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Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

Groceries are something that we all have to buy to feed ourselves and our families. However, it can seem that our trips to the grocery store get more and more expensive, even though we are buying the same items. It can therefore be wise to consider whether there are some ways that you can reduce how much you spend.


There are often coupons printed in papers and magazines and these can be a great way to save some money on your groceries. Even if you only save a few dollars it can all add up. We do need to be careful with coupons though. They look like a great deal and that they are saving us money but this only applies of you would have bought that item anyway. If they are for an item you would not normally buy, then you could be buying an extra item and this will mean you are spending more money; not less. However, if it is an item you normally buy or it will be replacing an item that you normally but which is dearer, then it is worthwhile.


The above also applies to deals in the store. Only buy things that are reduced if you would normally buy them or you are buying them in place of something dearer. Often the items that are reduced are junk food which we can do without or they are expensive brands which we would be better off avoiding. So make sure that what you are seeing really is a good deal. As you could be being lead to think that something is a good deal when it is actually costing you more money or you are buying more items than you actually need.

Compare prices

Comparing prices is a good way to see whether you can save money. You will find that for many items that you buy, there are different options available to you, perhaps different brands, different sizes or different packaging. These will be priced differently. You need to compare the prices carefully though. Look at the size of the containers as well as the price and see which is cheaper but be careful of how you do it. If you are buying potato chips, for example, comparing price by weight, so per 100g will allow to see which is cheapest overall. However, if each pack is a serving and one is larger you may think that it will be better to buy it as you are getting more for money. However, you will eat one serving sized pack, whatever the size of it and so it could make sense to buy the smaller, cheaper one, as you will save money even if the larger one offers better for money because the price per chip is less.

Compare stores

As well as comparing prices within the store, it makes sense to also compare prices between the different stores. Often you will find that a store might be cheaper for some items but not others, although some will be cheaper overall than others. It could be cheaper to shop across several stores to find the best prices, but you will have to pay to travel there which could outweigh the savings made. You will also have to spend more time grocery shopping, which you may not be keen on. Therefore when you compare prices think about which store you would most like to go to or whether you would be happy to change to a different store or go to several.

Change what you buy

Sometimes changing the types of groceries that we buy can change the cost of our shopping bill. Thinking about the types of foods we buy may help. For example certain cuts of meat are cheaper than others. Food that has been prepared, such as chopped carrots are dearer than whole ones and so swapping to whole carrots will save money. Pre-prepared meals, such as sandwiches and microwave meals can be more expensive than buying separate ingredients too. It may take time to prepare food or to learn how to cook different types of food, but it could make a big difference to your grocery bill if you do.

Take a list

It is always wise to take a list with you when going to the grocery store. This means that you remember to buy the things that you need, which saves you a second trip or having to stock up at a local store which could be dearer and it also allows you know what not to buy as you do not need it. Buying things you do not need will not only mean you spend more money. It could lead to you eating more as more food is available or it could mean that you have too much food to eat and some goes off so you have to throw it away and waste it. It will hopefully reduce the amount of impulse buys that you make.

Check use by/best before dates

It is wise to look at the date son food to make sure that it will lost as long as you need it to. If you stock up on a lot of things and then find that you have too much to eat quickly, then it may be that some of it will go off before you eat it. Although dates can sometimes only be a guideline, it is wise to shop with them in mind as then you have less chance of the food being inedible before you get a chance to eat it.

Never Shop When Hungry

If you go to the grocery store when you are hungry or thirsty then you can end up buying much more than you need. You will be picking up items that you would like to eat or drink right away and you may also buy more than you need or really want. So try to make sure that you shop after a meal, when you have just had a drink or just at a time when you are not hungry or thirsty.


Ten ways to Reduce your Insurance Costs

Ten ways to Reduce your Insurance Costs

Insurance is something that most of us pay, whether it is for our health, life, pets, home or vehicle. There are many different things that we can insure and knowing that we can get some money, should anything happen to those items or should medical care be needed, can give us peace of mind. We all choose different things to insure, depending on what we own and what we can afford as well as what insurance is covered by our employer. However, if you do have insurance, there are ways to reduce the cost, which will help you to still get the peace of mind, without paying out so much money.

Switch to a cheaper insurer

It may seem obviously but there are many people that do not compare costs to see whether there are cheaper insurers they can use. Obviously, you want to make sure that you are getting the coverage that you need form your insurance, but even with the same coverage you could find that there are insurers that will be cheaper. It is worth using a comparison website as a start to see if there are cheaper insurers and then check the details to make sure that they offer you the same as your current insurer. You could find that you will save a significant amount of money.

Boost your Deductible

Your deductible is the amount that you are prepared to pay towards the claim. Insurers will charge les if you have this at a high level as you will not be able to make claims for smaller amounts. Obviously you will need to consider how much you will be able to afford to pay. Do not just think about a one off payment either as it could be that you make several claims in quick succession and you will have to pay out each time.

Avoid Making Small Claims

If you make a claim then your insurer will increase your premium. This is because they will see you as an increased risk due to the claim that you made. Therefore if you can avoid making claims then this will keep your insurance cheaper. Obviously the whole point of insurance is to make it easier to cope with the cost of things. It can be better though to only make a claim if something is really expensive and you cannot afford it. Then you will help to keep your premiums lower for the future.

Ask about discounts

When you are renewing insurance it is always worth asking about discounts. Sometimes there will be discounts available that you are not aware of so just ask if you are on the telephone or on live online chat to find out if there are any that you can take advantage of. If you have compared prces but want to stick with your current company, tell them if you have been offered a lower price and see whether they might be willing to lower theirs to match it or at least to be a little more competitive.

Check for Unnecessary Coverage

You may find that your insurance policy covers more than you will use. Look through the policy and you may find that it has items that you feel will never be necessary for you to have insured or that you feel are just too expensive and low risk to worry about. If this is the case then you may be able to have them taken off the insurance so that your premium comes down.

Have a healthier lifestyle

If you have life insurance then having a healthier lifestyle could be a great way to keep the costs down. Obviously age is always a risk factor and you will not be able to affect that. However, you could give up smoking, drinking and drugs, maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly to reduce your premium. Although they may not specifically ask you about these things when you are signing up, if you have a healthy lifestyle you will be unwell less often. This will mean that you will be more likely to need to make a claim on your medical insurance and once you have a made a claim, you will be more expensive to insure.

Drive more carefully

If you drive more carefully then you are less likely to be in a car accident or to damage your car in any way. This means that you will not have to make so many claims on your insurance and will therefore keep your premiums down. Careful drivers are rewarded with lower premiums because insurers will look at how many claims they have made in the past, to determine how much to charge them.

Get a good home and car security system

Insurance will often cover incidences of theft form homes or cars. This means that if you can show that you are doing as much as possible to protect your property against theft. Then it should reduce your premium. This means that if you get a home or car security system then it should show your insurer that you are protecting it carefully and therefore they should not charge you so much to insure it.

See if your employer covers some or all insurance or switch to one that does

For some people, their insurer will cover some of their insurance costs. This could come as part of a benefit package depending on the salary and level of the job or it could be something that the employer does for all employees. Find out what cover you have in your job and whether you think it is satisfactory. It could be worth looking for an alternative job if you think that the cover you are getting is not enough.

Consider insurance costs when buying a vehicle or home

When you are buying a new vehicle or a new home it is worth considering the insurance costs on top of everything else. You will need to calculate how much these will cost you and include all of the costs not just the price. Vehicles and homes have a running cost and insurance makes up part of this and it is therefore important to make sure that you include it.


Five Ways to Cut down on Your Travel Expenses

Five Ways to Cut down on Your Travel Expenses

Many of us spend a lot of money on travelling. This could be going to work, taking children to school, going on leisure trips, visiting the grocery store or the mall or visiting friends and family. It can often unavoidable to use a car or other type of transport to get around. However, there are ways to save money on all of the travelling that we do.

Compare prices

It is really wise to start by looking at the main journeys that you take and calculating how much they cost. If you know the distance that you drive and the cost of the gas that you use then you will be able to calculate how much the journey is costing. You can then compare that with the cost of alternative transport such as a bus, train, tram, ferry or whatever. You may need to walk some distance, cycle or even drive to a station, but it could save a lot of money. Often driving can be quicker, but you can make the most of your time when travelling, if you do not have to concentrate on driving. There are lots of things you can do, reading, catching up with social media, phoning friends and family, reading newspapers or magazines, even working. Doing things that would normally do in the evening or weekend at home, means that you will not be wasting your time and you could be saving money as well.

Travel shorter distances for leisure

If you travel a lot in your leisure time then it could be worth considering travelling shorter distances. You may like to fly to exotic countries, but you could get as much pleasure from exploring the country that you live in. You may tend to drive for a day or so to a new area, but you could save money by just exploring locally. It is worth just thinking about each journey that you are taking and whether there is a way that you could change it so that it was shorter and therefore cheaper for you.

Consider walking or cycling

It could be possible for you to walk or cycle more rather than taking the car everywhere, Obviously this will depend on the distance that you are travelling. Not all areas are designed for easy pedestrian access or for cyclists, but it is worth investigating whether this could be something that you could try out. As well as saving money it can give you some extra exercise and then instead of driving to the gym for a workout, you could cancel your membership and just cycle or walk to the grocery store or mall instead. You could save money in two areas! If you drive your children to school then consider walking with them instead if it is close enough. They will get exercise before they start their lessons to switch them on for the day and then to help them wind down at the end of the day and you will save a lot of money. Even if you do it just a few times a week it could make a big difference to your fitness levels s well as your bank balance.

Make more use of each journey

It is worth thinking about how you can make each journey you make more useful. For example, if you pass your favourite grocery store on your way home from work, go in then an shop, rather than taking the car out on a separate journey. See whether you can fit a selection of errands into each drive, rather than doing a separate one each time. This will help to save you time as well as money which can be great. Even if you are on the bus or train, you can still possibly divert your journey or hop on and off at certain stops in order to pick up some things that you need along the way.

Consider car sharing or work commutes

Most of us probably spend most of our time in the car commuting to work or taking children to school. This can mean that we travelling when the roads are the busiest and therefore our journey is slower and potentially more stressful. If more people shared cars when they were travelling this could have a huge impact on the amount of traffic on the roads. It will also make a huge difference to cost. Imagine five people all travelling the route separately and the difference it would make if they shared the same car each day. Their gas bills would be 1/5th of the price as they could all pay towards it. Although gas is not that expensive in the US compared to other countries, it has still been rising in price lately and it could still make up a significant part of your monthly spend and so being able to pay less for your commute cost could add up to make a significant difference quite quickly.


Obviously we tend to all use transport to get around and living in a big country with vast states in towns which have been designed around using vehicles rather than walking, it can be rather hard to avoid using them. However, there may be ways that you can incorporate some walking perhaps just by getting off the bus a stop early. This could save some money and will help you to get more exercise as well.

It can feel a chore, to have rethink the way that we travel to save a few dollars. However, we can spend a lot of money on travel and it can worth just adding it up to find out roughly how much you spend. This could make you change your mind and decide that it is worth changing your habits after all. Combining a few journeys or having your vacation closer to home may not make a big impact on your life but it could make a significant impact on your bank balance. These days even a few saved dollars can make a difference as so many of us are struggling to manage on the money that we have. Cutting down in a selection of areas in our life, including travel and transport will mean that we can start to manage our money much more easily.


Five Tips on Reducing Your Utility Bills

Five Tips on Reducing Your Utility Bills

Everyone who owns a home or rents a home has to pay for utilities. Sometimes they are included in the rent and if this is the case, then you will not be able to control how much you are charged. If you want to reduce how much you pay, you may have to just move to somewhere cheaper or find a place where they are not included. You could try some of the tips below, but it is unlikely to make a significant difference unless everyone in the apartment block does them. Even then, the landlord may still charge the same rent despite the fact that the utilities are now cheaper. If you are interested in using less water or energy for environmental reasons, you may think that it is worth doing these things regardless of there being a risk that you will not save any money.

Use energy saving appliances

These days it is much easier to see what the energy rating is on various appliances. Although you may not know what the rating is for the appliances that you already own, when you buy know ones, particularly white goods, there will be a rating on it. This will allow you to compare different brands and models and choose one that is the best. Although energy ratings are meant to help the environment, it will also allow you to see which will be cheaper to run. This that use less energy will be cheaper as well as greener.

It can therefore be tempting, if you can afford it, to ditch all of your appliances and replace them with efficient ones. This can make you feel greener and that you are saving money, but actually may not be the case. Each appliance not only has a lot of raw materials to make it, which has an environmental cost, the old appliances also have to be disposed of. If you sell them or give them away and someone else uses them, this will minimise waste but they will eventually have to be broken down somehow.

Also, cost wise, it is likely to be a lot more expensive. If you calculate the money saving of running a more efficient appliance you will see that it is minimal compared with the cost of buying a new one. Paying $500 for a new item which lasts 20 years will not justify the energy saving of a dollar a week. It can be card be hard to calculate exactly how much you will save and how long you will need an item before you start saving money compared to keeping the old one.

It can therefore be wiser to only replace items that are broken down but when you do replace them then look for something which is really energy efficient.

Turn appliances off when not using them

It makes much more sense to use the appliances you have already less often and this could save a lot of money as well as energy. Just switching off a TV set, rather than putting it on standby can save a lot of money and if you do this with every appliance it can really add up. So switch off those computers, don’t leave items charging unnecessarily and remember to turn out the light as you leave a room.

Making these very small changes can really add up to make a difference and you will find that you will soon get into the habit of doing it. It is wise to try to get your family doing it as well, although this can be a lot more difficult than just doing it yourself!

It is a good exercise to walk around your apartment or house and find every item which uses electricity and think about whether it could be switched off or if not, whether there would be times when it could be switched off.

Use windows/drapes/blinds/clothing to help with temperature control

Keeping ourselves warm or cool can cost a lot of money. Whether we are using air conditioners, fans or heating they all cost a lot of money to use. It can be wise to try different ways of keeping your home a comfortable temperature without using them.

Dressing appropriately is a good way to start. Make sure that you have lots of warm layers of clothing if you are feeling chilly. Alternatively, have light and loose clothing for when it is warm. Drinking warm or chilled drinks and eating hot or cold meals, depending on the climate can make a difference as well.

If you have a lot of windows then they can make a big difference. Sunlight can pour in a warm a room, which is great in cooler climate, but if things are getting too hot you should pull the drapes or close blinds to block that heat out. In cooler climates make sure that you make use of the warmth of the sun by opening those drapes and blinds to let it come in and warm the room.

Minimise water usage

If you have a water meter then you will pay for each bit of water that you use. This means that by using less you will save money. By showering instead of bathing you can save money, as long as you are not in there too long. Make sure that you have no leaks or dripping faucets. Use water efficient appliances, but remember the tips above about replacing appliances and make sure that it will either save you money in the short term or that you only replace appliances as they break down. Think hard before using hosepipes and if you are washing a car use a bucket of water and water the garden with a watering can to stop you using more than is needed.

Compare prices

Comparing prices of utility suppliers can really make a difference to how much you are paying. It can be tempting to stick with the same supplier all of the time. It is certainly easier and you may feel some loyalty towards them. However, you need to make sure that you are not paying significantly more money for this. It could be well worth seeing whether you can switch to a different supplier and save some money. You can often compare prices online and so it is relatively easy to find out whether it is worth your while changing.


How to Keep a Budget

How to Keep a Budget

Keeping a budget is something which is often suggested as a way of managing money more easily. However, it is hard to find an explanation of what is actually meant by budgeting and even if you have it could sound complicated. It is easy to think that it will be really difficult and so it is not a solution available to everyone. However, it only takes very basic maths and is something that most people will not only be able to calculate but will be able to apply as well. You can use a spreadsheet or computer to help you, put some paper and a pen plus a calculator if you wish, should be enough to help you to find out the information that you need. There is a selection of steps that you can carry out, which will make setting yourself a budget really simple.

Add up your earnings

The first step is to add up everything that you earn. You need to include all income whether that is any money that you get from the state, from investments, family etc. So as well as the income you get, from employment and/or self-employment you need to include all money that you have coming in. If it is the same each week or month then this can be fairly straightforward as you should be able to either remember or look back to bank statements to find out.

If you do not have a regular income, in that the money you get changes, perhaps because you do not have regular hours for your job or you are self-employed then the best that you will be able to do is to work out an average. It may be best, as you are budgeting is to consider assuming that your income will be lowest that it is ever is but hoping that it will be higher than that. It is best to look on the negative side with regards to income as then you will budget for the worst case scenario but you could be better off than you imagined if you do get paid more.

Add up your essential expenses

Then you need to calculate your expenses. You should be able to look back through your bank account statements to work out everything that you pay out for. This should include all of the utilities, contracts/subscriptions, debt repayments, rent/mortgage, taxes, insurance, transport costs, food and anything else that you pay out for regularly that is necessary for you to have. There will be many more things that you pay for as well but these will not be counted at this stage. All you want are the things that you have to pay or else you get fined or jailed and the things you need for survival as well as for work.

The reason for only including these as everything else is not a necessary purchase and therefore can be eliminated if necessary. You will have to buy certain items but there will be things that you do not have to buy.

Calculate the difference

Once you have a figure for how much income you normally get in a month and one for the necessary items that you have to pay for, you can take one from the other. You will need to take the expenses away from the income and this figure will be how much you have left to spend on everything else.

This amount will obviously vary from person to person. You may be shocked as to how much it is or how little it is. Having not done this before, it is likely to be a surprise to you either way. It is actually an interesting exercise to do and will need to be redone every time you have a significant change in income or expenditure.

Allocate your money and set the budget

Once you know how much money is left, you will need to think about how to allocate it. Some people like to have a daily budget, some like to have a weekly budget and some like something different. You need to consider how often you spend money and therefore which length of budget will be most relevant to you.

You then need to make sure that you stick to the budget. This means that you will need to be really aware of everything that you are buying and how much it costs. Consider how much of your budget you are spending and whether you are happy to spend it on this item. Remember that you will not be able to spend more money than you have. You may decide you can go over your daily budget one day as long as you even it out and spend nothing the next. This can work for some people, but you have to be careful because there is no point in setting a budget if you spend it all within a few days and have nothing left. The idea is that it should help you to spend less money in big chunks and therefore you will be able to make your money last until you get your next pay check.

It can take some time to get used to doing this, but once you get used to it, you should find it to be a good way to make sure that you manage your money. It should allow you to always have enough money to keep you going until you next get paid without spending more than you realise. It will also make you more aware of everything that you buy and think about the prices. You may start to compare prices and buy cheaper items or buy less things that you do not need. This will enable you to spend less and you could find that you may even be happy to tighten your budget so that you have extra money which you can use to repay debts or put into a savings account. It can feel really good knowing that you are in control of your money and that you can even work on saving money or paying off debt.