6 Purchases That Will Save You Money Later

Colorful Cloth Napkins
By 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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"Let me add some:
1) Get GasBuddy for your mobile phone. It will save you tons of money in the long run as you will never overpay for gas.
2) Get car insurance from Insurance Panda. I found mind there for $25/month.
3) Try Aereo for TV and Netflix for movies. This will cost you about $20/month and is much better than pricey cable TV from places like Time Warner."

Nice tips, thomas! But netflix gets kind of boring after a while, there are much better options!!

March 15 2014 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just make sure you .."disinfect" your water bottle regularly...nuf said.....

March 13 2014 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Articles such as this one really are worthless ... it's like Obama lying to the public saying 17Trillion DEBT is "stimulating the US economy". Most Americans seem to be ignorant fools financially, economically, deficient in any math abilities, credit-card slaves, cell phone slaves, tax slaves (or welfare program slaves), car payment slaves, mortgage and re-fi slaves, all voluntarily. Foreign powers don't need to fire a shot ... just like Rome and many other major civilizations down through history, USA is flushing itself down the toilet.

March 13 2014 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Do I sense a "shopaholic"? Non of your suggestions is a "true" money saver. Only frivolous spending on WANTS......not NEEDS. Truly saving money is all about saving for the things you NEED. And really, if you can't wait the 7-10 days for an Amazon package to arrive without having to have it rushed to your house.....then you truly have a shopping addiction.

March 13 2014 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Amazon Prime just went to $99 per year. Update the artical

March 13 2014 at 10:40 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Is this really an article about things that will save you money or is it an article about "membership" services?

March 13 2014 at 10:27 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

On shoes, the big mistake many people (i.e., me) make is that if they find a perfect pair and it feels a bit snug--and the next size is not available--they buy the snug one with the thought that "It will loosen up with use." Well, it won't loosen up, and soon your feet will refuse to wear those shoes and they'll be sitting in the closet waiting for the rare occurence of a sit-down party where you can show them but not have to walk around.

My modus operandi for buying any shoes is, if they feel just a bit too snug, ask to try on the next larger size. That ALWAYS feels much better, so buy those. If they don';t have the next size up to try, don't buy them.

March 13 2014 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to thosholzel's comment

A spray is available at the store to stretch the shoes. Spray inside the shoes and put them on. They will stretch to your feet and be comfortable. The can of spray lasts a long time.

March 13 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shirley.butterfield's comment

That spray is just rubbing alcohol and additives - and both it and just the rubbing alcohol are wonderful on *leather*. They do nothing on plastic shoes.

March 13 2014 at 1:19 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Only an idiot would buy shoes that were to small because the store did not have the correct size. Go to a different store!

March 13 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OK. How about: 1. A Power of Attorney in case you become incapacitated?
2. A Will especially if you have feuduing or jealous reltives?
3. A trust and financial plan for your security and to protect your assets?
and 3. a Medical Care Proxy? If you meed medical care?
Why is it that all we can think of are things that are tangible and for the present?

March 13 2014 at 9:56 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Anytime you use tools, equipment, or technology you will save. At first it took a hundred people to cultivate, plant, and harvest an acre of wheat. Now with machines, we do it in minutes with one guy covering hundreds of acres. Machines can do things better and faster than people. If you apply this to your needs, you'll save big time. A reusable water bottle is a simple machine. Kitchen equipment will save you big time over eating out. Cell phones, mapquest, robotic vaccuum cleaners, automatic everything will save you plenty regardless of the plan.
You could drive all over town wasting gas and time looking for someything, or simply look it up online for 2 cents worth of electricity. You can't have too much technology - it saves you gobbs of money.

March 13 2014 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The most cost saving investment I recently made was last year when I had a tankless on-demand water heater installed, cut my hot water cost in half. Also doubling the insulation in my attic five years ago saves about 20% on my heating/AC bill each year, recouped the $600 investment the first year. I don't use a cell phone, a land line is sufficient... I have a Trackphone but it's only for an emergency... so far in two years I used it once to call for a ride home from the ER... I've never had a need to chit chat when away from home. .. running up huge cell phone bills with constant chattering is definitely indicative of a mental illness. Another simple way to save is to engage brain prior to opening fridge., I know so many families where eveyone opens the fridge and just stands there staring into it fo r afull minute and then leaves taking nothing out or putting anything in... another mental illness... I've seen someone chatting on a cell phone for a full ten minutes while staring into their open fridge, that is sick.

March 13 2014 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to SHELDON's comment

Shelly, install a curtain on your lower fridge shelves.

March 13 2014 at 8:43 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

A no contract cellphone pays one price for unlimited calling and texting. The bill is paid automatically. With family across several states and an old vehicle, peace of mind is important. In an emergency, counting minutes is the last thing on my mind.

March 13 2014 at 12:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply