One of the biggest expenses associated with well-known brands is the marketing and advertising money spent convincing you that they are special. Generic and store labels are often of equal quality, and may even be produced in the same facilities just without the famous label. While there may not be a huge price point difference between on and off brands, if you choose to commit to buying the cheaper consistently, you will save more money in the end!

4. Shop Mid-Week

Shopping on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday may help you find more discounts, coupons, or “special” savings on specific weekdays.

5. Use a Cashback Card

Using a cash-back credit card saves money on purchases you were going to make anyway. Look for cashback on your biggest spending categories, such as groceries, gas, or dining. Make sure to pay off your entire balance each month to avoid interest charges.

6. Stick to a List

Make a shopping list before you go and stick to it when you get to the store. While online shopping is super convenient and the temptation to click the “delivery” option is hard to resist, try doing pick-up orders so you can see your total before you check out and delete unnecessary items from your cart.

7. Maintain Your Vehicle

Frequent tune-ups, properly filled tires, and regular oil changes make your vehicle more fuel-efficient, and can help keep it out of the shop and running well.

8. Consider Carpooling and Mass Transit Options

Carpooling, taking a bus, or even using a ride-share service lets you save on gas, parking, and wear and tear on your vehicle. It also reduces your carbon footprint and may offer added benefits like access to carpool and transit lanes.

9. Check Out Gas Price Comparison Apps

Gas price comparison apps can help you find the cheapest gas in your area so you are always paying the lowest price possible.

10. Unplug Electronics

Home electronics keep drawing power even when they are not in use. Unplug device chargers, game consoles, and TVs when you are not using them — it can make a difference.

11. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

LED bulbs use around 70% less energy than traditional bulbs, and they can last up to 25 times as long too. Dimmer switches also work well with LED bulbs to stretch your energy.

12. Do Chores During Off-Peak Hours

Power companies often charge lower rates when demand is lower. Try doing your laundry at night or running the dishwasher in the morning.

13. Tweak Your Thermostat

Reduce electricity costs up to 10% annually by adjusting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours each day.

14. Plug Those Leaks

Air leaks can cause heating and cooling systems to work harder and use more energy. Check doors, windows, and vents for leaks. Sealing them with caulk is an easy, low-cost way to save. 

15. Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans help circulate air to make your home feel cooler when it’s hot outside and warmer when it’s cold — which lowers energy use while keeping you comfortable.

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