Saving money doesn’t have to be scary. Making small changes to your lifestyle and spending habits can have a huge effect on what’s left in your bank account at the end of the month, or how much has accumulated in your savings account at the end of the year. Here are some tips from What’s Hot! on how to spend your money wisely, so that you’ll have more of it.

Make a budget

In order to spend money wisely you must know how much you have to spend. Track your income and spending by categories such as groceries, eating out, entertainment, travel etc. Once you have an accurate idea of your spending habits, create a budget, setting limits in certain categories and hopefully allowing excess money for savings. If it all sounds like too much work, and Excel spreadsheets aren’t your thing, then let technology do the work for you. Take a look at the numerous budgeting apps available – we’ve even done a helpful overview of some on page 26.

Take advantage of supermarket savings

Groceries can be a large expenditure, especially in Cayman. We may not have a couponing culture here, but there are other ways to save a few pennies at the checkout, all of which adds up to major monthly savings.

Foster’s Food Fair customers can look out for weekly newspaper deal inserts or sign up to receive them by email. Weekend sales occur about twice a month and other savings can be gained from the manager’s special yellow sticker items and temporary price reduction green stickered items, which are often not featured in weekly flyers.
Kirk Market also has weekly newspaper inserts or its online Market Flyer, and customers are offered Kirk Kurrency on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You receive $2.50 for every $50 spent in the supermarket, including the pharmacy, redeemable against your next purchase.

Aside from its newspaper inserts, Hurley’s has a variety of discounts to take advantage of including its Advantage Card program which has reward events throughout the year. Wednesday’s Customer Appreciation Day gives 5 percent off when purchasing between $50-99.99, and 10 percent off $100 or more. Fridays bring double points to those with Advantage Cards.

Local liquor stores also run regular promotions so check their websites or sign up to their email lists to stay in the know.

Ditch brands

In all the island’s grocery stores, taking advantage of generic label items can also save a lot of money. Often, they are the same as their more expensive famous brand counterparts, think tomato ketchup, tinned tomatoes etc., but always check the back of the box or tin to make sure. The same often goes for over-the-counter drugs. Talk to the pharmacist to see if your go-to pain killer or antihistamine has a much cheaper generic version with exactly the same ingredients.

Plan purchases in advance

Nothing blows a budget like an unplanned shop. You head in for one thing and come out having spent $50. Make lists before you head out to the shops, planning your purchases in advance in order to stick to your budget. Pay in cash – credit and debit cards encourage overspending as it doesn’t feel like you’re actually spending anything! If you’re trying to save money, don’t go window shopping or aimlessly browse any stores as you’re setting yourself up for a fall. This is especially a major no-no while your judgement is impaired – think post-happy hour online shopping!!

Make meal plans for the week before making grocery lists, and for extra savings, plan recipes around supermarket deals.

Buy in bulk

If there are items that you use a lot of, and that store well, then buying in bulk may be the way forward. Cost U Less, Priced Right, Progressive and Reflections Food 4 Less can save you a lot of money when it comes to household goods and frozen items. When it comes to alcohol, you may want to investigate buying by the case for nice discounts.

Buy pre-loved

Cayman has quite a few options for buying pre-loved items and thanks to those people moving away, there is a constant stream of secondhand goods available, many in very good condition. This goes for everything from baby bottles to cars. Check out garage sales on the weekends (be prepared to get up very early, professional garage sale buyers are a ruthless bunch and will beat you to the good stuff if you sleep in) or take a look at local listings for sales and residents offloading goods. There are also consignment stores on the island such as The Nook and Carey’s Karma Closet.

Make packed lunches and breakfasts

Spending $10 here and there on coffees, breakfast and lunches adds up very quickly. If you do a quick calculation of how much you spend on eating out over a week you may be unpleasantly surprised. Plan these meals into your grocery list and make them ahead of time. In the long run, it will save you a lot of money, and if you plan right, it will be better for your waistline as well as your wallet.

Happy Hour

You do have to leave some room for fun in your budget, otherwise it won’t be sustainable. When it comes to going out, take advantage of happy hours and other bar drinks deals. Some may even include free food … Rackam’s curry fries anyone?