Four Ways to Save Money in Expensive Cities
Even if you're already a savvy consumer who knows all the bargains in town, has memorized the addresses of discount stores and can rattle off Costco gas hours like a champ, you might not know how to beat big city prices. Here's a quick list of four techniques that can help break the inflationary cycle of living in a large urban area:
Use Apps to Shop for Low-Priced Fuel
Dozens of bargain-hunter apps are on the market, and many of them are free. Test-drive a few of the ones that seem like a good match for your tastes and learn how to hone in on bargains in your neighborhood. One of the keys to smart shopping is staying local. Not only will you be helping the merchants in your neighborhood but you won't be spending as much fuel or time when you shop.
Shop at Farmers Markets
For fresher, better-tasting produce at lower prices visit your local farmers market at least once per week. Most every medium- to large-sized town has a farmer’s market, many of which also sell a wide range of additional grocery items. A typical farmers market offers produce of all varieties, milk, baked goods, bread, nuts and much more. This strategy is a double win if you can locate a discount grocer near the farmers market. That way, you can do your entire week's food shopping in one trip.
Order Clothing Online
After honing in on all your clothing sizes, it's easy to find a few online discount retailers in the apparel business. This tactic is actually one of the best-kept secrets in the world of online discount hunting. Depending where you shop and what your tastes are, you can save up to 30 percent on standard clothing items when you take advantage of online sellers' low prices.
It helps to find one or two Internet merchants and patronize them often. Staying "loyal" to a small number of sellers is an effective way to earn discounts and become familiar with sizing specifics. Start with a few inexpensive items like shorts or shirts to test customer-service responsiveness, apparel quality and sizing. It can take a while to find your favorites but once you do, the savings will begin to add up.
Use Mass Transit
Even if you own a car, it makes good sense to use mass transit several times per week. You win two ways with this strategy. First, you save money on gasoline and wear-and-tear on your vehicle by using a bus or light-rail train system. Second, if you use mass transit frequently enough you can cut down on miles you put on your car's odometer. That can translate into a "low-mileage driver" discount from your insurance carrier. Those price-breaks can save you hundreds of dollars annually just by taking mass transit to work a few days each week. Families can save even more than individuals. One recent study by the American Public Transportation Association found that an average two-car family can save as much as $10,000 annually by getting rid of one car and using mass transit to take up the slack.