When you consider all of the things you buy on a frequent basis — whether it’s small purchases like coffee or a bottle of water, or bigger staple items you always keep stocked in the house — there are likely some big savings opportunities that you’re missing out on.
By investing a little extra money now on certain things, you can reduce a lot of extra expenses in your life — and save yourself some serious cash down the road.
Buying these 11 things will save you big bucks over time
1. Reusable water bottle
Something you can get for free has turned into an $18 billion industry. And considering the fact that a lot of the bottled water out there is just filtered tap water, it’s safe to say that paying for the convenience is a big waste of money, especially if you buy bottled water on a consistent basis.
Clark uses a Contigo water bottle, which you can get for around $20 or less on the Contigo website, depending on the size and your other preferences. You can also check Amazon for deals on all types of reusable water bottles.
Then every time you fill it up — and don’t spend on a plastic bottle — you’ll be saving money (and the environment).
2. Costco membership
For $55 a year, a Costco membership can not only save you big bucks on frequent purchases, including food, prescriptions and household staples like toilet paper, but it can also save you a lot of money on big ticket items, like tires.
Check out these 9 secret perks that make a Costco membership totally worth it.
3. Coffee machine
A splurge here and there is no big deal, but when you’re buying coffee every day — or every weekday — it can really start to add up!
Here’s a simple cost comparison of buying coffee out vs. making it at home:
BOUGHT AT RESTAURANT
- Medium Dunkin Donuts hot coffee
- $1.89 before tax
- 14 fluid ounces
- 13.5 cents per fluid ounce
BREWED AT HOME
- 12-ounce bag Dunkin Donuts ground coffee
- $7.99 before tax
- Makes up to 40 cups, 6 fluid ounces each
- 3.3 cents per fluid ounce
It’s pretty clear how your coffee habit can cost you big bucks over time — especially if you’re buying drinks that are a lot more expensive than just black coffee. So if you’d rather save that money, just purchase a coffee maker!
Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can purchase a quality coffee maker on Amazon for anywhere between $15 and $50.
For $8.99 a month, Netflix can save you a lot of money — especially if you share the account (and the cost) with a friend or family member.
Even if you keep your cable subscription and use Netflix as an added option, either at home or on the go, $8.99 a month can be a lot cheaper than the cost of renting movies through platforms like iTunes and On Demand.
Read more: 10 secrets you didn’t know about Netflix
5. Programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as 30%, which can save you a lot of money over time.
Programmable thermostats are devices that learn your living patterns and figure out when to bump the temperature up or down a few degrees to save you money while you’re out — without you having to tell it to do anything.
Plus, they can be controlled remotely via smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Many of the popular brands, like Nest, can even be self-installed if you have technical ability, or you can hire a local installer who will also sell you the unit. Retailers carrying the Nest, and other programmable thermostats, include Amazon, Best Buy, and Lowe’s, among others.
6. Cheaper cell phone plan
Switching cell phone providers can sometimes be a pain, but it can save you a whole lot of money! In fact, a recent survey found that people who switched carriers saved at least $20 or more on their monthly bill — and depending on what you’re spending now, the savings could be even bigger for you.
Here’s a look at the best cell phone plans and deals right now.
Seriously. Let’s say you spend $5 a day on lunch during the work week. That’s about $25 a week — or $1,300 a year! By making your own lunch at home, you can save a lot of money over just a few months.
A fellow member of Team Clark and I were actually talking about lunch boxes recently, after her husband was not very fond of the one she had bought for him to take to work. But if you want to save yourself the extra money of buying lunch every day (and in some cases, your reputation), all it takes is a few plastic containers from one of the dollar stores!
8. LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs use between 80% and 85% less energy than the incandescent bulbs (the ones you use in lamps) they replace, according to Consumer Reports. And while LEDs used to take a long time to make up for the money you spent on them, prices have dropped, making them a much better deal. And on top of being more energy efficient, LEDs also last longer — an estimated 23 years — so switching over will save you a lot of money over time.
9. Amazon Prime
Depending on your shopping habits, paying $99 for an Amazon Prime membership could save you big bucks — and like Netflix, the savings can be even bigger if you share the account and annual cost with someone else (or a few people).
Here are a few perks of a Prime subscription:
- Free two-day shipping
- Access to thousands of free movies and TV shows
- Music streaming
- Access to huge e-book library
- Free photo storage
According to weddingstats.org, the average cost of renting a wedding tuxedo in 2015 was between $150 and $242.
Even if you don’t go to a lot of black tie weddings, buying a tuxedo for the ones you do go to — plus any other black tie event down the road — will cost you a lot less than renting one each time. There are tons of ways to get a quality tuxedo on a budget, and you can even get them used — a few alterations may be worth it for a low-cost, quality used tuxedo.
Here are a few sites to check out:
11. Sturdy phone case
If you’re anything like me (a little clumsy), or if you have kids, investing in a quality phone case can save you big bucks on the cost of a new phone.
Considering all the times I’ve spilled water on my phone, dropped it in the sink or may have otherwise compromised a case-less cell phone, the price of a good case has definitely saved me from buying a new phone.