Guest post by Jack Reed
The need for being innovative and coming up with new ideas to save your hard earned cash has hit an all time high today. With a large number of Americans resorting to debt settlement to settle their debt woes, many are realizing the importance of frugal living and taking advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. Spending less than you earn helps you to meet all your financial goals and what’s more, it keeps you away from debts!
Perhaps the greatest urge to spend money develops when one goes for shopping. With credit cards in wide use today, the impulse to splurge money while shopping is on the rise. Therefore, keeping some smart tips in mind while you go out to shop can help you save your hard earned dollars. Keep the following points in mind the next time you step out to shop:
1)Plan: This is very important. Decide what you really need to buy. Often, you go to a departmental store and end up purchasing things that you do not really require. Say you just go for an outing to a mall with your friends where a $200 jean strikes your fancy and you end up buying it. Thus chalking out a plan of what you really need to buy can save you a lot of money.
2)Control impulse purchases: Since impulse purchases can cause you to spend much, give time to yourself. You might come across an item which you ‘think’ you need. The best way then is to give time to yourself. Often after a day or two, you give up the idea of buying that item. It means you never really required it, thus this can be a good way to control your unnecessary expenses.
3)Make use of coupons: Coupon inserts can be found in most Sunday newspapers. Start collecting coupons; it really begins to pay off after a month or so. At the end of one month, a couponer should be able to take advantage of several excellent deals at multiple stores every week.
4)Use secondhand items: Look out for thrift stores and consignment shops. You can save hundreds of dollars over the years by purchasing used items such as different kinds of furniture, books etc. from such stores.
5)Buying online: You can google and find out where in the local market you can find the products you are looking for. Local markets and online auction sites are a good source where you can get things at a cheaper rate. The internet is also an easy way to learn and compare prices before you decide to spend your money.
6)Avoid brands: You do not want to pay for the brand but for the item that you require. Why pay a high price for something when you can get the same thing at a much cheaper rate by going generic? Don’t be brand conscious. This can really help you get steep discounts in your purchases.
7)Stop keeping up with the Joneses: Many people try to purchase brands even if they cannot afford it. This provides them an ego boost. If your neighbor is well off financially, you might go buy something expensive to escape feeling inferior! You should get rid of this mindset right away. Finding ways to cut your expenses is a sign of financial wisdom and paves your path for a better tomorrow.
8)Do not carry credit cards: This is a complete no-no! Carrying credit cards while shopping can tempt you for impulse buys. Often, the feel of a credit card is as if it is not real money. That feeling makes it easy to spend too much, as the credit card company pays for your purchases.
It is unwise to consider frugal living as a financial handcuff. Frugal shopping is not about making sacrifices or feeling deprived. On the contrary, it is smart shopping! When you plan to weed out unnecessary expenditure, you develop a sense of financial discipline. So get geared up and start to paint a better financial picture of yourself!
Jack Reed is a financial writer with Oak View Law Group. He offers advice to people on various debt related issues. He can be contacted at jackrd3[@]gmail(dot)com