Fighting Inflation and Saving
This time last year, we were talking about the best ways to use our stimulus checks! With the current inflated market, many of us are trying to figure out how we can save money and make our money stretch. Here are some tips that have helped me save this year – I hope they help you too!
When it comes to groceries, many of us have our favorite stores and those are the only places we shop. What I have found is that sometimes, different stores have better deals on different items. For a lot of my general shopping, I go to Walmart or Target because they’re near my house and I can get many things at once. But from comparing prices, I’ve noticed that I can save big just by shopping around. One of the main stores to try is Aldi if there is one near you. And surprisingly, I get great deals on fruits and veggies at Trader Joe’s and Fresh Thyme.
In line with my suggestion above, always compare prices across different stores. Don’t just assume that all of your items will be cheapest at one store just because some of them are. Sometimes a store can offer deals and discounts on an item that other stores cannot. One thing that has helped me save is to write out my shopping list and then check the apps or websites of different stores to see what the prices are. I did this during Thanksgiving one year and realized that I could use that trick to save all year.
Buy In Bulk
Costco and Sam’s Club are known for their bulk deals. My biggest recommendation here is to walk around both stores and check to see which membership would serve your family best. Costco and Sam’s Club offer different items and deals and the best way to get the most bang for buck is to make sure that your family actually uses the stuff they sell. Also compare the deals you can get shopping at both. Some of my bulk staples are toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and snacks for the girls. Oh and by the way – just because Costco and Sam’s Club offer great bulk deals, doesn’t mean they are always the best price. This is why price comparing is so important.
Another hack is to look for a restaurant depot in your city. These are stores where restaurants can buy things in bulk at a much cheaper price. My family gets a huge box of halal chicken from our local restaurant depot for three times less than the price in the supermarkets.
Download the Target App
For a long time, I didn’t shop at Target. I always heard it was too expensive so that’s what I believed. Then a friend of mine (who only shops at Target) started taking me on her “Target Runs” and it changed my whole view. I started comparing prices and realized they weren’t that much different from where I usually shop. And in exchange, I got a better shopping experience, reliable grocery pickup (Target grocery pickup is always ready within 2-hours and when you go to grab your stuff, it’s always ready on time), and best of all, deals.
The secret to shopping at Target is to download the app – it will change your life! Every time you shop, you get points (which are actual dollars) that you can redeem. The Target app also has coupons that can save you a percent or a few dollars on items you buy all the time. For example, if you order two boxes of kids diapers, you get a $15 gift card. You can clip deals and save them in your app “wallet.” This is one of my most recommended tips for saving money right now. Don’t sleep on Target thinking that it’s expensive. You’ll be surprised how much you can save!
*You can probably use this hack for other stores you shop at!
Download ‘Honey’ on Your Web Browser
There are plug-ins that you can download onto your web browser that can save you money. Once you download it, the plug-in does the rest of the work for you. Every time you online shop, it scans the internet for coupons and best deals and applies them for you or tells you if you have the cheapest price.
Take Advantage of Online Grocery Order and Pick Up
One of the positive things that came from the pandemic was the option to order groceries and pick them up. If you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, I highly recommend it.
Grocery pick up not only saves me time and keeps me away from germs, but saves me a lot of money. This is because you’re not going into the story and being tempted by items you don’t need. When I do a pick-up, I have a list and I only get the things on my list. And the great thing is, most stores (if not all) offer this feature now.
Buy a Deep Freezer and Stock Up
One of the best ways to fight inflation is to prepare for inflation. If you can afford to stock up on items, you will get them for a much cheaper price now and avoid paying the upcharge. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed prices slowly going up. At first you don’t see it but then you realize you’re paying $1 or $2 more on everyday items that you always used to buy. Buy a deep freezer and fill up on meats, frozen veggies, etc. Do the same for your pantry and fill it with nonperishables. I have a bunch of canned beans, sauces, and boxed goods in my pantry.
Freeze Foods When You Cook Too Much
In immigrant households and big families, we tend to cook too much at once because we’re used to feeding large groups. The only problem is, when that food doesn’t get eaten, it goes to waste. One of my aunts taught me a great life hack that I have used for years. Most foods will freeze and keep for months, especially the stews we make in my family. Get some freezer safe containers, let the food cook down after you cook it, and separate the food into portions – what you’re going to eat today, what you’re going to put in the fridge for the week, and what you want to freeze for later. I have found that when I unfreeze my sauces, even if it’s months later, they still taste great and sometimes even better than the first day I cooked them.
Create a Separate Email Address for Online Shopping
I know, this is a far jump from freezing your food but I’m telling you, it can save you money! You’ll be surprised how often you’re getting tempted from those harmless emails telling you about a great deal at your favorite shop. The point of those emails is to get you to spend money, even if it’s not today. In order to keep them from tempting you, it’s been to avoid them. If you receive store emails to your main inbox, I recommend unsubscribing from those. Then, create an email address like “shop(insertfirstnamehere)@gmail.com” and use that when stores ask you for your email address. That way all of your promotional emails go to one inbox and you can check it once a month or even once a year instead of being tempted every day.
Create an Online Shopping Wishlist
It’s sooo easy to get lost in online shopping. It’s fast, fun, and it seems harmless. But I find myself spending more money now than ever before because of how easy it is to shop online. If you’re the same way, put items in your cart or on a wishlist but don’t order them right away. Give yourself a few days even better, a month, and revisit the list. If you find that you’re thinking about the items or when you return you still think you have a need for the items, then check out. But this helps curb impulse buying and gives you time to process.
Keep Searching for Money-Saving Tips
Things are really hard right now. With the economy in its current condition, life is more expensive and it can be hard to keep up when bills are increasing but our salaries are not. I know these tips are not going to change everything, but I hope they will help you get some control over your finances like they are helping me. I will keep trying to share more tips and I encourage you to keep searching for money-saving tips as well.
Good luck saving!