Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to start living on a budget, save money and spend less? Here are a few things you can do/stop doing to ensure success.
1. Stop window shopping! This includes opening emails from retailers that fill your inbox every day. UNSUBSCRIBE!!! Their is nothing more damaging to a budget than spending money on things we never needed until we saw they were on sale. We aren’t really saving if we are still spending!
2. Make a list before going to the store and stick to it. I am horrible at this when I step into Target. I can go in for three items and leave spending over $75 every single time. Not wise! Making a list will help you stay focused on what you need so you can get in and get out without getting sidetracked.
3. Cook meals at home versus eating out. Eating out will kill a budget! If you do eat out, order water and split a meal. Most restaurants have portions large enough to share!
4. Use coupons! If you don’t have a coupon, retailers are always offering deals to get customers in the door, so ask what they have available. You would be shocked at how many times you can get up to 25% off just by asking!
5. Shop around and compare prices. Just last Christmas, I was shopping for a specific video game for one of my sons. At one store it was $59.99 and out of stock, so I went online. They were selling the same exact game for $39.99 with free shipping and their big competitor had it on sale for $39.97. Had I not compared, I would have spent $20 more than necessary. Most stores will also price match if you find it cheaper somewhere else within 30 days of receipt of purchase.
6. Never buy at full retail price. Everything goes on sale at some point, you just might have to wait a little longer. But waiting a week to save money is always wise!
7. When it come to shopping for groceries and household items, I have found that buying store brands vs. name brands can save me hundreds of dollars each month. Did you know that name brand companies often repackage the same exact product for specific stores, just changing the labels? Look at the ingredients. More often than not, they are the exact same. So why pay several dollars more for a flashy version when the content is the same?
8. Shop around for insurance rate comparisons at least twice a year. I use to think that staying with the same company for years would ensure that I had the best rate because of my loyalty. Wrong! And you don’t have to wait until your policy is up. Companies like you to think you are locked in for 6-12 months because it ensures that they keep your business for that period of time. That is not always true. Shop around!
9. Same goes for rates with electric companies, compare!
10. Contact companies you do business with and request cheaper rates. This includes your cable/satellite provider, cell phone provider, home phone provider, internet provider, etc. You can simply ask if they have any specials going on that you can take advantage of for being a loyal customer. If they say they don’t have anything, mention that you saw an ad or commercial for a promotion they had going on and ask what the details are. They will most likely honor that promo or give you free services such as three months of free movie channels. All you have to do is ask!
11. And last, but certainly not least. This may be the most important tip. Never, never, never go into debt to buy something you haven’t saved for. I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and I have learned that debt is the dumbest things we do as Americans. Debt has become the norm, but it is not wise. If there is something you want, safe up for it until you can pay cash. Don’t use someone else’s money. You can’t be money wise if you are willing to pay a creditor a ridiculous amount of interest just so you can have what you want when you want it.