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Ways To Save Money

16 October 2009 No Comment

Women & Finances is a new series written by a 20-something about her financial journey. Her columns will be appearing weekly here at 20smoney.com. You can read her other articles by visiting the Women & Finances category.

Start holiday shopping now! Instead of running out last minute and spending top dollar for whatever you can find with time pressure to buy, keep the people you will be buying for in mind as early as right now. If you happen to stumble upon a great deal that reminds you of a family member, snatch it up and check off that person from your Holiday list and then hit up the dollar store for wrapping paper. Another great way to keep the January credit card statement from overwhelming you is to talk to siblings and friends who you will be exchanging gifts with about using a mutual spending limit. This makes gift buying easier on everyone’s wallet and will be much appreciated!

To steal a tip from food dieters, think of saving money in terms of  short term goals. Short term goals are easier to stick to because you will avoid the feeling of deprivation and see saving as more of an achieveable challenge.  When you feel deprived you will spend, which leads to a cycle of breaking the budget because you feel it is a hopeless cause. Think of all of the ways you can save for just one week. Just make it through one week without a trip to Starbucks, an expensive lunch and takeout for dinner. Brew your own coffee this week. Pack a sandwich or can of soup or hit up a dollar menu for lunch. Decide to cook dinner at home all week and use ingredients from the freezer and the pantry that you forgot you had so that you don’t need to spend a lot of money at the grocery store. Limit your groceries this week to lunch meat, bread and fresh produce. Each week, evaluate how well you stuck to your goal and try harder the next week!  This will leave room in your budget for the occasional splurge without the guilt and mounting credit statement.

This tip came from a reader: if you see something you really want to buy, wait at least a week. If you are still thinking about this item the next time you are shopping, then maybe it is worth it. But all too often we impulse buy and then cast that item or article of clothing that we just couldn’t live without aside and forget about it, never to be worn again. The newness of something wears off quickly leaving you with nothing special to show for mounting debt that you will acrue interest on. Impulsive shopping is the problem. Impulse buys only give a temporary high that’s gone long before you receive your credit card statement.  So stick to a waiting period and think over your purchases, making sure it’s not an impulsive purchase.

Don’t buy expensive sunglasses.  They are one of the biggest rip offs and brand name sucker jobs. You are the only one that notices how cool you look in them.  Find a pair that flatter your face from a discount store. The $300 glasses break and get lost just as easily as the cheap ones from Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  Expensive sunglasses are made of plastic in the same Chinese factories as the cheap ones.  Don’t be a sucker.

Ask yourself if you would like the clothing item that you are tempted to buy if you didn’t know it was a popular or expensive brand. Pretend that you see this clothing item at Kmart and you don’t know the brand name. Would you still like it? Or is the brand power and marketing selling you on something that is truly not that flattering or attractive and certainly not worth the pretty penny it would cost?  I have overspent on many clothing items that allured me at the store because of brand or a fleeting fad (like those jumpers this summer) but that I NEVER wear.  Analyze why you like something and make sure it is because it looks great on you or walk away.

I hope this quick list of ways to save money will help you keep a little more cash in your pocket.  Also, these ideas might help you think of other ways to save money!

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  • april said:

    One thing that I have noticed over the years is that it seems like I'm more likely to lose an expensive pair of gloves or sunglasses, rather than an ugly cheap pair. When I started college my mom bought me three pairs of gloves, one nice pair that cost around $14 and the other two for $5. I lost one of the gloves from the nice pair the first month of winter, while I somehow managed to keep the other two pairs intact for the next four years.