Warehouse stores are great for bulk purchases, but not every bulk item found in these places is a bargain for you. If you are paying too much on prescription drugs, there are ways you can reduce the costs. Credit cards are great lifesavers for emergencies when you have no cash on hand. However, many fall into the trap of using credit cards for day-to-day purchases.
Food, drugs and credit cards -- they make up a large part of our monthly expenses. You can reduce these expenses by following these simple, but effective frugal living tips.
Frugal Living Tip #1: Big Bargains (and Pitfalls) at Warehouse Stores
Warehouse stores are a blessing to anyone looking to get all of their shopping done in one place. Of all the options for how we spend our money, more and more Americans are using warehouse stores to make a large part of their purchases. The fact that these stores can offer many of our favorite goods in bulk and for a fraction of the regular retail cost is one of the primary reasons people are flocking to these stores. However, that doesn't mean that every purchase you make at a warehouse store is going to be the best bargain.
A large pitfall that many people fall into when shopping at warehouse stores is purchasing many of their food items there. That 10-pound bag of apples looks like a great deal, but once you factor in how long it will take to eat them all (unless you are making your own applesauce), this will probably be wasted money in a couple of weeks. A family of four might be better off getting perishable items at a traditional grocery store. A more realistic way to shop at warehouse stores for perishable items would be if those items are earmarked for a large gathering or if you have a large freezer and can freeze many of the items.
The best savings can usually be found in baby items and paper goods. Many people also report finding great deals on cleaning and baking supplies as well. Again, anyone shopping for deals on these items needs to consider how long it will take for the items to be used in comparison to their price. And with stores like Sam's Club and Costco, where there are tables of free samples on every aisle way corner, it can be relatively easy to slip into the impulse buying mode resulting in overspending at warehouse stores. Sticking to a list is still the best way to avoid impulse shopping.
Frugal Living Tip #2: How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs
The rising cost of health care in America has millions of people and families strapped for extra cash. Getting sick can literally cost you hundreds of dollars in doctor fees and co-pays. Many people don't figure in the cost of medication until they need it, often times leaving them without life-saving medicine. For many people on a tight budget, the extra money for things like prescriptions isn't available so finding ways to save an extra dollar or two is vital.
A no cost way to save on prescription drugs is to talk to your doctor prior to having a prescription filled. Drug companies solicit doctor's offices constantly and bring with them free product samples for the doctor to pass on to their patients. Sometimes, asking the doctor for a free sample of the medicine is a very frugal way to save on prescription costs. Not only that, but if it's a new drug you have never taken before, asking for samples can save you from throwing out money if you find out you are allergic to the prescription or need it changed after you've filled it. Most doctors are more than happy to send you home with samples. If your insurance won't cover the cost of the prescription, samples may be your only option until you and your doctor can find a drug covered in your plan.
Another option is to talk to the health care professionals at your local hospital. Sometimes, joining the local hospital foundation can have extra perks that offset the cost of membership and contributions. One of those benefits is a discount at the hospital pharmacy. It is important to check first to see what benefits there are prior to joining. Some hospitals and pharmacies offer discount cards that can be used alongside your insurance for extra savings. Plus, you can always save additional money by requesting that all your prescriptions be filled as generic medicines, which can translate to a savings of up to 50% in some cases.
Frugal Living Tip #3: Save Your Credit Card, Save Your Finances
We all know how important it is to have credit established. However, millions of Americans go into deep credit card debt every year for using that established credit instead of cash on hand. They are making huge mistakes in their spending habits and it could cost them further down the road when having a credit card can be crucial.
What is happening is that instead of using cash on hand, people are choosing to use their credit cards for every day purchases. Advertisers run commercials about how "priceless" time with your children can be if you use your credit card for an afternoon at the movies or a picnic. The problem with this is that Americans are listening. We are using the plastic to gas up the car for work, pick up lunch for the gang and even buy groceries. We are encouraged by the promise of rewards, miles and kickbacks; all for using our credit cards for day-to-day living. This truly becomes a problem when we have used up that available credit and it is no longer there when it is truly needed.
Consider the scenario where you use a credit card to pay for movie tickets, gasoline, groceries or fun at the beach. What happens if you are stranded on the side of the road? You call for a tow truck, but the card won't go through since you don't have enough credit for such a time or the credit card has been maxed out. These things happen to people every day who use their credit cards for daily living and only pay the minimum each month. So, if this is you, then consider using your credit card for true emergencies only. By not using your credit card properly, you reduce the amount of available credit to you and you get further behind when it is time to pay it off.