Figure real needs compared to wants. Do you need the best, most expensive, coolest gadgets and foods? Do you really need to make all those trips and drive so much? Do you need more stuff, or can you downsize? Figure ways to save money.
Plot your paths – figure your driving routes to make a loop of stores you need things at so not go out at separate trips. You’ll save in gas costs and time. When I have a doctor appointment, I put a list of shops in that area I can stop at on the way there or back. When I need something at one store, I figure what else I need at nearby stores, or a gas station, or post office, or a rental pace, etc. Buy gas more often, not letting it go below 1/4 tank - then the total bill looks better (but if you leave your car in a place where thieves can drain your gas tank unseen, then keep less gas in the tank and fill to a lesser amount - the thieves are so brazen in how they steal gas by drilling into the gas tank).
I buy in bulk when I know I will use it. If I am not confident of using it all in the time it is good for (or I can’t freeze it), I will not get it in bulk. If it goes to waste, it didn’t save money. I look for sales and wait to buy until it goes on sale. I try to gauge how many to buy compared to how long before it might be on sale again. For produce, keep it in the front of the refrigerator so you know to use it before it goes bad. If you let food spoil you are not saving any money on it.
Cook or learn to cook. It costs less than eating out. Prepare a few meals worth and freeze to pull out another day. Make your own coffee.
Buy or make foods to freeze. Cook dry beans and pasta (cheap to buy and can keep them in the pantry for months to years). Buy meats and produce on sale and freeze them for later. Buy less processed and packaged foods – they add up and can mess with your system, sending you to the doctor more often. Make easy meals by preparing a green and a red type vegetable with a meat. Eat less meat and your costs go down.
If you use coupons, keep your eye out for them and use only the ones you need (not everything you see a coupon for). Watch emails, texts, store promotions, stores, and brands on social media – many send coupons and sales notices or offers. Many coupons are “click to load” or auto loaded on apps. Then you show your store barcode to get those offers.
Be aware of false offers because scams might try to suck you in. Verify the store has your correct email and phone number (scams often send to alternate contacts than you registered with).
If you have a loyalty or loyalty card program at a store, bring it out when shopping online or at the store – to get any discounts and/or add points toward rewards.
Large chain stores can often give better discounts than small Mom & Pop stores, but it’s a shame for them to lose customers to the chain stores because they will suffer losses or even go out of business. In times of scraping to get by, you do need to make tough choices.
As for Amazon buying, it might get you things you can use, but sometimes they are not cheaper than at a store, (especially if you need to pay for shipping) so know what you are looking for, then Google or call to find a better price. Porch pirate issues can rob you of the delivery, as well (find an Amazon drop box or deliver to a neighbor who would be home). Amazon will try to get you to buy more than you need by suggesting other products or pushing a minimum amount for free shipping (but not everything qualifies toward that minimum, so you might keep adding more to the total).
If your car can use a lesser grade of gas, fill up with that. Don’t skimp if your car needs premium gas – you don’t need a big repair bill from a failed engine. Use public transportation more if you can, use Uber or Lyft or taxi, and rideshare. When you drive, maximize gas usage. Drive the speed limits and accelerate/decelerate more slowly and not quickly. Keep the tires fully inflated and lessen the weight oof stuff you keep in the car or trunk. Be mindful of heating and AC - keep it at a comfortable temperature and not warmer or cooler than you need.
Get your shots and health issues dealt with – hospital bills are more expensive than preventative measures. Eat healthy – eat more produce and less sugars and prepackaged dinners. Cut down on the amount of meat you eat. Cook your own foods instead of going out. Skip the coffee in the coffee shop.
Sell things you do not need or care about anymore - you can earn some extra money. Take a job if you aren't working - there are many looking for workers. I see "hiring" signs hanging at businesses a lot. Downsize what you can.
Turn your thermostat down and lower the temperature of your hot water heater to the lowest it will still do what you need. Wear more sweaters in the house. Run laundry and dishwasher, etc. when full so not as often.
If you re-align your thinking with your spending habits, you can save a lot of money to help make ends meet. PR