Did you know that spending on certain items can actually end up saving you money? That's because they make it easier for us to reduce recurring expenses, such as plastic water bottles or paper towels.
Take a look at this list and consider cutting back – many items can help reduce waste, too.
Here are six items that will cost you money now but may end up saving you more money in the long run:
1. Reusable water bottles
I like to have a bottle of water sitting on my desk at all times, but considering how much water humans are supposed to drink each day, that can mean going through quite a few water bottles every day. In addition to the cost of those water bottles adding up, they're also bad for the environment. Luckily, water bottles are so fancy these days that they come in myriad sizes and some even come with built-in carbon filters that will remove most tap water impurities. You can also find specializing water bottles that keep your liquids chilled all day. Or, if you prefer chugging tea, you can use a thermos that keeps it warm.
2. Cloth napkins
A few years ago I grew disgusted by the number of napkins I was throwing away and switched overnight to only using cloth napkins. Purchasing cloth napkins can be a bit of an investment, but if you're handy with a sewing machine, they're easy to make. I've also found cloth napkins at thrift stores and the dollar store. While I initially purchased a supply of cloth napkins (enough to last us a week), I haven't had to replace any of them in nearly three years.
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3. No-contract cell phones
Part of the reasons cell phones are so cheap when you renew your contract with your cell phone provider is because wireless companies make the bulk of their money from lengthy and pricey wireless contracts. If you're willing to pay more for your phone, it is possible to find much cheaper cellular providers. Do a web search for "no-contract cellular service" to find a provider in your area. It can be a pain to switch, but the savings make it well worth it.
4. High-quality shoes
I enjoy shopping quite a bit and for trendier items that I don't anticipate using or wearing for more than a season or two, I will consider the price before the quality of the item. This does not apply to shoes, however. I am always willing to pay more for a high-quality pair of shoes because they almost always last longer than cheaper, poorly-made shoes. Purchasing quality items does not mean that you have to pay full price, though. I frequently purchase designer shoes at a 50 to 70 percent discount from various sample sale sites such as Gilt, Rue La La and Ideeli. And make sure you care for your shoes, too, whether it's with conditioning treatment or by water proofing them before heading out in the rain or snow.
5. Amazon Prime membership
I have a bit of an Amazon habit, which can only exist because I purchased an Amazon Prime membership. One of the biggest perks of a Prime membership is free two-day shipping on most orders, which I take advantage of usually two to three times per week. ("Oh, we're out of granola bars... no big deal, I'll just order them from Amazon and they'll be here in two days!" I often say.) In addition to the shipping perks, we take advantage of the movie and TV show streaming, Kindle Lending Library (one free book rental per month) and new Kindle First program (one free pre-release Kindle book each month). Our Amazon Prime membership pays for itself many times over in a year. You can test out whether a membership makes sense for you by trying out a 30-day trial.
6. ShopRunner membership
If you do a lot of online shopping at other places than Amazon, a ShopRunner membership may be beneficial to you. A yearly membership costs $79. Perks include free two-day shipping from any of the hundreds of merchants that ShopRunner has partnered with, free return shipping on all orders and special discounts.
A 30-day trial membership is available where you can try out the perks before committing to the annual fee. Eligible American Express card owners might even receive a free annual membership. Check out the ShopRunner website to see if your card qualifies.
Those purchases should help you stick within your budget.
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