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AlamyBy Lisa Koivu
While I enjoy saving money as much as — if not more — than most people, sometimes it might be worthwhile to spend a little bit of money on items now so that you can save more money later.
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. 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.
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.
3. No-contract cellphones. Part of the reasons cellphones are so cheap when you renew your contract with your cellphone 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.
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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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.
5. Amazon Prime membership. I have a bit of an Amazon (AMZN) habit, which can only exist because I purchased an Amazon Prime membership for $79. 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.
A 30-day Amazon Prime trial membership is available so you can see whether the service is a good fit for you before paying the annual fee.
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, though monthly plans are also available. 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.
Lisa Koivu is the founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, a shopping blog for women who want to have the best for less.
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