How do you save your family money all year long? Do you work the “get-free” magic by finding items online for free? Do you work the sale cycles? Or do you simply avoid shopping altogether?
If you need help saving more money this year, these seven tips will help you to save money all year long.
Pay in Cash
This will be the hardest, most worthwhile change you can make for your finances – paying in cash. Stop reaching for the credit cards every time you make purchase and instead pay in cash. Paying in cash gives you bargaining power and ensures that you can avoid a financial hangover later.
Save you and your family money by reviewing all of your yearly and monthly costs. Are you paying too much for insurance? Is your mortgage or rent payment too high? Is Christmas sneaking up on you every year? Do a yearly budget checkup and figure out where your expenses are eating up too much of your budget every month. Make it a point to figure out how to reduce and/or cut those costs in favor of saving money all year long.
Set a budget and stick to it. Developing a budget does not and should not be a complicated process, but sticking to it is the challenge. Once you have made your budget you have to stick to it in order to save money. Something that helps me when shopping is to write down my budget on my shopping list. That way, I am reminded of how much I have to spend in order to hold myself accountable. For budgeting help, my Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting post has free worksheets to help you create a basic and simple budget.
Track Your Spending
There is no other way to kick a shopping addiction faster than by tracking how much you spend. Make it a point to write down in a notepad or make a note with your smartphone, how much you spend each time you go shopping for the week. At the end of the week, tally up your total spent and ask yourself if the money spent was spent wisely or if the money could have been better spent on paying off debt, building up and emergency fund, or saving up for a family vacation.
Effectively planning your shopping trips, speed shopping, developing a make or break price, and learning to say “no” to purchases that do not fit in the budget will help you to save money. If you have a shopping addiction and Target is your weakness, avoid shopping at Target until you have gained control over your addiction. Make a conscious effort to shop smart this year and to spend your money wisely.
If you hang around frugal-minded and budget conscious people long enough, you will hear all about knowing and shopping the sales cycles. A sale cycle is simply when certain items go on sale and when they are at their lowest prices. Essentially, it is knowing when to purchase something and when to wait. Here are a few sale cycles:
January – Linens and Towels
February – Winter Clothes
March – Small Electronics (like digital cameras, smartphones, etc.)
April – Cookware (pots and pans) and Household items
May – Yard Sale and Thrift Store Finds (spring cleaning = lots of usable items being sold and donated)
June – Gym Memberships
July – Everything (retailers use July 4th as a huge sale weekend in order to clean out inventory and get ready for the back to school chaos)
August – Summer items (grills, patio furniture, gardening supplies, and swimming suits)
September – Computers
October – Last year’s model of appliances.
November – Holiday sales start.
December – Seasonal items
Change Your Mind
Get rid of the Joneses. Stop keeping them as neighbors and start living the life you truly want. It is difficult when a friend pulls up for a lunch date in a shiny, brand-new car and you are pulling away in your well-loved car that no longer has that “new car smell”. Avoid the temptation of keeping up the Joneses, because the Joneses are broke. You do not want to broke; you want to live the good life by saving your family money. Change your mind to start valuing the things you have that do not cost money instead of valuing the things that do. Avoid judging others on the value of their things and you feel a dramatic change within your own spending habits.
Saving money all year does not have to be a challenge. Instead of just spending your money, make it work for you by shopping smarter each time you shop and avoid letting your lifestyle make you broke so you can afford the things that bring you real joy.
What ways do you use to save all year long?
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