Money saving tips to help post holiday expenses

Savings in food, healthcare, other areas available

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you're expecting some larger than usual bills in the mail to pay for the holiday season, there are ways to help get that budget back in order for the new year.

We all have to eat.

For many of us, it can be a major expense.

The 41 Action News Investigators spoke to people at Country Club Plaza to get their takes.

"I think you hit the holidays and you're either eating out or going to parties or having people over," said Bruce Hayes.

"I don't eat much processed food, so that helps. I kind of make everything from scratch," said Elizabeth Wesley.

"I do a lot of home cooking. That saves me a lot of money instead of going out," said Shawn Mitchell.

Consumer Reports recommends several ways to save money at the grocery store.

One way is to seek out store brands. They tend to be less expensive than name brand products.

A second way is to buy in bulk.

"Anything in bulk, tempura, cauliflower, everything like that," Mitchell said.

To cut or get rid of ATM fees, Consumer Reports recommends getting cash with your debit card at grocery stores.

Also, sign up for store apps to get coupons.

"I'm lazy, I go to the nearest place," Hayes said.

"I've definitely gone back to my like regular budgeting I kind of let slip while I was buying Christmas gifts," said Arinna Hoffine.

"I normally set a goal of what I want to do and then I kind of go from there," said Korachi Silapavitakuk.

If the harsh winter has you a little under the weather, Consumer Reports also says there are ways to save money on healthcare.

Recommendations include shopping around for doctors and treatments.

Also, ask a doctor how much any prescribed medicine costs to see if there's a cheaper alternative.

GoodRx can find the lowest prices for prescriptions and discounts.

Consumer Reports also suggests setting up a health savings or flexible spending account to cover medical expense deductibles.

The magazine also notes many insurance plans cover preventative healthcare like checkups for free.

"I'm really bad at saving money. I'm a graduate student so I don't make very much of it," Wesley said.

But part of whatever money people make goes to taxes.

Consumer Reports recommends doing your own taxes if possible to save money. Online services tend to be cheaper than accountants.

"Just trying to recover from the carnage," Hayes said referring to the holiday spending season.

In addition to saving money, Consumer Reports says you can potentially find money.

Missingmoney.com and the federal government's website for unclaimed money are two websites where you can find money owed to you for things like life insurance, veterans benefits and pensions from defunct companies.

Consumer Reports recommends buying more expensive organic foods for fruits and vegetables to avoid pesticides. In particular, the magazine recommends buying organic carrots, cranberries, green beans, strawberries, tangerines, hot peppers, sweet peppers and sweet potatoes.

To store that food, Consumer Reports recommends keeping some open space in your refrigerator. That way, air can circulate more freely and with less energy used to keep it cool.

Another big expense for many families is cars.

Consumer Reports recommends taking a second look at your car insurance. Comparison shopping every few years can save money on premiums.

The Zebra can help you look at estimates from potentially dozens of companies.

If you don't have a deductible for your collision insurance, Consumer Reports found raising it to $500 can help save the average two-car family $500 off the annual premium.

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