My kids are all old enough to be out of the sippy cup stage, but there are still times when we are out running errands and they ask for something to drink. Rather than stopping at the gas station to get a sugary soda for a buck, I have started carrying bottles of water in my car. I can pick up a case of 24 store brand bottles of water for about $3.00, which comes out to less than $0.13 a bottle. I just throw them in the console in the front of our van, and I can pull them out and pass them around as needed. It’s a quick, inexpensive way to have a drink on hand, and eliminates the need to stop at the gas station and get a drink. And chips. And candy. And all the other things I tend to impulse buy when I’m walking up to the register.
Of course, if you are really organized, you could purchase some water bottles at the dollar store and fill them up before heading out, which would be even cheaper. I have found that once I started carrying water with us, my kids are much less apt to ask for a drink, as they really aren’t thirsty, they just want a treat from the gas station.
Another great way to cut back on impulse spending while running errands is to keep some crackers or fruit snacks with you. If I’m going grocery shopping before lunch time, it’s an easy way to keep the kids from “starving’” without breaking my budget. Planning ahead is always a great idea, it’s just actually doing it that can be a challenge.
Do you find yourself stopping to purchase drinks and snacks for your kids while you are out and about? How much money could you save each month if you just planned ahead and brought some along instead?