Our friends at FOX Business – Stocks Editor Elizabeth MacDonald, shares with us tips on how to save given the rise on food and gas prices.
The Labor Department reported today that consumer prices rose last month by the most in three years. Higher gas prices were responsible for about 80% of the increase, and food prices rose 0.2 percent. Nothing tests the sanity of the ordinary American than seeing gas prices steadily climb at the pump, or food prices inexorably rising at the cash register. I’ve been at both, and the experience is teeth grinding, my molars are almost Tic Tac size (kidding). It seems just about everything is rising in price except your biggest asset, your house. Therefore, I’ve been test driving tips on how to cut costs on both. Here are five to help you get started:
Bring your lunch to work:
$10 a day times five is $50 bucks a week. Knock out two weeks’ vacation, and you could save $2,400 a year—enough for your next vacation. Maybe cut back on eating red meat and look for other sources for protein that cost less. Food like tofu, legumes, eggs and beans are cheaper than meat. And didn’t Einstein say that was the future for human gastronomy?
Take advantage of your grocery store
And I’m not just talking coupons from the Sunday paper inserts. I love coupons—you can knock well more than a quarter off of your grocery bill. But more so, big supermarket chains like Publix and Kroger have the equivalent of frequent flyer miles for repeat shoppers. They’re called ‘customer loyalty’ programs, and you can get lower, cheaper ‘member pricing,’ like double coupons or cheaper costs for gas. It makes a big difference in saving despite what you may think!
Use store brand alternatives
Read the ingredients label and you’ll be surprised at how much they are the same. That’s because supermarkets often purchase food products from national brand companies and slap their own label on them. And watch the space on each end of a grocery aisle; that’s where the store manager puts the store’s deals on junk food, cookies, soda pop, soup or pasta sauce. Bring a calculator and do the math on the price of the item and the number of units in it, like yards for paper towels or ounces for milk. I do this all the time and it saves me lots of money. Oh and while you’re bringing the calculator, leave the children at home. While I adore children, (I’ve been changing diapers since age 6), they’ll guilt you into buying all sorts of pricey things.
Use your smart phone and credit cards to buy gas
There are lots of new apps pointing you towards the nearest gas station with the cheapest gas prices. And buy a global positioning satellite system to help you find the shortest distance to your location, saving you gas money from getting lost (and saving you from divorce due to the fighting). Also, there are lots of credit cards offering gasoline reward money back for filling up your tank. Be sure to get a cheap card though and not one with a high annual fee or interest rate. And, don’t buy high octane, only buy regular. High octane offers no more benefit than regular.
Maintain your car—or use public transportation
Checking the oil, changing the air filter, spark plugs, rotating the tires and keeping them inflated can save you as much as 10% to 15% on your gas bill. And stop being a tail-gatin’, road ragin’ speed demon. All of that speeding, braking, stopping and going wrecks your savings on your gas. Gas savings decline precipitously at speeds over 60 to 65 miles per hour, and through constant braking and revving up the engine. Consider trains, buses and subways. It’s nice when someone else takes the wheel!
Tell us in the comments! What tips can you share with us on how to save on gas and groceries?