The list of expenses that demand us to hand out more and more of our hard earned cash seems to grow longer by the day. As if not inconvenient enough, times remain tough for many of us when it comes to finance. Couple that with the recent research suggesting that the key to happiness is saving a little money each month and this means we really could all benefit from being able to cut back when we hit the stores.
- Have a list: Whether you are intending to buy one item or a week’s worth of groceries, writing down exactly what you need and sticking stoically to this list will save you from parting with extra money.
- Have a budget: When the time comes to buy an expensive item, such as a car or electrical appliance, work out your maximum budget and only shop within that range.
- Ignore unnecessary offers: Sure, something may be on sale at 20% off but does that mean you need it? It may be cheaper than before but you would still be paying out money that you could have otherwise saved.
- Avoid bulk buying: Buying items in bulk and storing them is often recommended to save money. While it works for some items, for others they will simply deteriorate in quality or expire, rendering them useless and wasting your money.
- Make friends: Being friendly with the locals really can save you some cash when it comes to getting services. Be it plumbers, decorators, builders or hairdressers; mates rates can come in very handy in times of need.
- Shop at night: If you head to the supermarket or grocery store at night you can uncover some great bargains. Items that are sold fresh, such as bread, milk and eggs will often be reduced in price.
- Book in advance: Paying for travel is never cheap but the earlier you book plane or train tickets, the cheaper you will get them.
- Be wary of finance deals: Opting for a finance agreement (read more here), where you pay for an item in installments, may seem like a good way of avoiding a hefty lump sum but you will be committed to a lengthy contract and are required to pay interest, meaning you pay more overall.
- Compare prices: Whether online or by visiting a number of different stores, looking around and comparing rival prices is often the most reliable way to find the best deal.
- Shop alone: Having others around you when you shop can be distracting. Often they will talk you into buying extra items you did not need and so going alone and sticking to your list is often your best bet.
- Haggle: You will never know if a seller might reduce the price unless you ask. Even with existing contracts such as phone or internet providers, you can contact them and threaten to take your custom elsewhere unless the price is reduced; ultimately they would rather get some money from you than nothing.
- Cheaper isn’t always better: Opting for the cheapest option might save you the most money initially but poor quality goods will not last, meaning they will regularly need replaced. Avoid designer brands but maintain decent quality.
Each of the above measures may not seem enough to make a big difference to your finances by itself but combined together; these simple, easily implemented tasks can be a powerful combination, becoming a habit and saving you money before you even know it. In this day and age, a frugal life is often the best life.