I recently read an article on CBS MoneyWatch talking about 10 things that are going to be more expensive this fall. Fairly interesting stuff for a dude like me who always tries to predict rising costs and figure out ways to divert said costs. What I found most interesting is the author had no problem spouting rising costs on certain items with absolutely no advice or tips on how to avoid them. Fairly typical I suppose. So I took it upon myself to research ways to not let these 10 things weigh you down this fall. Here is what I discovered…
~ Wow, I love me a big ol’ fat sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, and veggies. Throw it all on a soft sourdough roll, some chipotle sauce, and I’m one happy dude. Turns out Kraft is raising the price on 50% of their products. They are raising their meats by 10% across the board this fall. The current cost of milk, pork, and chicken is forcing Kraft to raise their prices. Here is how to fight back:
- A ham lover? Buy a whole or half ham and slice it thinly for sandwiches. Freeze what you won’t use within the week. You can get it for less than $2 a pound.
- Do the same for turkey and roast beef. Buy and cook and entire turkey or roast, slice for sandwiches, freeze a ton of it and have cheap sandwich meat for months.
- Buying in bulk, cooking, and slicing meat is especially a great tip if you have kids and are packing lunches every weekday.
~ Bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen, right? A new recipe just not working…throw in some bacon and you’re good to go. Pig farmers are hurting with high feed prices due to a major drought in most of the western U.S. and the result is bacon at a record high price of $6.11 a pound. Here is the single best way to save money on yummy bacon:
- Buy Kirkland Signature brand bacon from Costco. It consistently ranks as the best bacon from Consumer Reports and you can buy four 1lb packages very reasonably price at $17.64 or $4.41 per pound. Almost $2 dollars cheaper than the national average. Use one package, freeze the other three for later. Bacon problem averted.
- If you are not a Costco member then be sure to shop grocery store circulars and look for deals and coupons on a pound of bacon. Just yesterday our local Safeway had a sale for $3.99 a pound. When you see a deal be sure to stock up and freeze it.
~ According to CBS MoneyWatch, denim prices are jacked way up right around back-to-school season as manufacturers know many folks are buying. Here are some tips to save:
- Thrift stores. The one cool thing about denim is it lasts forever and typically looks better with age. This makes shopping for denim jeans at your local thrift store a no-brainer. Most are usually stocked to the gills with jeans, name brand jeans mind you, and are sold for pennies on the dollar.
- When buying denim new, always shop with a coupon, especially when shopping online. Retailers like Levi’s.com, Kohls.com, Lands’ End.com, and American Eagle Outfitters.com have some terrific coupon codes available to help you save up to 40% off your next pair of jeans.
- Lastly, simply hold off on denim purchases until October when Rather-Be-Shopping.com will start to see an increase in holiday coupons, particularly for apparel stores.
~ When milk and cocoa goes up in costs, it makes sense that Hershey’s is going to raise prices, 8% in July to be exact. Mars did the same with a 7% increase. But chocolate lovers do not fret, here is how to still get your fix and NOT pay more.
- Buy in bulk and save money by buying Kirkland Signature chocolate products from your local Costco. Stay away from name brands as those will consistently cost you more.
- Stock up on name brand chocolates right after Halloween when grocery and discount stores are slashing prices to clear out their excess trick or treat chocolates. Put as much as you can fit into your freezer as chocolate will easily last between 6 and 8 months.
~ I have personally felt the increase in electricity costs this summer and the fact of the matter is rates will never go down. But here are a few solid tips to control your electricity costs and keep them as low as possible.
- Look into solar. With the federal tax credit and increasingly lower costs to install solar panels at your home this is finally becoming a feasible solution for many Americans.
- Use a programmable thermostat. This is a very frugal way to control your heating and cooling bill. By installing a programmable thermostat you can set it to only heat or cool your house when you are actually there.
- My favorite tip is to plant a small tree in front of windows that directly get afternoon sunlight. I did this at my home and it is amazing how much cooler the rooms affected stay. Be sure to plant deciduous trees that lose their leaves in autumn so the sunlight makes its way through the window and warms the room during winter.
~ Starbucks raised the cost of their whole beans by 8% this fall. In actuality, look for all coffee to go up in price. This price increase is due to a big drought in Brazil which has really hurt the Arabica coffee bean industry. Lucky for you I wrote an article recently documenting 8 ways to save money at Starbucks. Here are a few of the key ways to save money and not let the increase in the price of a cup of java affect you.
- Always use a Starbucks rewards card. If you buy coffee from Starbucks at least three time a year, you should get yourself a free Starbucks rewards card or download their mobile app. By doing so you’ll earn cool rewards like free drinks, free flavor shots, and free tasty treats. Totally worth the effort. Also, you’ll always get a free drink on your birthday.
- Get a free or cheap refill at Starbucks. The next time you’re sitting in your local Starbucks enjoying a cup of regular coffee, hit them up for a 50 cent refill before you walk out the door.
- Ask for less ice. The next time you’re buying an iced coffee, tea, or specialty drink, order it with only half or very little ice. You will basically get the next sized drink for the price of a smaller size.
- Brew at home. Avoid the $4 cup of coffee altogether and brew at home for pennies per cup. Again, I am a huge fan of the Kirkland Signature 100% Colombian coffee. You can buy a 3 lb. can for around $15 at your local Costco.
~ Ridiculous fees by both airlines and the TSA are the culprit for rising airfare costs. Booking for Thanksgiving? Do it NOW as cost will only go up. Here are a few ways to save on airfare this Fall.
- When to book? Studies have shown that the best time to book your airfare is 3 to 7 weeks before domestic travel.
- Best months to travel? If you can hold off your travel plans until January or February you’re going to save some serious cash on airfare. Specifically, 18% lower than normal in January and 15% lower in the month of February.
- Cheapest day of the week to travel? For domestic travel, the cheapest day to depart is Friday and the cheapest day to arrive home is on a Monday.
School Supplies and Technology
~ According to the National Retail Federation, every back-to-school category will see an increase this year. Gulp, wow, really? That is totally astounding to my wife and I as we always score amazing deals and typically spend less than the year before. I document how we do this in my recent article 8 Genius (Yet Easy) Ways to Save on Back-To-School Shopping. Here are a few key takeaways from the article.
- Shop Your Closet & Kid’s Backpack First. You’d be amazed how many supplies your child still has from the previous year. Always start by going through what you already got before you head to Target or Walmart.
- NEVER Buy Everything From 1 Store. If you go into a single store and buy everything on your child’s list you’re bound to pay full price on stuff that is likely on sale right next door at a competing store.
- Price Match Items. If you don’t want to drive around town looking for deals just price match items at Walmart or Target. They’ll happily price match screaming deals from Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, Best Buy and others.
~ The simple chicken. So cute. So delicious. And apparently…so expensive. According to Reuters there is a breed of rooster here in the U.S. that is having fertility issues and leading to a decrease in eggs getting fertilized. You learn something new every day, huh? Here are some tips to fight back against rising poultry costs.
- Chicken can be stored in your freezer for 6-9 months. Much longer than beef which tends to get freezer burnt. Buy chicken in bulk when you find it on sale. Many grocery stores and butcher shops will place boneless chicken breasts on sale for $2.99/pound or lower. So just be sure to shop the circulars and jump on deals when you find them.
- Costco is another solid option for buying chicken, especially if you have the freezer space to store it.
Buying a Home
~ With rising interest rates and less housing inventory in many cities, homes continues to rise in value across the country making it more expensive for prospective buyers. Here are some handy tips for buyers:
- Do your research. By knowing the local housing market like the back of your hand you’ll be able to decipher a good deal from an over-priced home. Talk to local realtors, talk to sellers, and talk to brokers and pick their brains. Once you know the market keep an eye out on new listings in your area and be ready to act on deals. Get pre-qualified from a lender as well so you move quickly with an offer.
- Be patient. If you’re trying to buy a home and your offer is not accepted, have the mindset that it flat out wasn’t meant to be. Don’t get emotionally attached and move on quickly to the next opportunity. This is especially true if you’re looking for an investment property. Your patience will eventually payoff.
Ask the Reader: Do you have any more tips to save money on these products? Please leave a comment below and share your tip with the class, after all it is back to school time.
By Kyle James