So there’s a commercial playing on TV…..for a bank….advertising a “savings plan” where you round-up your purchases to the next dollar, and the extra pennies go into your savings account. They claim it’s the “easy” way to increase your savings.

The funny part is that it shows a woman at a convenience store with two kids. They are purchasing bottled drinks and snacks. And she’s so proud and happy that she’s building up her savings by having the total purchase amount rounded up to the next dollar.

And I’m thinking…. if you are trying to save money, why are you shopping at a convenience store?  Someone stopping at a convenience store is NOT trying to save money. EVER.  At a minimum, 3 drinks at a convenience store and 3 snacks = $9.00.  Instead, this woman could save a lot of money by running into the grocery store, picking up a packet of Kool-Aid for $0.10 and buying an entire box of crackers.  Kool-aid not nutritious enough for you?  Throw the kids a Flintstone vitamin to go along with it then.

My point is she could spend less than $3.00 and have enough leftovers for multiple snack times!  

Last summer, Trevor had a full day baseball tournament and there wasn’t enough time between the games to leave, and we were going to be there from 9am to 3pm (possibly later). I didn’t plan ahead and make a lunch, nor did I plan enough time in the morning to put something together.  That morning I was scrambling for food ideas- things high in protein that would keep us from getting too hungry. I decided we’d swing by Albertson’s on the way there and just pick up a few items to hold us over. I picked up a big bag of Trail Mix, a bag of Jerky, a box of crackers, some individual cheese sticks and each kid picked out a Fuze Juice. OMG. That bill was over $24.00. For SNACKS. Never again.

After that experience, I started making my own trail-mix using ingredients from Winco’s bulk foods department: granola, craisins, sunflower seeds, mixed nuts, mini M&M’s, and chocolate covered raisins. I can fill a gallon container for under $10.00. We always have some ready to take with us for roadtrips, etc.

Fuze drinks? Propel Water? Forget it….. drink plain water. Even during sports season, I don’t buy my kids Gatorade. I don’t even buy the Kirkland brand sports drinks. Instead, I buy the big container of Gatorade powder from Costco and we mix our own sports drink.   Saves a TON of money that way. We drink an entire summer’s worth of Gatorade for under $3.00. How much did you pay for yours?  

Nickels and dimes.  If you don’t step back and look at how you spend your money, you don’t realize where all that money goes. Sure it’s only a buck here, a couple bucks there….but it ALL adds up. 

Moral of my story…..if you are trying to save your pennies….DON’T fall into the snack trap at a convenience store!