There are some things that even in these tight times are still worth the investment. Experts at Vocalpoint.com say smart spends include…
Postage stamps. Sure, automatic bill pay saves time, but it’s an easy way to lose track of your spending. Over time, you can lose touch with how much things like cell phones and video rentals are costing you. To avoid “bill creep,” settle up with old-fashioned paper checks and stamps. While you’re writing out the payment, ask yourself whether the service is really worth it. Tip: Be sure and purchase the “forever” stamps, that are valid for the current postage stamp rate, even if you purchased them when they were cheaper.
Fruits and vegetables. Eating well can save you money in the long run by keeping you healthy, so don’t scrimp here. If your budget is tight, rest assured that frozen and canned varieties offer up just as much nutrition (often, more!) than fresh choices. That’s because they’re preserved at the peak of freshness, while some fresh produce might travel pretty far before it even hits your grocery store. The best bargain with fruits and veggies is what you’ll actually eat. For some people, this might mean spending a little more to buy precut, packaged varieties rather than letting fresh buys go bad before you get around to eating them.
Exercise. If you’re forced to let your gym membership lapse, don’t give up exercise altogether. The more active you are, the more energy and overall health you’ll have. Truth is, you don’t need anything other than your own two feet and a decent pair of sneakers (discount-store variety is fine) to stay fit by walking.
Prescription meds. Stopping the use of some antidepressants can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, and quitting statin drugs can make your blood “stickier,” increasing your short-term risk of heart attack and stroke. If you can’t afford your meds, be honest with your doctor—it’s not an uncommon concern. Your doctor may be able to prescribe cheaper generics or even supply free samples to help for a while.
Little indulgences. You don’t have to go on an expensive vacation to get away from it all. Your local library has lots of free music, videos, and books. And just a small squirt of shower gel can fill your bath with bubbles. Or treat yourself and your significant to some at-home “room service” with this breakfast recipe: Halve a grapefruit and segment it with a knife so that the individual sections can easily be removed with a fork. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil for a few minutes to crystallize the top, and serve. It’s deliciously sweet and sour. Imagine you’re at the Ritz-Carlton.