Getting Organized to Save Money
Everyday life is getting downright expensive these days.
Prices for staples like coffee, bread, milk, fresh tomatoes and other produce items have gone up in recent months. And let’s not even get started on the prices at the pump! With the average cost of gas hitting nearly $4 per gallon across the country, we’re all feeling the pinch. Trying to make a paycheck stretch further and further just to cover the basics each month can be very stressful. Happily, a little bit of organization will go a long way to helping you save money across the board.
Alicia on ‘Knowing What You Have’
‘You may not realize it, but disorganization can lead to unnecessary spending. When you cannot see and easily access what you have, you are more likely to spend money buying duplicate items. For example, if you have a chaotic closet, you might think you need a new white button down shirt, when in fact you have two. This applies equally to more mundane, everyday items too — like food. If you can easily see what is in your pantry and refrigerator, you are less likely to have to throw out stale food later that you ‘lost sight of’ and never used.’
Sarah on ‘Lost and Found’
‘When your home is chaotic, valuable things, like unused gift cards, rebate papers, and even money will get lost in the shuffle. Take an hour or two this coming weekend to tackle messy areas and see what you can find. The biggest culprits for ‘lost’ items of value are home offices, purses, wallets and the tops of bedroom dressers. While you’re at it, set aside a big bowl for accumulating loose change (a great place to keep it is in the laundry room). Having a place to throw those nickels, dimes and pennies makes it easier to save, if even just a little bit. See how much you can save between now and the Holidays.’
Here are three additional ways a little organization will help you save money on the basics.
#1. Locate the Best Deals on Gas
Since gasoline prices can change frequently, and may vary as much as 20 percent within a few blocks, turn to GasBuddy.com for a little help in sourcing the cheapest gas in your neighborhood. GasBuddy.com is a network of more than 181+ gas price information websites that help you find low gasoline prices in your city. In addition, there are additional things that you can do to save money on gas, like avoiding accelerating and stopping too hard or driving 55 miles per hour to maximize fuel efficiency.
#2. Shop Smarter
The next time you go grocery shopping, shop for staples first. That means vegetables and fruit, protein and milk (think the outside perimeter of the store). If, and only if, you have money left over you can shop for treats and extras like crackers, salty snacks and cookies. Don’t buy toiletries or ‘personal care’ items like shampoo or paper goods at the grocery store. You can save 20 — 50% if you buy them at large discount stores. And finally — look up or down! The most expensive items are usually at eye level and the best deals can often be found close to the ground.
#3. Organize Your Inbox (and Make it Virtual)
One late bill can cost you $30 or more on unnecessary fees and/or higher interest rates because of your irregular payment history. Stay on top of bills and financial statements by organizing your inbox and switching to e-statements whenever possible. The mail is all too often unceremoniously dumped on a kitchen table, hall table, or countertop where it can accumulate for days at a time. The longer the piles remain untouched, the more likely you are to lose track of bills.
Find a simple wire mail sorter with two or three compartments and create a few mail filters such as: bills, correspondence, and follow-ups. Once you have it set up, pick a time each day to dump and sort — sort items by category each day, and toss junk mail immediately.