On Money Monday I share ways I'm learning to save, make or spend money wisely.
There are two ways I think about saving money. One is saving through the purchases I make or don't make. The other is setting aside money for something in particular or just in case. This week I want to write about saving through purchases.
"To everyone who is careful there is an abundance, but he who is pleasure-taking and slothful shall be in want." Proverbs 14:24
I feel like most of the tips I read in magazines, or even on sites designed for money saving tips, really still promote buying. While we all have to buy things, I think our culture makes us think we need more than we do. So one way I'm trying to save money is simply buying less. When I think of something we "need", I try to reconsider. I wrote about some ways I'm doing this a couple Saturdays ago. Usually a "need" gets put on a list and sits there for a while until I have money. By then I might realize that we really don't need it.
When I do decide to buy something, I try to buy wisely. For me this means buying something that might cost more, but has a higher quality value too, so it will last longer. This is especially important the bigger the purchase. If it's something that just doesn't have a long life no matter what, I usually go the inexpensive route.
Before I buy something big, I try to do my research. I might ask around, but usually I search the internet. Amazon usually has good reviews on everything and I weigh the opinions. Another way I try to buy wisely is to, as above, wait before I buy. Not only does this weed out the unnecessary things, but also allows me to really think about what is important to me when buying the product, therefore being happier with it and keeping it longer in the end.
I try to shop at thrift stores before I buy new, if it's something I don't mind having used. I really liked this post about thrift store shopping. (It's mainly about clothes, but I think the points can be applied to most things.) I am lucky that we have three great, yet varied, thrift stores in my town to shop at. Still, it is tricky to find just what you need, by the time you need it, and it be a quality product you will want to keep.
When I need something new or specific that I haven't found, I often buy from Amazon. This past fall, I signed up for Amazon Mom and got a free trial of Amazon Prime, which gives me free shipping on most items. When I bought some things from their "baby store", they extended it. And since we've had baby things to buy lately, I have it until the end of May. The free shipping is good on other things, not just baby. So if you're in my situation, you could look into that. (And no, they are not paying me to say this, though I wish they were!)
Another thing I do when I know I'm going to buy something at a store is check out RetailMeNot.com. When I bought fabric for my bag, I printed off a coupon for Joann's from that site. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes not.
I'm always looking for ways to save money either by buying less or buying more wisely, and therefore saving in the future. Have any tips to share?