5 Items You Can Stop Wasting Money On By Planning Ahead

Planning_Saving ArticleIf you have ever been annoyed that you had to pay a premium on something because you were in a rush and had no other choice, then this article is for you. Personally, this is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. Whatever I buy, I want to know that I’m paying the best possible price for it. One way to ensure that’s the case is to plan ahead. Stores know that people in a hurry will pay extra for what they need and price things accordingly. One everyday example is the price of items in a convenience store. When you buy something there, you are paying extra for the convenience, either of location, or not having to go all the way to the far end of a full size grocery store for one item.

An easy way to avoid paying extra for things is to set aside time each week to plan out the week ahead. If you know what’s coming, you can plan for it, and avoid paying more than you need to. Here are a few common items that cost extra when you haven’t planned ahead

Express shipping

Whether you are ordering your standard pack of diapers on Amazon or ordering a gift for someone from Etsy, if you need it fast, you are going to pay for it. If it’s a standard order, you can sign up for a subscription, or set a reminder for yourself in your calendar to order it. If it’s a one time purchase, buy it as soon as you know you will need it. If you get invited to a bridal shower, hop onto the registry and snag the item you want as soon as you RSVP. In the world we live in of 2 day shipping, not everything is actually 2 day shipping, so make sure to order early to avoid paying extra to get it in time.

Gift bags/wrap

This is one I am definitely guilty of, and I kick myself every time it happens. If I pick up a gift on my way to an event, I also need a bag to put it in. I always keep bags when I receive gifts, so I have a collection at home to choose from, and I know I’m not alone in that. There’s really no good reason I should ever buy one at a store, but I do, when I have failed to plan ahead and have no other choice. If you purchase the gift ahead of time, then you can avoid paying unnecessarily for the bag.

Take-out food

If you resort to ordering take-out when you haven’t gone grocery shopping, or don’t have anything quick to eat, then try planning out your meals each week. Make sure that grocery shopping makes it into your schedule each week, (or check out our post on online grocery shopping to save yourself some time) and set aside some time to do some meal prep. If you are inclined, you can make freezable meals, or you can just buy a few ready-made items at the grocery store. Even ready to eat meals from the grocery store are cheaper than take-out. I always keep a couple of frozen pizzas in my freezer for those nights I get home and just don’t have the energy to make something from scratch.

Pre-made snacks for kids events

If you have school aged kids, you have probably been in the rotation of bringing snacks in for your kids class, or maybe a sports team. If you remember that it’s your day while you are driving to school, you are most likely going to pick up something from the grocery store or bakery that is more expensive than what you would have brought if you had thought about it earlier that week. When you sit down to go over the week ahead, make sure to think about any volunteer responsibilities you have coming up. Planning ahead doesn’t mean it has to be homemade, but it will give you time to think of something the kids will like without spending a fortune.

Water bottles

I always try to keep a water bottle with me so I can avoid buying one while I’m out and about. This is a small expense, but it can add up if you buy a bottle regularly. So that I don’t have to remember to bring one every day, I keep several reusable water bottles in my car, one in my purse and one at my office. I do empty all of my stashes once a week to wash them, so make sure to include that in your weekly planning session.

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