Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Smart Shopping!

Hi everybody!! This is my first post on our blog.  I hope you have been enjoying our travel adventures and I hope that some of our tips and suggestions are worth the read!  I wanted to put something up a little different than travel today.  Well, okay, a lot different.  I wanted to post about being a smart shopper and spender!

Money doesn't grow on trees, or so the adage goes.  Prices on everything seem to be going through the roof these days!  Being frugal is both a mind-set and a lifestyle, and something that needs to be committed to with discipline.  The habit of spending when the feeling strikes must be tempered with a focus on spending money wisely and making informed purchasing decisions.  Here are three ways I have found that help take control over spending and stretch finances without going broke in the process.  Cliff loves that I have this mindset!!! :)  I’m hoping that it pays off down the road if you know what I’m saying ladies... ;)

1. Make a budget and stick to it (Trust me, I know this is challenging!)

Developing a budget is key to knowing how much money is coming in and controlling where it goes.  Fixed expenses, just like arranging large pieces of furniture, must be in the plan first, as they are typically the largest expenses and carry the most importance in being paid on a timely basis.  Mortgages, rent, car payments, insurance, student loans and credit card payments are examples of fixed expenses.  Forgetting any of these could damage credit or cause other problems.  

Next in line are utility payments. Without electricity, phone or gas for heat, life quickly becomes uncomfortable.  Don't forget water and sewer and having enough to pay property taxes.  If things are tight, consider reducing services such as cable or internet, cell phone apps and unnecessary club memberships.  Watch utility use, take fewer or shorter showers, turn off lights or TV when leaving the room, consider having a dimmer on your lights to use less wattage/power.  Oh my, now I’m starting to sound just like Cliff!

2. Plan before spending

It is so easy to see something that strikes our fancy and purchase it without giving thought to the costs related to the purchase.  I wouldn’t be truthful if I said I wasn’t guilty of this, but I’m working on it!  Buying an item on sale is only wise if it is an item that will immediately be put to use, or reduces spending in other areas.  Large purchases really should be researched and price compared to provide the best bang for your buck.  Shopping for information, best prices and where an item can be found locally is easily done on the internet, which will actually end up saving gas, time and buying impulsively (and going against your budget!!).

3. Purchase Bulk Quantities

You can get more for your money if you purchase items that you use regularly in bulk quantities.  No ladies, buying clothing in bulk is not what I am talking about, good try though!  I’m mainly talking about groceries or frequently used household items.  Bulk purchases generally have a lower price per unit than smaller or individual portions.  Items that will keep for a long period of time, such as toilet paper, rice, and pasta, can be purchased in bulk quantities without fear that they will deteriorate before you can use them!

By using these smart shopping tips, you can easily trim your expenses by hundreds of dollars per year.  Each of these tips is simple to implement and you will see the results quickly.  All you need to do is commit and stay with it!  The money that you save will be very useful for taking care of your other needs, like family expenses or saving for the future.