Money Saving Tips for Consumers


This ConsumerGram is the first in a series of three reports that discuss small steps that can add up to thousands of dollars in savings for consumers.  In this ConsumerGram, we discusses how purchasing in bulk, bundling and using tap water instead of bottled water can save consumers money. 



Buy in Bulk

Many consumers are aware of comparative shopping, using coupons, watching for sales and buying generic and house brands as a way to stretch your dollars.  However, there are a number of other ways that consumers can save big without sacrificing quality or choice.  Assuming you use a product frequently, it may make sense to buy the product in bulk.  As an example, we purchased a popular 32 ounce household cleaner for $3.50, but we also found the same product’s 128 ounce refill size with a 32 ounce spray bottle for about $7.00.  In other words, by doubling the amount spent, we managed to buy five (5) times the volume (160 ounces) of the cleaner, effectively receiving a 60% discount on our purchase.  Similarly, we found a hand soap dispenser priced at the same price as its much larger refill, effectively permitting a 50% savings for consumers.  Keep in mind that, in order to save, you should focus on items that you use frequently.


Bundling Can Save Too

Another way to bulk purchase is to group your purchase with other purchases from the same vendor.  For instance, if you normally buy telephone, Internet and cable TV services, consider buying them from the same provider.  With cable TV competition beginning to emerge in many markets, reports of savings from competition range from 20-30%.  However, many of these competitors offer bundled prices for broadband Internet, telephone (including unlimited long distance calling) and cable TV services, and reports find consumer savings from 30% to as high as 50%.  In other words, consumers could save about $3,000 in the next five years, rather than buying these services separately.


However, consumers need to be careful too.  First, bundled services are often tied to annual contracts, which mean that you need to make sure that your savings are fixed over the contract period.  Avoid those 3-month deals that increase to higher rates, unless you see material savings from the longer term price.  Also, if you are satisfied with your current provider, but are considering switching in order to take advantage of low bundled prices, keep in mind that providers often match or beat offers.  Play one side against the other to find the best deal. 


Use Tap Water Instead of Bottled Water

Tap water is as safe to drink as bottled water, and using tap water can save consumers a significant amount of money.  News reports recently uncovered the fact that many bottled water companies are simply filtering plain tap water.  If you want filtered water, there are cost-effective ways to do this and avoid higher priced bottled water   If a consumer can save at least 25 cents per day by using tap water rather than bottled water, that little savings can add up to $450 over the next five years.  Also, consider the environmental costs that can be avoided by not purchasing plastic bottles.



In this ConsumerGram, we highlight a few simple ways that consumers can save by buying in bulk and bundling, as well as buying tap water instead of bottled water.  And, we show that the savings can add up to thousands of dollars per year without sacrificing quality.


In our next report, we will discuss how consumers can save on focusing on “total costs.”