As you know, I’m always looking for ways to save money (check out this post on how I save money on groceries) and often have a hard time spending money even when we are in desperate need of something (well, except when it comes to things for Olive, in which case I’m a little less tightfisted).
This is not a trait I was born with though. No, it was learned the hard way when I realized that I was paying a credit card bill that was accumulated from things I probably didn’t even own anymore (like clothes that were never worn!).
The adage “We should own our things, our things shouldn’t own us” comes to mind.
Here are some ways that I have learned to be more frugal and discriminating with my purchases.
I question “good deals”. (Here is where my education in communications comes in handy!)
There are two objectives to coupons. One is to advertise a product and the other is to get customers to buy their product at a discount in hopes that they become a brand loyal customer.
If the product is something I need anyway and the coupon gives me a price break then it’s worth it. If it’s not something I need or was planning on getting to begin with it’s usually not a good purchase.
Advertisers use time restraints (Today Only, 3 day sale, etc) to create panic. They want you to think that you need to make a quick decision (i.e impulse buy) to get the deal. The truth is, unless a product is being discontinued they will have a similar deal again soon.
I try to recognize when I feel the “I have to act now or I will miss out” panic and decide whether it’s really worth spending the money now (because it’s a good deal AND I need it) or if it’s something I can wait on until the sale comes around again.
I don’t let advertisements manipulate me.
Or, I try not to. They are very good at it though! I try to remember that someone is being paid to make me feel inferior so that I buy their product. I don’t want to give them that power.
I do my research
First I will do a little research to see how much a certain item typically costs and make a budget for it. Sometimes it has to wait until the following month when we have the money. It’s a good way to avoid impulse purchases!
I will continue my research to find the best quality product for the best price by searching online and in stores. I’ll try to find things used if possible too.
It’s also a good idea to think ahead and plan to buy certain things when they typically go on sale. For example, Jeans are usually on sale around the beginning of the school year. You can also stock up on last seasons clearance items for the following year. This can work for clothes, holiday décor, gardening items etc.