Saving money requires some ingenuity and innovation. Shrewd spending habits take time to acquire, but they can be accomplished with practice. Believe it or not, some of the richest people have the strictest budgets. That is one of the ways they got to be rich. They learned self-discipline and how to cut corners.
Work on a Budget
The only way you will ever get ahead of the game is to know exactly how much money you really have to spend. Housing, utilities, taxes and other necessities are essentials for which you must plan. Go over your bills and see what you generally average on a monthly basis. See where you can cut back. The amount you spend on utilities can be lowered by shutting off lights, running efficient appliances and light bulbs. Installing high-efficiency windows, turning down the thermostat in the winter and winterizing your home will also save you money. Make a list of the areas where you can make these improvements. Keep track of what you are spending for your utilities and see where you can trim your expenses.
Figure out all of your expenses and make a weekly budget. Stick to the budget as closely as you can. Set a reasonable amount that is workable and don’t exceed it when you go out shopping. Whenever possible, use cash not credit. Monthly interest rates will eat up whatever you may have saved when you go on a shopping spree financed by a credit card.
There is a Difference Between Needs and Wants
Impulse spending is probably one of the biggest reasons people spend too much when they go to the store. Grocery shopping when you are hungry is also another big no-no. Set a food budget and look for the deals. Buy in bulk when you can and clip coupons. Don’t buy anything that you do not need. Stock up on the necessities you will use through the year. Buy them when they are on sale. Try to save 50% on sale items if you can. Anything at or above 50% is considered an excellent deal.
Look through your pantry and freezer to see what you absolutely need in your larder. See what clothes you have and what clothes need to be replaced. Look for coupons on clothing items. Make a list and don’t deviate from that. Shop for Christmas gifts ahead of time. Buy gifts right after Christmas for next year’s giving. You will be amazed at how much you will save.
Don’t Be Afraid of Thrift Stores
Some of the neatest clothes, accessories and other items can be found at a thrift store. Yes, these are usually used items. You would be amazed how many barely used clothes are donated to a thrift store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Sometimes, overstock items from local stores are donated. This merchandise is brand new and priced way below normal retail.
Shop the local garage sales. These are fun ways to get to know your neighbors while saving big bucks! If you have never done it, you will be amazed at the clothes, toys and collectibles you can find at a garage sale. These are virtual treasure troves, with prices that will make you salivate. Sometimes you even find antiques you can make money on by reselling them at a better price.
Coupons are a Saving Grace
Newspaper, magazine and Internet coupon clippings are the lifeblood of a frugal shopper. You will find a wealth of them in your local Sunday paper. Many times they are delivered in mailers by the postal service. If there is a product brand you like, check out the company website for the newest promotions and coupons. Look for websites that distribute printable coupons. Print them and take them with you. One good resource is CouponClaim.com. They offer coupons for groceries, clothing, jewelry, home improvement, electronics and even travel from major companies and retailers.
It will take time to play the discount game. With practice you will learn all the tricks of the trade and become a very wise and thrifty shopper. You will become an expert coupon clipper and amaze yourself on how much you really have saved. Good luck and happy shopping!
About The Writer:
Cynthia Waverly works as a writer for several online websites. She embraces a frugal lifestyle of sack lunches, recycled Tupperware, and daily coupon clippings. She enjoys saving money for her and her family.