Cost of Convenience

When I shopped for a family of 5, I saved $2,500 a year or more by pitching the habit of convenience shopping.

What is the cost of convenience shopping for you?

When I shopped for a family of 5, I started saving $2,500 a year or more by making one change to my shopping routine. The new routine wasn’t as convenient as the old routine, but it was worth it for me to save $2,500 a year. I found far better uses for the money.

Stopping the 1-Stop Shopping Routine

In the beginning, I was a believer in 1-stop shopping because it was convenient. One day a week, I went shopping to get the bulk of what our family needed. I chose one big box store that had all the “favorite stuff” for everybody in our family, which included everything from cereal and treats to school supplies.

One day, I took the time to go through flyers. There was another store offering specials on the products that were family favorites. I went to that store thinking I’d save $20-$30, but I discovered the store had deals on other family favorites too. I shaved $50 off my grocery bill that week.

This experience led to a new routine. I went through flyers to see what store offered specials on our favorite foods. I went to the store that offered the biggest savings on the products we wanted or needed. While there, I looked for other items on the shopping list. Sometimes other family favorites were on sale too and sometimes they weren’t. The kids didn’t complain as much since I was getting the foods they liked the most and I liked the part about saving money. I have to admit that I also liked the part about the kids not whining so much since I was getting more of the things they liked.

I sometimes had to stop at one or two other stores because the first one didn’t have everything we needed. When I had to stop at another store, it would add 1/2 hour to the trip, but it was worth it for me to save $2,500 a year.

I referred to my routine as “doing the strip”.

Fast Food

Do a regular review of habits to see if spending on fast food is increasing.

Skip the Dishes, DoorDash, coffee shops, store delis and fast food restaurants are definitely convenient. However, if you are relying on the fast food industry for meals and are living pay to pay, taking a look at fast food habits is a good place to start when the goal is to save money.

Don’t forget to include the quick stop at a corner store to pick up treats for a party. Products at corner stores are priced for the convenience they offer.

The cost of convenience shopping when it comes to fast food often surprises people. The first response may be a negative one. However, if you are desperately looking for ways to save money, then you have found what you are looking for.

Contract Renewals

There are a number of services that typically renew once a year. In some cases, a contract may be for two or three years.

  • home and auto insurance
  • phone, internet, and cable
  • home and yard maintenance
  • home security

If you are loyal to one service provider, it is worth a call to make sure you aren’t paying for options that you have no use for. Also, if you have been adding services over the years, there may be opportunities for bundling services.

When you are willing to switch service providers to save money, set a reminder for calling around to get pricing information from different service providers.

It definitely takes time to look into the rates offered by different service providers, which is why many people are willing to let contracts auto-renew. In this case, time is money.

Time of Use Pricing

Hydro is a great example of a service that you can save a lot of money on if you are willing to do things in a way that is less convenient. Here is a link to TOU pricing for customers of Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro.

The cost of using hydro during on-peak hours is more than double the cost of using hydro during off-peak hours.

On-Line Shopping

On-line shopping is convenient, but it leads to more impulse buying and achieving instant gratification. Both are toxic when it comes to saving money.

Impulse buying and achieving instant gratification often lead to buyer’s regret. If you suffer from buyer’s regret and it’s linked to on-line shopping, it’s a sure sign on-line shopping habits need to change.

On-line Shopping
On-line Shopping and Convenience Shopping

In addition, on-line shopping increases exposure to data breaches. Dealing with credit card companies and credit reports because of a data breach is anything but convenient. Plus, depending on the nature of the breach, there’s no guarantee that the money that was lost will be recovered.

Buy in Bulk When the Price is Right

Buying in bulk isn’t convenient. It takes more time to load groceries into the car and it takes more time to get them into your home and into cupboards. It might even be necessary to reorganize cupboards and closets to fit everything in. However, the bigger the family, the bigger the savings when it comes to buying in bulk when the price is right.

A Cost of Convenience Fact Finding Mission

When it comes to budgeting, it’s important to know how you are spending your money and what you are spending it on.

Individually, each of the above examples of convenience shopping may seem insignificant. Collectively, making a change from shopping for convenience to shopping for savings can have a huge impact.

For a month, hold onto receipts for purchases involving convenience shopping, including receipts for impulse purchases. At the end of the month, ask the following questions:

  • How many purchases were made out of convenience and what is the total amount of the purchases?
  • For fast food items, how much would have been spent on meals made at home?
  • How much money was spent on impulse purchases?
  • Were there opportunities to buy in bulk that would have left you with more cash in your pocket?
  • Were there any surprises?

In addition, make some phone calls for contracts that are coming up for renewal. See what opportunities exist for saving money.

You may see opportunities for change that seem small and insignificant, but even incremental changes can have a huge payoff.

Create a budget file using our web browser app to tag planned spending that’s based on convenience shopping. Create a second file to see what the budget would look like if you shop to save money rather than shop for convenience.

Final Tidbit

I consider the market for hard-cooked eggs to be an extreme example of shopping for convenience. Hard-cooked eggs started being sold in stores as the result of people not knowing how to properly hard cook an egg. It’s really quite simple and it’s not necessary to stand over the stove the whole time the eggs are cooking.

Whether you buy hard-cooked eggs because you aren’t sure how to do a hard-cooked egg or whether you are looking for tips for doing the perfect hard-cooked egg, here is a helpful link.

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