I have an unhealthy love of corner stores. This love has grown over the past few years as many of the convenience stores in my area have started offering decent food. Where else can I get drinks, snacks and candy without having to brave the maze of aisles in the grocery store? Due to the price markups of convenience stores, this affair has been draining my wallet for years. However, I have made the decision that it is time to break up. I need to be making more informed purchases at stores with better price points.
When facing a new purchase most of us will do exhaustive research to make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck. There are thousands of different washing machines, and we need to find the one that best fits our budget and lifestyle. The depth of the research may vary based on the importance of the item, but it always feels good to know we are making an informed purchase.
As the importance of the purchase decreases we often decrease our attention to detail. This also happens as the price of the product decreases. Most of us aren’t worried about making a bad purchase when the product costs less than five dollars. These products are often consumable or easily replaced. Getting burned on a cheap item does not hit our wallets the same way as purchasing a faulty appliance or service.
Smaller purchases are just as important as large ones. Cheaper items are often disposable or consumable and are purchased more frequently. For example, say we purchase a coffee for $1.50 every weekday. This comes out to $390 a year. Our last major appliance purchase was about $800 and lasted ten years. The $80 a year for the appliance is much lower than the $390 we are spending on coffee. Finding a more cost-effective way to consume coffee can affect your budget more than studying refrigerators and ranges.
My fiance and I love sparkling water. We buy the liter bottles from our local grocery store. They cost about eighty cents each and we each drink one a day on average. This costs us about $580 a year. This is a lot of money to be spending on sparkling water, but it does not seem like a lot when the purchases come in increments of eighty cents. We recently switched over to using a home soda machine. Purchasing the gas tanks and flavor syrup ends up costing about fifty cents per liter. This ends up costing us about $360 per year. That is a savings of $220 which more than makes up for the cost of the soda making machine.
This concept goes much further than purchasing our daily beverages. Saving a few hundred dollars a year on coffee is great, but applying this logic to all of our regular purchases can add up fast. We can start by making a list of items we mindlessly purchase, and where we purchase them. Are we buying gum from the corner store when we get gas? Or are we bulk buying gum at the grocery store?
We don’t need to completely stop purchasing these items. I am a firm believer that caffeine is the only thing holding our society together. However, it is important that we are making smart purchases. This is especially true for items we buy on a regular basis. Having a bad buying strategy for our daily snack in the long run may end up costing more than our car.