We have a few different grocery store options near us, and they cover all of the different price categories that I would say are available. Here’s how I would define the price options and an example of each that is pretty widely known:
Expensive: Whole Foods
Where We Do A Majority of Our Shopping
We do most of our shopping at Meijer, which is a regional chain that I would classify as moderate. We have a Wal-Mart nearby, but honestly the experience of shopping in that store just isn’t worth it. (Note to Wal-Mart: Opening two registers at peak time and causing a 30-minute wait for a standard basket of items is a guaranteed way to get people who value their time to shop elsewhere).
If you believe the commercials and magazine covers, you might think that it is impossible to get in shape without paying for an expensive gym membership, money-munching diet plans and loads of pricey equipment. However, not only is it possible to save money on getting healthy, you can usually find everything you need free (or at no additional cost to what you are already spending).
Unused gym memberships: Save money by cancelling rarely used memberships and try some of the below tips for getting healthy without the blowing the budget.
Skip organic: If you have a sink, you can wash your fruits and veggies before you cook or eat them. While organic can be healthier, if you are on a shoestring budget, the benefits are not worth the extra expense. If you must go organic pick your battles, choose one thing (like meats), and just take a little extra time washing everything else off.
Fall and apples go hand in hand here in Michigan, as I know is the case in many other parts of the country.
We have always enjoyed many of the activities that fall brings, and those centered around apples have always been favorite, specifically going to the cider mill and also apple picking. Both of these things have been traditions of our families for the last few years.
But, we noticed this year that things are just out of hand!
Who doesn’t love cider and donuts? I know everyone in our family loves these things. Still, the price of cider these days is through the roof. A gallon is now around $8 at most local cider mills! This pricing came about in kind of a sneaky way.
We’ve all made major purchases at one time or another. Whether it be a new (or new-to-you) car, a home, an education, or some other ‘big’ purchase, dropping a big wad of money on something happens to everybody.
The key, however, is to make sure that your money is well spent.
Here are six questions to ask yourself before making a major purchase:
Why Do I Need This?
This is the first and most important question that you need to ask. Yes, it’s more important than anything to do with the money related stuff, because if you can’t answer this one, you may not need to answer any other question. Keep in mind that ‘wanting’ something is a big difference from actually ‘needing’ it, so be very truthful and honest about how you answer this. Now, if your furnace broke and your alternative is to spend the winter without heat, then the answer is pretty obvious, but if it’s replacing a car that you’ve driven for five years and you want another one, you had better do some thinking!
One of my pet peeves is when something gets done and then has to be done over again. Doing something twice? Argh! The same goes with buying something and having to buy it again.
I tend to take the long view on this, as well. For example, I shook my head when I found out that a road that I remember them building in 1989 was being rebuilt. I guess here in Michigan, on a road that’s heavily used by both cars and semi trucks, that makes sense, but I still shook my head!
But more recently and more close to home, we’ve had two such examples, and both drive me crazy!
It’s common advice to ‘stock up’ on certain grocery items. If you can buy stuff that you will use regardless, get it at a good price, and use it before it goes bad, then there are many advantages to stocking up. Some examples on things that are great to stock up on include:
Crackers and snacks
Bottled or canned beverages
Canned goods such as soups and vegetables
There are many examples. As noted above, the key to stocking up is to make sure you’re buying items that you plan on using. If hamburger meat is on sale, but you don’t eat much red meat, then stocking up probably isn’t such a great idea.
My wife has really gotten interested in drinking wine over the past couple of years. She never really found her ‘drink of choice. But, once she started sampling various wines, she realized that she really enjoys wine over other types of alcohol. Over time she’s found wines that she truly enjoys. She favors dry white wines and certain types of red. She does not care for sweeter wines and while she may, she doesn’t have a deep appreciation for many of the drier reds. Maybe some day!
I enjoy the occasional glass, but my drink of choice is a whiskey and cola, and that’s a good pairing for any meal where my wife chooses wine.
With her new appreciation for wine, it’s been obvious that wine drinking can be a very expensive habit if you let it, but that there are ways to save money and still appreciate the various wines.
Regardless of how many kids you have, your marital status, the amount of debt you have, or even your income, it’s possible to save more money than you imagined possible. Financial professionals know that the best way to save more is to start with small changes. Here are some tips to save money.
1. Look for weekly deals at the grocery store, then plan your meals around those savings.
2. Browse coupon websites to find the most recent discounts and deals. This is a lot easier than clipping coupons from the newspaper every week!
3. If you’re an impulse shopper, you may save money by ordering your groceries and household items online. Yes, you’ll pay a little extra for the service and shipping, but you could save money in the end since you won’t over-spend. Some stores will even let you order the groceries ahead and then pick them up at the store.
I don’t go out for lunch. Period. Or at least, it’s pretty rare, maybe once or twice per year. Outside of that, I brown bag it. Well, actually I have a reusable bag that’s gray so as to save on waste, but you get the idea, right?
So, how do I keep it fresh. Well, it’s not easy, but really the secret for me is mixing and matching, all while staying within a few guidelines.
Generally there are four components to my lunch, and presented in the normal order which I eat them:
Recently, I wrote about how we are planning a trip to Disney World for our family later in the year. I have been pretty happy about some things that have happened that are allowing us to reduce our budget by a pretty nice amount! Ultimately, the biggest benefit comes from a Disney World credit card. Read on!
When we first looked at tickets early in January, the tickets were $342 per person. Since there are four of us that set our budget at $1,368. We know people that travel regularly, and they told us that anything under $350 was a good deal. Happily, the ticket prices declined several times. We finally pulled the trigger at $268 per person, inclusive of all fees. Total Savings: $296
Credit Card #1
We don’t typically go much for reward based credit cards, but when I saw an offer while looking up flights, I couldn’t resist. By signing up for the Delta Sky Miles American Express Card, and using it to pay for our tickets, we will get a $50 statement credit, 30,000 Sky miles (which is basically one free flight for the future), and we will each get one checked bag for free. We had budgeted $200 for luggage ($25 per person per leg of the trip), which we can now knock off the list. We just need to cancel the card after the trip, so that the $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) doesn’t kick in. It’s already on my Google Calendar! Total Savings: $250+
Potential Credit Card #2
My wife got an offer for a Disney based Master Card or Visa (I can’t remember which) that is no-cost, and once we make $500 in purchases, we will get a Disney gift card for $200. We can simply transfer our grocery purchases for a couple of months to get to this amount. We’d sacrifice 1% in cash back rewards, but the trade-off seems well within our favor. We know we will buy souvenirs and clothing and other items, so this seems like a great way to save on some budgeted spending. Savings: $200
So far, we are already at savings of $746 from our original budget, without downgrading anything!