Posts Tagged ‘spending money’

5 Ways to Avoid Overspending on Almost Anything

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

As I mentioned last week, it’s pretty easy to waste money (with or without realizing it) by purchasing things that you don’t really need.  But as I was thinking about it, I realized that overspending is a habit that is just as dangerous as wasting money.  The difference between overspending and wasting money is that overspending means paying more for something that you’d be purchasing anyway, while wasting money also includes spending money on things that are generally unnecessary (even though they are often very nice).  And so, I thought for a while about how we can avoid overspending and I’ve come up with the following suggestions for how we can end this destructive habit.

  1. Always look for stores that will beat the price of their competitors or at the very least, offer a price-match guarantee.  I’ve recently discovered that many stores actually do honor price match requests, even though they may not advertise this service.  Here are some stores that will beat out their competitors (or, at the very least, match the price):
  2. save-on-brandsBed Bath & Beyond

    Best Buy

    Diapers.com

    Home Depot

    Kitchen Cabinet
    Hardware

    OfficeMax

    Sears

    Stop & Shop

    Staples

    Walmart

    Some stores also offer price adjustments if the item you bought goes on sale within 7-14 days.  Keep an eye on prices to see if you’re eligible for a refund at these great stores:

    Banana Republic

    GAP

    Gymboree (within 7 days)

    Hollister

    J Crew (within 7 days)

    Kohls

    Old Navy

    Target (within 7 days)

  3. Look for coupons, discounts or deals.  I know I say this often, but the best way to get a bargain is to actively look for it.  One easy way to find a deal on almost any item is to Google it.  Chances are you’ll find deals on nearly everything you’re looking to purchase.
  4. Wait for sales.  Unless your desired item is price-fixed, chances are good that it will go on sale at some time in the next few weeks or months.  Enjoy extra discounts if you can double up coupons on the sale price.
  5. Buy a knockoff.  I hate to say it, but having a name-brand doesn’t mean much these days.  Purchasing an expensive designer or branded item will lead to overspending, when you can get a great look and decent quality with a good knockoff.  The best part about buying a knockoff is that you can afford to replace it when the trends change.  The same theory holds true for electronics, by the way – you may not want to buy the cheapest MP3 player, but there are several options that can provide years of reliable service, even if they don’t have a little apple on the back.
  6. Reduce membership fees.  Do you have a gold membership to the gym or a gold credit card that is costing you money each month?  Why not stop overspending by giving up expenses that aren’t really critical.  If you’re not taking advantage of that extra spa time or aren’t hitting your credit limit, you don’t really need these expensive upgrades, and changing to standard memberships can prevent you from overspending on a regular basis.

How to Stop Wasting Money

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

save-moneySaving money takes effort, thought and sacrifice – but wasting money seems to be something that just happens, whether or not we want it to.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  Since we all tend to waste money without thinking about it, we can also train ourselves to subconsciously avoid wasting money, a process which can save a considerable amount of money throughout the year.  Using these tricks will prevent you from wasting your money and will allow you to save it for the future.  Or, at the very least, a deliberate splurge.

  1. Avoid convenience stores. They may be convenient, but boy are they overpriced!
  2. Research big-ticket items. You’ve known for months that you want that Wii – surely you can wait another day or two before purchasing it, so that you can find the best price, right?
  3. Use coupons. If you ask me, paying full price is akin to wasting money.
  4. Take water with you. You may be surprised to learn that spending money on beverages is one of the most common ways to waste money.  A soft-drink on the run or at a restaurant can cost 5 times (or more) as much as it would at a grocery store.  And, of course, water is FREE!
  5. Stop paying credit card fees. With so many free credit cards available, why pay money to spend it?
  6. Avoid ATM fees. With a bit of advance planning you can wander near a bank-owned ATM which will eliminate ATM fees (for most banks).
  7. Use fabric napkins and rags. Even if you’re not concerned about the environment (which perhaps you should be), you can enjoy being ecological by skipping the paper napkins and paper towels, which cost (um, waste) up to $3/month.
  8. Wash your own car. The waste of money in this case is obvious.
  9. Skip the extended warranty. It sounds like a great way to save money, but chances are you won’t need it.  And even if you do, servicing most products is similar in price to the warranty, so you’re not really losing money.
  10. Create your own greeting cards. Everyone loves a funny Hallmark card, but you can create an equally heartfelt card for free.  Why waste money on a piece of paper that will get thrown away?

And, since I truly hate when people waste money, here are 3 more ways to stop wasting money:

  1. Cancel unused memberships. Why pay for the gym that you’re not using?
  2. Buy knockoffs. There’s no need for a real Gucci when you can have a purse (or necklace) that looks nearly the same for a fraction of the price.  Do you really care if it has the Gucci logo, or are you buying it for the style?
  3. Switch to a VOIP phone. This internet-based telephone can stop you from wasting money on a monthly basis and is especially great for international phone calls.