The High Cost of Convenience: Saving Money by Not Taking the Easy Way

Posted on 01/18/2010

Running into the corner market to buy a gallon of milk that costs as much as a bottle of wine, that’s the easy way. Planning ahead to pick up enough milk for the week when you’re at the grocery store, that’s the hard way. But convenience comes with a cost—a price that can do damage to your budget. Here are ways to save money by not taking the easy way.

ATM Fees - It may be easier to grab some cash at the closest ATM, but it could cost you. Make sure you plan ahead and hit up the ATMs that won’t charge you a fee for taking out your own money.

Valet Parking - Those five-inch heels seem like a good idea until you can’t find a parking spot. Circle around the block one more time and avoid the cost of valet parking. Although some restaurants offer complimentary valet, you still have to tip the driver which is another cost for convenience.

Mini-Bar Food - You could literally stock a full-sized fridge for the price you pay for food in that miniature one in your hotel room. Avoid the mini bar and you’ll avoid paying up to 500% mark-ups on candy bars and bottled water.

Express Shipping - Wait until the last minute and you’ll pay a premium when it comes to shipping. There’s no way to get a deal on express or overnight shipping methods. So plan ahead and avoid this penalty for procrastination.

Bottled Water - Whether you’re buying it at a restaurant or a grocery store, bottled water can be a pricey drink when you could be getting it for free. Most municipalities have strict standards when it comes to tap water, making it just as safe as the stuff you pay for.

Pre-Made Food - Ready-made cake mixes, bagged lettuce, and jarred salsa are just a few examples of pre-made food that comes at a higher price. Check out this easy recipe for making your own cake mix. Buy a head of lettuce and chop it up. Pull out your food processor and whip up some fresh salsa. You may be surprised at how easy it is to do it yourself and at how much money you’ll save when you’re not paying for convenience.

By Alison Storm

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