How to Save Money on Groceries and Other Variable Expenses

How to Save Money on Groceries and Other Variable Expenses

When You Need to Cut Costs

How to Save Money on Variable Expenses

This is it. Time to start budgeting, saving money and cutting back on spending. You have a money goal you want to achieve and it’s time to make it happen!

This post will share how you can save money on common variable expenses. It time to consume less, cut back and take things back a notch.

I’m talking about only eat Ramen! But reducing our spending, reasonably, can give us some cash to put towards our money goals.

In this post, we’ll cover how to save money with

personal care items

Personal care items are often found in the bathroom. These include hair products, skin products, hygiene products, toilet paper, etc.

To save money on personal care items, you really need to evaluate your habits and your personal care routines, find cheaper products, forget about brand names and stay organized.

evaluate

Most of us have way too many products and way too many options.

For example, someone might have moisturizer and then eye cream and then face serum and then a facial cleanser and then makeup and all that different type of makeup that eventually it gets overwhelming.

A lot of the time, some of these products are unnecessary.

So look around your bathroom and take inventory on your products. See if you can simplify products. If you look in the shower and see more bottles than just shampoo, conditioner and body wash maybe you should evaluate some of the other bottles and creams and potions that you have in there.

Look inside the medicine cabinet. What’s inside there? Do you actually need to use all these products? Do you actually use everything in there?

Evaluate what you truly need and then stop buying the extra stuff. This will save you a lot of money in the long run. I’m not saying give up on your eyes serum forever. I’m just saying if you’re in the saving-money mode, you don’t exactly need eye serum taking money away from you.

buy on the cheap

And of course, you still need things like soap, toilet paper and toothpaste. So once you’re done simplifying your personal care items, the next thing to do is to find cheaper products of what you use.

Go online, find coupons or go to discount grocery stores and find cheaper products. See if you can buy items in bulk to save money on the individual items.

Always buy items that are on sale. If something is a really good deal, buy two or three to last you, so you’re not buying something for full price when you run out.

forget the brand names

If you’re trying to save money, you can’t be picky with what you get. You need to forget about your favorite brands and opt for items that are cheaper. Store brand items are almost always cheaper than the name brand items.

Once you reach your money goals, you can always find your way back to your favorite products.

organize

If you’re the person who is constantly buying nail clippers because you keep misplacing them, you should consider organizing your personal care items.

Organize your space and make it easier with accessible bins, baskets and bags. Assign a home to every item you own and get into the habit of putting things where they belong.

This way, you always know where those nail clippers are and it will save you money. If you don’t have to replace things, you don’t have to spend money.

fuel

Transportation can take a big chunk out of your budget. This goes for the main two methods: owning a vehicle or taking public transportation.

Now owning a vehicle is more expensive than taking public transportation, but in a lot of areas, public transportation costs are extreme. You pay per ride or you have a monthly plan. These expenses add up.

To save money with transportation, you need to realize the costs, cut back on driving, use strategic planning and use your body as transportation as often as possible.

it’s expensive

Cars are an increasingly necessary luxury. The costs of owning a vehicle are insane. First, you have the cost of the car itself. Most likely, it comes with a monthly loan payment.

Then you need insurance. And there are maintenance costs. On top of that is gas. And as our bank accounts are bare after all of this, something happens. Flat tire. And then you need money for that as well.

Public transportation costs may just be cheaper than all of that.

save money on car expenses

To own a car and save money with it, you need to change your habits. Here are some ideas.

  • Only drive when necessary and, if possible, schedule errands and appointments on the same day near the same times so you’re only driving far every so often.
  • Do errands before or after work while you’re in the car anyway and if they’re are on your route
  • Carpool as much as possible
  • Share a car with your spouse and only own one car

alternative modes of transportation

There are alternative modes of transportation that you should look into. Below are several options, but I invite you to think creatively and outside the box.

Also, watch out for cabs, Ubers and Lyfts. These are very convenient and seem affordable, but can cost a pretty penny if you’re going to need a ride every day.

public transportation

Public transportation is a great secondary option to owning a car. If where you live has a good public transportation system, look into discounts and monthly packages to help save on the costs.

If you have to pay on a per-ride basis, use the tip above and schedule appointments and errands on the same days and in a loop. So, you’re not riding from one town to the next and back again.

cycling

Not only is biking great exercise, but it’s fun and sometimes, especially in cities, it can be faster than driving a car.

Using your bike as transportation can be very cost effective. Upfront costs may be steep if you don’t already have a bike, but if you do, all you really need is a tune-up, some reflective gear and maybe a flashlight.

Maintenance is also really low cost. If you get a flat, a new inner tube runs around $10.

Here is an awesome website to help you get started.

walking

To truly save costs on transportation, you should walk as much as possible. This may be impossible if you live in a rural area, but if things are close by, why not walk to them?

Walking can also be a major stress reliever as you breathe in all the fresh air. 🙂

And, it doesn’t have to be all boring because I even see people skateboard around.

clothing & shoes

The image is of a clothesline in a small laundry room. Clothes are hanging on the line.

If you’re on a mission to save money you need to stop buying new clothes, shoes and accessories. You probably have enough clothes already in your closet.

Go in your closet, take inventory and figure out a bunch of outfits that can last you until you are more financially stable and are able to buy new clothes.

You may find that you have more than enough clothes already. There’s no need to buy more.

entertainment

Entertainment should be kept to a minimum when you are trying to save as much money as possible.

This means you need to stop going out to restaurants, going out to the movies and going out to the bar. It’s draining your expenses.

fun free things to do

The image is of Great Falls park in VA. Lots of rushing water, boulders in the middle of the water.

Here are some things to do that won’t bust the budget:

  • Hiking
  • Exercising
  • Stargazing
  • Reading
  • Volunteering
  • Writing
  • Creating YouTube videos
  • Learning a skill (e.g code)
  • Playing a game
  • Creating a family tree

don’t feel deprived

If you absolutely NEED to go do SOMETHING or you’ll go crazy, then consider giving yourself a small allowance that you budget for. A small amount like $10 a week can let you buy small items or a weekly movie to hold you over.

You don’t have to torture yourself as you save money, but you do need to find cheap, fun alternatives to entertainment. Maybe try out a low-cost hobby.

hobbies

Hobbies, like paintball, traveling, building a car, etc, can get pretty darn expensive. But there are also hobbies that can be pretty cheap.

Find a low-cost hobby that you can get into. Knitting, photography, painting and blogging are all low-cost hobbies. And some hobbies can even make you money if you decide to sell some of your creations.

There’s a vast world full of things to do. You just need to find something that’s appealing to you and budget, budget, BUDGET. Don’t let hobbies take you away from your financial goals.

tobacco / alcohol

Stop smoking and stop drinking. These are habits that are extremely bad for your health and bad for your wallet. Lung cancer and liver disease are not going to pay your bills…

haircare

The image is of a hairbrush and a pair of scissors

Doing maintenance on your hair can get expensive especially if you’re in the habit of going every other month. The prices add up!

If you want to save money, you need to think about cuts and dyes.

hair cuts

If you’re on a tight budget and trying to save money, maybe you should go a little longer without cutting your hair. Wait as long as possible.

Then when you do go to get your haircut, try to get it cut a little shorter than you normally would so it’ll take longer before you need to go back again.

If you are someone who likes very short hair or a buzz cut, it is very easy to cut your own hair. People with longer hair can but their own hair too if you are comfortable with doing so.

Or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is good at cutting hair, use them, use them, use them!

dye at home

Instead of paying someone to dye your hair, use store dyes and dye your hair yourself. It may not be exactly what you want, but this will save you money towards your financial goals.

Hair salons charge extraordinary amounts to dye hair especially with died effects like highlights and ombres.

magazines / newspapers / books

There is absolutely no reason why you should buy a magazine, a newspaper or a book these days especially if you are trying to save money.

Magazines are just glorified articles that you can find on celebrity gossip websites on the internet for free.

Newspapers are obsolete. Nowadays, you can find anything in the newspaper online. Just type in the word “news” into Google, and you can get up to date with all the news stories.

And there’s the library. For reading and checking out books, but also some libraries have the latest magazines and newspapers. So even if you want your People magazine fix, you can go to the local library.

For other great things, you can do at your local library that will save you money, check out this post of why I love the library.

groceries

The image is of a counter full of groceries

The biggest tips to save money on groceries is to eat at home and cook from scratch as often as possible. Those two things will make a big difference to your grocery budget.

Another way to save money is to eat more plant-based foods. Grains, beans and vegetables are all very inexpensive. So fill up on these foods and eat less of other foods. You’ll save a ton!

Let’s talk about lunches, snacks, eating out and how to slash your grocery bill in half.

work lunches & snacks

To save money on groceries you should always always pack a work lunch instead of going out to eat. Packing food from home will save you $5-$10 every day.

Make your snacks from scratch. Instead of buying cookies or brownies make them at home from scratch and you would save a ton of money.

If you choose healthier snacks, you can just cut up a bunch of vegetables or fruit and boom! healthy, cheap snacks on the go. There’s nothing more portable than an apple.

eating out

While you are in the saving-money mode, eating out should be a thing of the past until you get your finances in order.

Now if you still choose to go eat out, make sure that your budget and save for it. And try to see if there’s any coupons or deals that you can take advantage of.

But try to skip out on eating out as much as possible because going out is expensive.

slash your grocery budget

Other than the tips above, there is an awesome method for saving money on groceries. From meal planning to shopping deals, I have a 14 step grocery method that will overhaul your grocery budget.

I personally cut my grocery bill from $400 to $200 for 2 people using these steps and I want to share it with you for free!!

start saving

You’re doing great! Taking steps to save money is a big deal. If you want to see how to cut down your fixed expenses check out this article next.

How much did you save?

Save money on variable expenses by seeing how you can lower your entertainment, food and gas bills. #savemoney

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