Saving money is more important than ever during these tough economic times. The cost of housing and even food has gone up, which is why more and more families are living paycheck to paycheck. Many people can’t even survive on their paycheck, which is why it’s good to know how to cut corners and spend less on everyday items. You can’t stop buying food, but you can shop differently so it’s cheaper without sacrificing quality. The trick is knowing what to spend on and what to cut back on. Here are some money saving tips to help you get the most for your dollar.
Watch For Hidden Costs
I know you’ve heard it before but the best way to stretch a dollar is to spend it only when you have to. People spend on things that are completely unnecessary because their convenient and appear to be a bargain. For example, sending clothes out to be washed is a huge waste of money. Yes, it’s nice to not have to wash and fold, but it’s expensive. They put up signs saying ten cents a pound to make you think it’s cheap, but over time it adds up. Either do the clothes yourself or invest in a washing machine if you are allowed to have one where you live. You can get a quality machine for under $500, which is a lot less than what you pay a year at the Laundromat. Plus, it’s even more convenient because you don’t have to go anywhere to get your clothes clean. Bonus: you don’t even need a dryer, you can hang your clothes and save even more.
Forget About Name Brands
Having a designer name across your butt may look good, but it’s not going to feel so good if you have to eat canned soup for a month to pay for them. When it comes to clothes, unless it’s for your teenage kids, you don’t need to have everything you own be name brand. For women especially, as long as an outfit looks good and fits well no one will notice where you got it from. Store brands, like Target or Old Navy, have some great pieces at great prices. Shopping in these stores means you can buy five shirts instead of one designer one. Plus, often times the more expensive pieces are not made any better than the less expensive ones. If you have to have a designer name, buy one signature piece, like a jacket and keep everything else simple. You will be amazed at how much extra money you have by the end of the year.
Decide What You Need Versus What You Want
You may want to have every cable channel, but do you really need the full package-especially if it’s costing you $50 more? Step back and evaluate your monthly bills and see where you are spending necessarily. Do you pay for unlimited internet on your phone but never use it? Consider switching to a lower data package then. It’s good to have service if you need it, otherwise why pay extra? Do you have every cable channel but only watch two of them? Downgrade your package for big savings. Cable companies are notorious for their high prices, so if you don’t watch it you don’t need it. The same goes for other household expenses like ordering out. Treat yourself every once in a while, but don’t make it a habit. If you do order out and the place is nearby pick it up to avoid delivery charges. These might sound like little savings but they will accumulate throughout the year and you will see a difference.
Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. This is a big mistake many of us make: we see something that is 50% off and think it’s too good a deal to pass up. You may think it’s foolish not to buy it, but that fact is it’s foolish to buy something just because it costs less. Unless it is something your house needs, like a new computer because yours just died, wait until you have extra spending money. You may not realize it but a lot of stores have “sales” that aren’t sales at all. They will raise their prices a few weeks before, then drop it for the “sale”, so in reality you aren’t getting a discount at all. If a price seems too good to be true it’s because it probably is. If you’re going to buy an item on sale, make sure it’s really worth it.
Saving money can be a struggle, but if you’re smart eventually it will get easier and you will have more money for the things you and your family really need. More importantly, saving now means living the good life later. You are taking steps to provide for you and your loved ones for years to come. No one wants to work during their later years in life. They’re called the golden years because they are meant to be enjoyed. Save now, spend later.