Let’s face it, many of us are trying to do more with less, and stretching a buck can be frustrating. It might even make you feel deprived and act out by over-spending. How do you avoid that destructive behavior? Here are some suggestions.
Understand the real issues
You’ve probably heard of “retail therapy.” If you’re upset about something and shop to feel better, the likelihood is that your spirits might be lifted in the moment, but you’ll still have to deal with the problem. Spending sometimes can be an addiction, and if that’s the case, it’s often advised to seek professional help.
Don’t spend money because you feel pressured to. If your friend wants to see a show but the tickets cost $60, it’s okay to tell her you’re trying to save money. Let her know you value spending time with her and suggest an activity that’s more affordable.
Do the numbers
If you routinely make purchases using a credit card, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’re spending. Make a budget that includes all of your necessary expenses and savings. That will show you, in black and white, how much you have leftover for a new outfit or a night on the town.
Repair and repurpose
Your favorite black pumps have scuffed toes and worn down heels. Rather than tossing them and buying a new pair, get them fixed. Also, to save money, look around your kitchen and closets and see what items you have that can serve double duty. That way, you won’t have to buy a new one.
Avoid impulse buying
Make lists. You’ll be less likely to buy things you don’t need. If you’re purchasing an expensive item—or anything that requires a contract like mobile phone service—compare prices.
A good time doesn’t have to be expensive. Restaurants, bars, and concerts can be pricey. Host a potluck, go to a street fair, or enjoy a day at the park—what really matters is that you’re together.
Shop in bulk—strategically. Buy the bigger packages of healthy staple items that you eat a lot of. Brown rice and oatmeal, for example, could be great items to buy in bulk—but a giant box of sugary cereal is probably not the best choice.
Consider buying used items, and check out Craig’s List or similar sites. Also, retailers like Best Buy and Frys often offer refurbished products like laptops through their online stores.
Buy pieces that match the accessories you already own. Look for items that can be worn during more than one season and those that can be dressed both up and down. Beware of styles that will be passé by next year.