When it comes to making purchases, we know there’s a difference between “need” and “want” — and we’re told to cut down on the “want” category. But, why not save on the “need” category? When buying things you can’t avoid, like groceries and car insurance, you can feel bound to stick with what you know and swallow the price. Here, we’ve outlined five ways to reduce the costs on goods and services that you already need to buy.
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As gas prices have risen, airlines have increased airfare costs and extra charges, including baggage fees. If you find that you travel quite frequently, make sure to use an airline credit card that waives baggage fees. Additionally, many airline credit cards allow you to save up miles and waive other fees or even the cost of a full flight.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of groceries for a family of four on a moderate-cost plan is $200 a week. If this sounds like too much to you, consider an alternative to store discounts: credit card rewards. You can earn reward points or cash back for those grocery store purchases. If groceries aren’t your thing, you can earn rewards on gas, entertainment, or dining out, depending on the card. Just make sure to pay off your purchases right away, since paying interest on those purchases will certainly detract from your savings, if not cost you more.
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Put down the store coupons and consider a more versatile option — rewards malls. Available to many credit card users, these rewards malls are online sites that give customers extra points and cash back through participating retailers. If you’re planning to shop online at your favorite stores, consider this to get discounts relevant to your tastes. Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall is a popular one with participating stores like Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Sephora, among many others. Even if you don’t want a new credit card, you can sign up for a cash back website that will still earn discounts on online shopping, but doesn’t require a credit card. To find out more about the rewards malls available with all the big-name credit card companies, click here.
Shopping online at Amazon, even for groceries, can have its perks, but you might find shipping schedules endless. Amazon Prime membership grants free two-day shipping, but the downside is the $99 membership fee (yep — it just went up) per year. Fortunately, you can share an Amazon Prime membership with up to four family members, friends, or coworkers. Split five ways, that’s only about $20 per person for an entire year of free shipping.
One big and unavoidable cost for most people living outside a big city is car insurance. It may seem easier to stay with the insurance company you’re already with or sign up with the most familiar brand that comes to mind, but rates can vary between companies much more than you think. You can increase your chances of saving if you shop around, and fortunately, we make it easy with our car insurance comparison tool.
Consider saving on the things you need, without sacrificing quality. Credit cards, sharing membership costs with friends, and comparison shopping can make a noticeable impact on your bank account for the better.
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NerdWallet, a consumer finance website that promotes financial literacy, is forever looking for the best ways to keep Benjamins in your wallet. Be it investments, saving, health care, education, housing, or travel, NerdWallet uses data-driven tools to help you make the best decisions about your money — yep, they do the homework for you.