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The Nitty Gritty

Painless Ways to Save

Are you wondering about how much it costs to live in this part of the country? How much do you spend on living expenses? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of living in the Tri-State area amounts to $65,436. This includes groceries, healthcare, pet products, housing, entertainment and clothing. While this number may sound daunting, take relief in knowing there are ways to reduce this amount by introducing some very easy measures to trim down on your daily spending.
 
Begin by asking yourself a question prior to making a purchase – is it a necessity or a desire. It is very helpful to identify items you want versus items you need.

Shop smart with saving apps
Savings can be found right at your fingertips.
Earn cashback when you shop with smart phone apps. All you need to do is link your card or receipt from the purchase to earn money back every time.
  • Ibotta – Shop in stores or online through the app and earn cash back from participating retailers
  • Checkout 51 – Earn cash back when you buy your groceries
  • Dosh – Shop through the app at over 1,000 stores and restaurants and earn 10% cash back
  • Gas Buddy - Find the best price for gas in your area, as well as a chance to save 5 cents per gallon

Utilize your cardholder discounts
You have more ways to save using cards already in your wallet. School IDs, transit passes and AAA cards all come with discounts. For example, did you know that your SEPTA pass gets you $2.00 off admission at the One Liberty Observation Deck and your AAA card earns you discounted movie tickets.

Change Your Shopping Habits
Resist the urge to impulse buy. Before you leave to go shopping write down what you need and try your best to stick to your list. If you want to make a purchase that is not on your list, ask yourself whether it is a need or a want. Another important habit to get into is to avoid food shopping on an empty stomach – the hunger will likely increase your final bill. If you frequent a store that offers a rewards program make sure you sign up for it. Some programs offer cash back or discounts for rewards members.

When it comes to food shopping you may want to try purchasing generic instead of name brand items when possible. Consider buying in bulk items that are frequently used and have a long shelf life. Purchasing gently used items such as cars, clothes and furniture can save you nearly 50% off the original retail price.

Couponing
Coupons don’t just come in the newspaper. Be sure to check your e-mail for discounts and savings too.  Buy what you need and never make a purchase for the sake of using a coupon. There are even sites, such as Groupon, that offer discounts for restaurant gift cards and professional services. Medication discounts can be found on sites like GoodRX and 1800petmeds.
 
Save on Transportation
  • The cost of commuting to work daily can get rather pricey. Drivers not only need to pay for insurance, but maintenance, parking and gas, as well. Did you know research shows that it’s cheaper to fill up at the gas station at the beginning of the week? While Friday is the most expensive day to fill up your tank. Consider using public transportation to save.
Adopt just a few of these pain-free spending hacks and you could see your savings rack up over time.