3 Easy Ways to Save Hundreds Every Year

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I don’t know about you, but I’m going on kicks. I’ll eat clean for months, only to fall off the wagon and polish a box of Toasty Cheez-Its. I can watch my budget for years like a golden retriever watching her newborn puppies, then fall off the wagon when life gets busy. And when life gets messy or I’m busy, I burn money that could have been saved and invested.

Fortunately, I recognize when I’m not being as careful as I should be and can take steps to correct myself. Here are three ways to save some serious money without robbing yourself a little.

1. Inventory

Going to the grocery store is about as much fun for me as being petted at the airport. My travels are often made out of desperation. For example, I decide to make Mexican for dinner, only to realize I don’t have any tortillas in the house. While I’m at the grocery store, I grab a few other things so I don’t have to come back soon.

Here’s the problem: I often buy things that I already have at home. If only I’d taken the time to look in my fridge, freezer, and pantry, I’d have a better idea of ​​what to spend money on.

An estimated 30 to 40% of food in the US is wasted each year. That’s wrong on so many different levels that it’s hard to parse. For example, how many people could be fed with the food we throw away, and how much money could we save if we only buy what we need and what we will use?

I’ve been struggling with this issue for a while, and this is what I came up with. I joined Walmart+. It’s free for me because my American Express card refunds me the $12.95 monthly fee. The main benefit of being a Walmart+ member is that I don’t have to pay any fees to have groceries delivered. I leave a tip for the driver, but the amount of money I save by not buying things I don’t need more than makes up for it.

Before placing an order, I make a list of meals that we are going to eat at home. And as much as it hurts me, I check the fridge, freezer, and pantry to make sure I don’t already have any of the ingredients. Only when I am sure, I place the order.

Letting someone else shop for me means not buying junk I don’t need (including the delicious, aforementioned Toasty Cheez-Its). The less clutter I have in the house, the more likely I am to eat fruits and vegetables. When it comes to what foods Americans throw away most often, fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list.

2. Relax with the cleaning products

When I was a kid, I promised myself my house would be spotless when I grew up. And for the most part, I have kept that promise. That said, I have a thing for cleaning products. I try just about anything new on the market. Since moving into our new home four weeks ago, my favorite purchase has been an O’Cedar EasyWring mop and bucket. Not to be too nice to say, but it is possibly the best mop I’ve ever used.

The problem is that I can waste hundreds of dollars every year on cleaning supplies that I don’t need. I have to wonder why. Vinegar and water kill things like salmonella and E. coli. And if I follow that with a store-bought disinfectant, 99.9% of the lingering germs will be gone.

And if you haven’t discovered the joy of Murphy’s Oil Soap yet, let me tell you what it can do. A few drops in a bucket (or sink) of water cleans all the things you wouldn’t think of using oil soap. Murphy’s cleans everything from countertops and windows to bloodstains (don’t ask). It makes old furniture look great and that new mop I mentioned? I honestly didn’t know our wood floors could look this good until you added a few oil soap drops to the bucket of water and gave the room a spin. Murphy’s is also great for cleaning toilets, sinks, showers and bathroom floors.

In my area, 128 fluid ounces of white vinegar costs $3, 128 fluid ounces of Murphy’s cost $14, and 32 fluid ounces of all-purpose disinfectant cleanser costs $4. I estimate the vinegar and Murphy’s will last me about four or five months with the sanitizer. six weeks. I’d still like to buy laundry detergent and dish soap, but keeping it simple would save hundreds a year.

3. Dump your insurer

Remember when someone once told you how much they love shopping for auto insurance? Me neither. It’s hard to know where to start, how much coverage you need, and how to find the best rates. And yet the average driver saves nearly $400 a year when they switch auto insurer. And that’s just car insurance. If you also have a home, you can bundle the coverage and save even more.

If your driving record is a bit of a mess or you have a very low credit score, you may want to give your record time to recover and take steps to increase your credit score before looking for new coverage. Both allow you to score a lower rate when the time comes.

The beauty of each of these tips is that none of them make sense on a financial diet. You don’t have to miss anything, but you can still enjoy the payout.

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