Jean Chatzky learned the value of a dollar early on. “My mother made it very clear that if her children wanted extra things, we were going to have to buy them ourselves. That lesson resonated with me.” Money conscious, she began a career in financial reporting. Here are some of her best tips to keep overspending at bay.
Order groceries online
A grocery shopping app not only saves you time, but can help save you money by making you stick to your list. You’re more likely to overspend if you see your favorite snack foods on sale. Jean uses Peapod, a website that saves you a trip by delivering food to your door. “It maintains my list from week to week. I go through and I check off the items that I want,” she says. “I find that I spend much less because I avoid impulse purchasing.”
Get thrifty with furniture
By Google searching local tag sales in your town, you’re bound to find great deals. “I sold my kids’ bedroom furniture, my old porch furniture, and I found a $2000 elliptical for $400. I just had to pay a guy $100 to move it. Decorating this way is low cost and you don’t have to travel very far to have things shipped.”
Keep costs low on gadgets
If you’re not careful, your phone bill can creep up month by month. Between buying apps or music, seemingly small purchases can add up to a much higher bill. Every couple of months, take a good look at your bill and see if you can make some cuts. Jean suggests, “Every 6 months or so, call your wireless provider and ask how you can save money if they want to keep you.”
Do the math on your clothes
You want to invest in good quality pieces, but if money is tight you have to pick and choose. When considering what to put money into, think about usage. Jean advises to do a small calculation. “If you think, ‘I bet I’ll wear this 15 times a year for the next 3 years,’ that’s 45 times. You might be able to put a number on how much it’s worth it per time you wear it.”
Look for discounted entertainment
There are many creative ways to save when seeking entertainment in your town. Many big box stores, like Costco, sell discounted movie tickets in bulk or gift certificates to local restaurants. Also check out websites like Groupon and Livingsocial for discounted events or local attractions.
If you won the lottery how would you spend it?
I would buy a house on the bay in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. It’s a place I love and makes me happy. I’d put the rest away until I knew what I wanted to do—how to make the most of it, and how to help people at the same time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry, it’s all going to be okay.