Ways to Save Money: 10 Smart Purchases

reusable water bottle in human hand in the sunlight as a way to save money and the environment

Spend money to save money? The concept may seem a bit counterintuitive, but the minimal cost of these common-sense purchases will be far outmatched by your long-term savings. In fact, they are some of the best ways to save money. Consider investing in a few of these relatively inexpensive items today and watch the savings add up all year long:

1. A reusable water bottle

This is one of the best ways to save money. Those cheap 24-pack cases of bottled water may seem like a bargain, but multiply the cost by 52 weeks a year and you will realize just how much of your hard-earned dollars are wasted. While you're at it, pick up a water filter for your kitchen tap or a filtering water pitcher like the Brita. A nice bonus: you'll be helping to keep all of that plastic out of the environment.

2. LED light bulbs

Isn't it time that you finally replaced all of those energy-sucking incandescent bulbs throughout the house? It's a no-brainer! LED bulbs use 80% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs.

3. Rechargeable batteries

The TV remotes, kids' toys, flashlights… the list of battery-using devices goes on and on. If it seems like you are constantly running out to the store to replace your batteries, save yourself the time and hassle and invest in rechargeables.

4. Reusable sandwich and snack bags

Here’s one of the easiest ways to save money. Stop spending on single-use plastics that just end up in the trash. Keep your food fresh with these dishwasher-safe reusable bags.

5. A decent coffee maker

If your morning routine includes a coffee run, it's time to consider becoming your own barista. Invest in a decent coffee maker. This has always been one of the greatest ways to save money for all the coffee-lovers out there. Even if you splurge on a manual milk frother, a French press and/or a quality coffee grinder, you'll still save over the costs of coffee shop lattes and frappes. Love your Keurig? Buy a reusable K-cup that can be filled and refilled with your own coffee. And on those days when you do treat yourself to a Starbucks, bring your own reusable coffee cup; you'll get a 10 cent discount.

6. A streaming device or smart TV

Maybe this is the year that you finally cut the cord and avoid those ridiculous cable bills. You'll save big, even accounting for the costs of a streaming service subscription like Netflix, Hulu or Disney+

7. A reusable lunch bag

"Brown-bagging" it will save you plenty on the cost of takeout lunches. Treat yourself to something a little cuter than an actual brown bag and you may just look forward to packing your own healthy lunches. A fun addition for you and the kids: purchase reusable bento boxes or meal prep containers that you can fill with a variety of lunchtime treats. What a good way to save money!

8. A slow cooker, aka Crockpot or an Insta-pot

Let's face it, no one wants to be chopping, slicing and dicing after a long day at the office. That’s why a crockpot is one of the best ways to save money. A crockpot makes it easy to prepare your meals at home and resist the urge to order takeout. Cook up a big pot of chili or stew and freeze half for another easy meal and double your savings.

9. A programmable thermostat

Why pay for heating or cooling the house when you're not at home? Save on your energy bills by programming your thermostat to lower the AC or heat when you are at work or asleep in bed.

10. An energy-saving advanced power strip (APS)

Consider the number of devices that are plugged in throughout the house: TVs, gaming systems, DVD players, printers, laptops… most homes have a multitude of electronics. You may already know that some of these devices continue to use energy even when they are turned off. An APS will prevent electronics from using power when not in use.