Growing up, many of us were instructed on the values of saving money and being responsible consumers. Even the best of us, however, tend to forget some of the best ways to exercise excellent frugality, and our bank accounts end up suffering for it.
Below are just a few money-saving tips to keep in mind before you head to the checkout counter. As you read, you may notice that you knew some of these tips already but just forgot about them.
1. Buy used items.
We remember to buy used items with some purchases, like cars and video games. But we usually forget to shop for used items when looking for clothes, electronics, or even furniture. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to perishable items, but utilizing websites such as Craigslist and social media platforms can lead to huge savings for you.
One of my favorite past times is visiting thrift shops on weekends (even before the song came out) and gauging the prices. When I’m in need of something later on, I know (roughly) how much it’s going for at discount stores.
2. Wait a day before you make a purchase.
This is crucial for big purchases. Impulse buying is a major contribution to why our bank accounts aren’t where they should be, so If you really want to buy something, wait a day or longer and see how you feel then. Chances are that you’ll be less tempted to make the purchase, unless it is something you really need.
3. Buy in bulk.
The guideline for this is simple: if it’s something you know you’ll be using, like toiletries or food items, then save yourself some money by purchasing in bulk. Toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, and other essential items are great for bulk because you’ll be saving money in the long run without buying things you’ll never use.
4. Treat yourself once in a while.
The psychology of impulse buying and over-spending is quite complex and interesting, but a lot of it can be curbed by positive reinforcement. Rewarding yourself, sparingly, is a great method for maintaining control of your finances without going overboard. Set rules for yourself, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a break when appropriate.
5. Shop around.
This is a given for some people, but you may be the type of person who falls in love with the first option they see for a purchase. Exercise some financial discipline and visit other stores (or even online) to compare prices and features. You may find that what you were about to drop significant funds for can be found way cheaper, or better, somewhere else.
6. Use cash.
Credit cards, while gloriously convenient, can be exceptionally deceitful. We tend to use them flippantly, not considering the impact they’re really having on our personal finances. If you use cash, however, your subconscious is more likely to feel the pain from losing that money, resulting in a more conscious effort to curb your spending.
For big purchases, you might find it worthwhile to use money orders for that same reason, and that will help establish a mentality of preparing your finances before making big decisions.
7. Borrow (or buy) from your friends.
Ask around! Friends are a great resource for borrowing essential items such as furniture, kitchen accessories, and more. You may also get a great deal if you buy from your friends, seeing as they’re motivated to help you while also getting a form of compensation, and they may even offer some items for free that they don’t need. Just remember to return the favor.
8. Cook instead of eating out.
We forget this when we opt out of planning our meals. Organize your week by determining when you’ll have time to prepare a meal and stick to it. You can then purchase your groceries for that meal and save a ton of money.
If time isn’t on your side, try cooking a lot of food on a day with more free-time. You can use this food for dinners and lunches, as long as you freeze what you’ve cooked.
9. Watch Matinees.
Sure, we typically reserve theater visits for weekend dates, but you should also consider watching the matinee in order to save some money, especially if you watch movies every weekend. In some theaters, tickets can actually be up to $5 cheaper for the matinee. For families, that means you’re potentially saving $20 per visit just by watching the same movie a little earlier.
10. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them.
This is a great tip for saving money on your electric bill, especially during winter. Remember that certain electronics can take up a lot of energy, even when they’re turned off. While you’re sleeping and/or at work, make it a habit to unplug the nonessentials, which include kitchen appliances, televisions, and video game consoles. The money you’re saving over the course of just one year can be a staggering amount.