An interesting thing happened to me last week. As a (very) belated Christmas gift, my father gave me a $100 coupon for the local department store. But he gave it to me on one proviso: that I buy something I wanted, rather than something I needed. In other words, clothes for work or kitchen equipment were out. Fun was the order of the day.
I headed out shopping, coupon in hand, and after about an hour, I hadn’t found anything that I really wanted. I only wanted to buy something worthwhile, not something frivolous that would soon sit around taking up space. When I read Philip Brewer’s Needs, Wants and Not Even Wants post I could recognize that I’ve got beyond that place where I wanted to buy something just because someone else has one, or because it satisfied some short-term want. I’ve become frugal!
I guess that’s a good thing, as I’ve got a mortgage to pay off and a retirement fund to contribute to. I’ve lost the ability to go and spend money frivolously, and that means I’m still carrying around that $100 coupon. I might even end up spending it on something I need instead – just don’t tell my father.
With the economy so bad, cutting expenses can help you get by for the time being. But how are you going to save money? One of the best and most used ways of doing so is shopping with coupons in hand. In other words, do your best to only buy items that you have a coupon for. This may not save you a lot on each individual purchase, but by the end of your trip to the store you will realize just how much money you have kept in your pocket.
Using coupons at the grocery store is a great way to test out this savings method. You can find plenty of coupons by scouring your local newspaper, or better yet printing them off the internet. Either way, you should consider using every coupon that you come across.
Of course, you should not stop at using coupons on groceries. Many other retailers, such as clothing, electronic, and hard stores also make coupons available to customers.
All in all, you can let coupons dictate where you shop as well as what you buy. This will allow you to save money, while also trying new stores and products that you may have never thought about using in the past.
If you shop with coupons you will save money; there is no two ways about it!
Did you know that one of the simplest ways to save money is by changing the way you buy food? Eating for less need not mean a sacrifice in taste or variety. In fact, you may quickly discover that paying more attention to the amount of money you spend on groceries translates into more attention to the foods you choose and how you prepare them. Drawing inspiration from “tips and tricks to eat healthy on a budget“, here are a few hints to get you started:
- Pack a lunch instead of buying food during the day. Ready-made food is often expensive and unhealthy. Stick to eating what you know is good for you.
- Buy local whenever possible. Enjoying fresh and healthy food from local producers isn’t as expensive as you might expect.
- Prepare a specific shopping list before you head out to do your food shopping and never shop on an empty stomach. This will help you avoid the impulse purchases that are based more on your poor memory or hungry stomach than any real need you might have for a product.
- Make some thrifty friends and find out what they do to save money on food and where they shop. If you have coworkers with lots of kids, ask them where they shop for food. A person accustomed to feeding lots of people in one house typically knows where to shop for the best food deals!Â
If you’re trying to cut your grocery bills then you might benefit from reading this list of “cash trap” items – stuff that we are commonly buying these days, but we can definitely do away with. Apparently grocery bills make up about 30% of the average American’s monthly budget so saving money at the checkout is going to help with your financial situation. Check whether you really need to buy these things:
- Bottled water – in many places, the water from your tap is just as healthy (and sometimes healthier!) – and it is cheaper to use a filter to change the taste than buy it all bottled.
- Tomato pasta sauces – instead, buy a tin of tomatoes and throw in your own herbs and spices, and it will come out at less than half the price.
- Spice mixes – avoid “barbecue spices” or “Spanish spices” or whatever kind of mixes you see – check what the main ingredients are and they’re likely to be spices already sitting on your own kitchen shelf, and you can mix your own.
- Energy bars – in most cases these aren’t much healthier than chocolate bars, and they’re incredibly expensive. Take a piece of fruit instead.
- Bagged salad – yes, it’s quick and easy, but how long does it really take to wash a few lettuce leaves? Don’t pay someone else to do that unless you’ve got money to burn.
Is online shopping something that you think about night and day? If you enjoy buying online you probably know that you are saving a lot of money. And while this is a good thing you should also know that staying safe is important as well. After all, saving money does not do you any good if you are jeopardizing your personal and/or financial information.
Here are a couple of quick tips that will ensure your safety:
1. Donâ€™t use a computer that you are not familiar with. If spyware is installed you could have your information stolen in no time at all. You should only shop online from a computer that you trust; such as the one in your home.
2. No matter how much savings you are being promised you donâ€™t want to buy from a store that you donâ€™t trust. Stick to online outlets that are well known, and take security seriously.
These two tips, although quite basic, will help to keep you safe while shopping online. It is great to save money by using the internet, but donâ€™t give up your safety along the way; it is not worth the tradeoff.
We probably shouldn’t be surprised to hear that in tough times, the supermarket chains we like to shop at are having it tough too, and along with food manufacturers they have a few sneaky ways of bumping up prices that they hope we won’t notice. To make sure you don’t spend too much extra on groceries, keep an eye out for some of these tricks:
- Less product, same price: Keep an eye on regular purchases to check if the manufacturers are reducing quantities – that might make another brand better value for you
- Increasing prices that you won’t notice: A common trick is for supermarkets to increase prices on the products you buy infrequently, because you probably won’t remember how much you paid last time. Pay attention!
- Refusing coupons: Some stores try to reject coupons that customers use, especially website coupons. Check their policy (for example, how many coupons you can use per day) and know the facts if they try to reject your coupons.
- Psyching you out: The less people are spending, the more supermarkets will focus on psychological tricks to get you to spend more. As an example, research shows customers tend to walk on the right as they move down the aisles but if you shop “counterclockwise” you’ll spend, on average, less than a typical right-hand-side walking shopper! The trick to beating this is simply to have a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything on impulse.
No matter what you are shopping for, within reason, you can save money by first turning to the internet. There are tens of thousands of items for sale online, and most of them can be had at a lower price than you would find in a local store. While some people are pros at shopping online, others are still in the process of learning more. Instead of procrastinating why not turn to the internet for your next purchase? This will give you the chance to see how much money you can save and what the process entails.
There are many ways to save money by shopping online, and one of the best is known as comparison shopping. For instance, take a consumer who is in the market for a new computer. If you shop at one local store you will have to pay the price on the tag while not knowing if there is a better deal out there. But guess what? With the internet you can quickly shop and compare the same computer from many different stores. This will ensure that you get the lowest possible price.
There is no doubt that shopping online can save you time and money. Why shop locally when you can save online?
Do you always find yourself in credit card debt no matter what you do? Simply put, some people cannot stay away from their plastic. While this is a common problem it does not mean that you have to let it affect you. One of the best things you can do when heading to the store is to leave your credit card at home and only carry cash and/or your debit card. Simply put, if you donâ€™t have your credit card you cannot use it; no matter how badly you want to make a purchase.
When you shop with cash or your debit card you will be forced to stick to a budget. For instance, if you only have $100 in cash in your wallet you will not be able to spend more; this is just the way it works. As you can see, by only carrying how much money you can afford to spend you are more or less training yourself to follow your budget. It may not be fun, but dealing with loads of credit card debt isnâ€™t a good time either.
If you are struggling with credit card debt leave your plastic at home and shop with cash. You will be surprised at how much good this does for you and your financial situation!
Do you think it is wrong to treat yourself to a â€śshopping spreeâ€ť every now and again? If you are on a tight budget your answer may be yes. But before you give your final answer keep in mind that you need to have fun and buy stuff for yourself from time to time. This does not mean that you should go nuts and spend tons of money on a regular basis. You need to stay responsible, but at the same time you should not feel bad about treating yourself if you reach your financial goals.
Do you have savings goals in mind for the new year? If so, you should work hard to reach all of them. And when you do there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a few things you have had your eyes on. Again, you donâ€™t want to go overboard but when you reach a goal you deserve to be rewarded.
When you set a reward for reaching a savings goal you are sure to work harder than ever before. For many people, a shopping spree is the best reward there is. Just make sure that your trip to the store does not negate all of your past progress.
You walk into a shop, you see the TV/guitar/outfit of your dreams, and you really, really want to buy it. You definitely have to stop right there and ask yourself the important question – can you afford it? If you’re not sure you should try this list of reasons why you can’t afford something. You can’t afford this “must have” item if:
- You would be using your bank overdraft to buy it
- You would be using a credit card that has a balance on it that you can’t afford to pay off in full at the end of the month
- You would be using money that should be going to your emergency fund or into a retirement plan
- Your job is not secure at the moment – if there are rumors of lay-offs or your industry is experiencing a downturn
- And if the economy is in recession, then maybe you can afford it, but you should really wait and see.
So if any of these conditions apply, think twice before making a purchase. If you’re not sure, then take at least overnight to think about it. If you have to go all the way back to the shop the next day or week you will often find that you don’t really have to have the item after all.