Do you often wonder where your paycheck went? Does it seem like you have nothing to show for your hard work? It’s something that many people have a problem with. If you want to sit back at the end of the day and feel good about what you’ve accomplished, you need to make smarter spending decisions. Let’s take a closer look.
If you honestly have no idea where your money goes each week, track your spending. Write down every cent you spend so that you know where your money goes. Do this for at least two months. This will be an eye-opening experience. What you thought wasn’t a big deal will soon seem like a large amount. For example, you might buy items at the Dollar Tree and think it isn’t a big deal because everything is a dollar. Those items add up though.
Shop with Intent and Purpose
If you go shopping as a pastime, that needs to change. You should only shop when you have a need (and a list). This will greatly cut down on spending. When you shop with intent and purpose, you only purchase things that will be used instead of buying something simply because it was “cute” or on sale.
Look for Used Items First
When you do have a need for something, look for that item at thrift stores, yard sales, etc. Buying second-hand can save you a lot of money. For example, a solid wood kitchen table can cost close to $1,000 new while a used one can cost $100 or less. That’s a huge savings.
Last fall, the shutter on my Canon Digital Rebel camera stopped working. I panicked a bit (because it was the middle of football season, and I wanted to take pictures of my boys playing). I was trying to figure out a plan on how to save enough money for a new camera. However, I ended up going to a camera shop and buying a used body that works with all my lenses and flash for way less than buying a new camera body.
If you have to purchase something new, compare prices. Take the time to do the work and it will pay off. For example, if you’re buying a new refrigerator, look at models at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Look at the prices and see which retailer can provide the best price.
Never make a large purchase without reading the reviews. Many places have great return policies, but that’s more work on your part. Take the time to read the reviews before you spend the money.
Sleep on It
Last, but not least, sleep on it. Before you spend the money on something big, take at least an evening to think it over and sleep on it. In many cases you’ll find that you don’t really need the item you simply had to have the day before. Do this with any purchase you’re not 100% sure on. It might be a new handbag or bigger TV. Take the time to think it over.
When you make smarter spending decisions, you’ll have more money in the bank. You’ll also know where your money goes. Take the time to be smarter about what you spend your money on.