The year 2020 has made it obvious that we all need a budget and to manage our money effectively. The best way to build savings is to shop smart, stock up when things we need to go on sale and to treat our savings accounts like any other bill that needs to get paid each month.
Shop With Cash
If you’ve gotten in trouble with credit cards, carefully review your shopping list and withdraw cash to use in your shopping trips. If you can buy only what’s on your list and only pay cash, the money will become real in your mind again.
Spending only with a card will make it easy to lose track of those little extra expenses that bust our budgets. If you need bread and you can get a loaf for under a dollar, check out the price of a bottle of soda or a candy bar. Even if a soda and candy bar can come in for under a dollar, consider how many servings there are in a loaf of bread. If you only have ten dollars to spend, that candy bar and soda are not only a waste of money but poor use of your nutritional dollars.
Use Coupons and Rebates
If you shop regularly at one store that offers points or a shopper’s card, sign up for it! You’ll get coupons for free items or reduced prices of products you already use. Additionally, make sure that you keep your receipts and go through them weekly so you can turn in your mail in rebates for Canada and other discount sources.
One quick point on couponing: If money is extremely tight, buying with coupons may not be the best choice. If you have twenty dollars to feed your family until payday, several bottles of whatever you have a coupon for won’t work if you can only afford mustard or shampoo. Additionally, extreme couponing will take storage space. Instead, you may want to go vegetarian for a short time, enjoy eggs, cheese sandwiches, simple soups, and other nutritious and cheap foods while you stay under budget.
Strawberries are cheap in June; apples are cheap in November. Sweet potatoes are always on sale in November but might be expensive in April. Shopping seasonally when it comes to groceries is a great way to save on your food budget and enjoy the bounty of the season.
When it comes to clothes, it’s a good idea to buy after the season. For families with growing children, March and April are a great time to look for winter coats for next year. Christmas presents, toys and games are very cheap on December 27th. Older children may prefer a gift card so they can treat themselves to something on sale after the holidays.
If you’re looking for clothes at even better prices, check out local resale shops. You can find dress clothing at consignment shops; you may pay a bit more than Goodwill, but you can often find high-end things at these shops.
For those who are looking to change careers or who need a more professional wardrobe, the trick to thrift shopping is to shop in short bursts of time. Look for basics for the bottom of your body. For women, a black skirt and a pair of black slacks can be a good base buy. Then, anything you find that works with the skirt will also look good with the slacks and your wardrobe will grow exponentially.
Use Credit Cards Wisely
If you have struggled with credit cards in the past, consider getting a card that offers points for something you want and will use. If you have a dream trip that you would love to take,
- get a card that offers travel points
- make sure you have the money for your basic weekly purchases
- put your regular expenses on your new card
- pay off the card as soon as you get the bill
If you can pay the bill in full each month, the points you earn are free. You can also get a card from your local grocery store and pay your utilities with the card, earning free groceries while you keep the lights on, but you must pay the card off each month.
Shopping smart and paying wisely can actually get you something for nothing. You can walk away from your regular budget spending with more than you paid for, but you have to manage credit wisely. Thrift shopping, seasonal shopping, and going back to cash will increase your money awareness.