Save Money
Credit: dhester

Save at the Grocery Store

Shop by Sales Ads - Take advantage of daily or weekly sales on the items you already buy. Be mindful of perishable items by making sure you can use them before they expire or store them (ex: freezing) for a longer shelf life. If there's something you've been wanting to try, but didn't want to spend the money on it, buy it while it's on sale.

Buy Generic - Not all brands are created equal, but some generics taste just as good, and in some cases better, than the name brand.

Coupons - Search your local newspaper and grab your scissors. Other sources include: local coupon savings organizations, online groups, manufacturer websites, and grocery store e-coupons.

Buy in Bulk - If there are items that you find yourself using more frequently, buy them in bulk. Also, buy meat in bulk packages and freeze the extra. Consider signing up for membership with a place such as Sam's Club or Costco. Tip: Get a day pass and search the store for the items you already buy. Make notes of the sizes and prices, then go back to your regular stores and break down the costs to see if the price of the membership is worth it.

Cook Larger Meals - If you are already going through the trouble to cook, why not cook extra? Make extra of the full meal for your next day's meal or you can also cook more of individual items like extra meat or extra pasta to be used in a different recipe the next day.

Learn the Different Cuts of Meat - Some meats simply can't be beaten in certain recipes. Learning the different cuts of meat can help save you money by knowing which meats hold up well under different cooking conditions. By knowing which cuts will work in your recipe, you can choose a less expensive option without sacrificing the quality of the meal.

Bulk Up Meals with Fruits & Veggies - Save on the cost of meat by buying less of it. Use fruits and vegetables to round out the meal. Plus your body will thank you for eating healthier.

Utilize the Freezer - So many things can be frozen for later use: Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, and Sauces.  Tip:  You can prepare some meals in advance and freeze them for later in the week when you won't have much time to cook.

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Bag Lunch - Why grab fast food for lunch? It's bad for you (even many of those that claim to be good). Sure it's fast, but so is a lunch you prepared yourself. Take some left-over's from last night's dinner or use that extra chicken or steak you cooked the day before and turn it into a salad or wrap.

Make Coffee at Home - Even if you buy one of the more expensive brands from the grocery store and even if you splurge for the fancy machine, making coffee at home will still save you money.

Save at the Pharmacy

Go Generic - Going generic is the easiest way to save on medications. Not everyone can take generics, usually due to allergies to things like coloring that is added to the pills, but most people tolerate them well. Generics have to meet the same standards as the brand name drugs. They are less expensive mainly because they are piggy-backing off of the research and development that the brand name manufacturer conducted to make the brand name drug and to get FDA approval. Since the generic manufacturer does not have to spend the money on R&D, they can make their product with significant savings to the consumer.

Discount Card Programs - These programs are not insurance, they only provide discounts on medications. You can find discount cards in many places: in your mail, at your doctor's office, at the pharmacy, and online. There are many discount card programs that are free. Go to their websites or call them and look up your medications to see what your potential savings could be. Savings will vary based on the pharmacy you choose to have your medications filled, so be sure to shop around.

Manufacturer Discounts - Most manufacturers offer trial sizes and their own discount programs for those that need financial assistance with obtaining their medications.

Trial Sizes - If you doctor is prescribing you a new medication, ask to see if they have a trial size packet available. Most pharmaceutical reps give doctors trial sizes to promote the drug to the doctor's patients.

Store Discounts - Many pharmacies offer discount or reward programs that can help save money towards your medications or other purchases at their store. Ask the pharmacist for more details and how to sign up. Programs vary by store.

Save on Dining Out

Look for Specials - Specials vary widely from restaurant to restaurant and can even sometimes vary based on the time of the year. Pay attention to commercials and menus for limited time offers and introductory offers. Some places also offer "deal" pricing during certain days of the week or certain times of the day.

It's Your Birthday - Some restaurants will offer you a discount or free menu item (usually dessert) if you tell them it's your birthday and show them your ID. Of course, you may have to suffer through the embarrassment of the staff singing to you.

Join the Club - Many restaurants now offer the opportunity to register for their "club". By joining you can get email offers for additional discounts.

Save on Entertainment

Skip the Theater - Almost everyone enjoys a trip to the movie theater every now and again, but for the most part, why not skip the inflated cost of the tickets and food and use one of the many online (or by mail) movie options like Netflix? If you use Netflix by mail, be sure to keep your queue loaded so you have no excessive gaps between DVD deliveries. Doing so will help make the most of your money.

Forget Cable & Satellite - Check out online TV service providers. There are many to choose from these days (ex: Hulu Plus). You can even view some shows through the network's website or app. The costs are minimal (free in some cases). One set back is that most of the shows are not able to be viewed online the same day it aired on TV. Also, some shows may not be available at all, so look at your options carefully. For those with the option, sign up for a trial to see how you like it before you say goodbye to your current provider.

Video Games - Right now, GameFly, is where most people turn to try before they buy a game. GameFly has a similar set up to Netflix, sending games to you by mail. Reviews on GameFly are varied, but most complaints stem from low availability on popular titles and slow delivery dates. When you find a game you love, GameFly has a purchase option, but be sure to compare the price with GameStop or other used game stores before you buy.

For more tips read Part 2 and Part 3 of the article series.