No matter how often you promise yourself to save a little each month, expenses pile up and you end up with an empty wallet – or, even worse, an overdrawn credit card – at the end of the each month. Big savings come from little purchases, and, since there are things that you have to purchase often, it’s best to focus on getting the best value money can buy.
1.Buy only what you need, but…
It’s important to learn the difference between want and need, and to avoid the peer pressure to own something, as well as the persuasion of advertising and marketing techniques. Sometimes it feels as if the whole world is hard at work, trying to convince you that you need more things, when, in fact, you may just want them.
However, do your best to avoid postponing important purchases up to the point when they become an emergency. If you absolutely must buy an object today, you will end up paying whatever price the first seller charges – so think ahead, and buy before things become urgent.
2. Always shop with a list
There are so many products, so many isles, and so many shelves, it’s impossible to avoid all temptations and go home strictly with what you need. Always plan your purchases before leaving home, and stick to the list. Also, avoid going grocery shopping when you’re hungry: you’ll just end up with a lot of pretzels, biscuits, and chips, instead of real food.
3. Don’t buy anything
Here’s a radical idea: how about not spending any money at all? Of course, that won’t work for long. Plan your shopping in advance, decide what to buy, and when to buy it. Then, mark the days when you have no shopping planned, and try to not spend any money at all for 24 hours. (This can also save a bit on fuel, since you won’t travel to the market quite as often as before.
4. Learn a new skill
There are a lot of money-saving skills that you can improve: cooking, sewing, knitting, basic home repairs, woodworking, and so on. Focus on those things that you actually enjoy doing, otherwise they will end up being more chores that you dread. Remember that time is money, so it’s important to develop those skills in order to become as efficient as possible. Sure, you will save some money if you wash and iron your clothes at home, instead of taking them to the dry cleaner, but, if you spend 6-7 hours a week doing just that, you may be better off taking a part-time job.
5. Some things are free (or almost)
There are plenty of freebies around, if you look hard enough. Many physicians, for example, offer samples for certain treatments, if you ask them to. When you buy a new computer, check for open-source applications before buying anything; unless you need something very specialized, you can almost always find a free version online. Also, if you’re looking for entertainment, there are plenty of public domain books to download, and many free games to play online. Granted, they’re not as good as the paid ones – but they can still keep your kids occupied for a long time.