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Spending Smarts

Need to cut back on expenses so you can pay bills?

                                 OR

Want to cut back so you can increase the amount of money you save each month? 

Here are five tips to help you stretch your dollars and even save them by spending wisely.

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it.
    One of the top reasons why people overspend is because they don't have clear goals to guide them when entering stores.  Make a shopping list of only what you need to buy and stick to it.

  • Avoid impulse purchases.
    When you see something you "must have" that is not on your shopping list, pause for a moment and ask yourself if you really "need" the item.  Think over any impulse purchase for at least two days to make sure you can afford it.  If it is a purchase that requires a loan agreement, ask for a copy of the terms and conditions to review fully at home before signing anything.  Newly released items have big price tags, but prices usually drop as time passes because trends and demand fade.  By avoiding impulse purchases, you'll save money - either by not buying the item at all or buying it at a lower cost later on if you find that you really need it. 

  • Shop at more than one store.
    When you're in a store, you will be tempted to buy an item right there and then, but visit a few different stores to see if you can get a better deal.  You may want to try carrying a notebook to jot down the prices to review and compare.

  • Buy quality products if you intend to use items for a long time.
    Even though quality products can come with a higher price tag, consider them a smart investment.  You're paying a little more for something that will last longer.  If you buy a lower quality item, you may need to replace it often - which can cost more than the higher quality item in the long run.  Setting aside a little money each month can help you save enough to buy the quality item.  If it is an item you think you will use only a few times, see if a friend or family member has it available for you to borrow.

    For example, if you are on a softball team and play often, it's best to buy a quality glove versus a lower quality glove that might break apart easily.  However, if you know your playing time will be limited, then borrow a glove or buy a cheaper one.

  • Use coupons wisely.
    Coupons are a great way to save money, whether it's 15¢ off a shampoo you use or $20 off a $100 clothing purchase at your favorite store.  The only catch is that you could be spending money on something you don't need just because you have a coupon.  Check your shopping list to see if you need the item featured in a coupon before buying something that might break your budget. 

Think you're a good spender?  Try our money spending quiz