Money saving is an art form that seems to be less common today, especially over the festive period. You need to buy things and you need them now! Have you ever been shopping and made an impulse purchase? Maybe then you had a think that you could have better used the money elsewhere? It’s easily done. Some people are already excited for Christmas to be over so that they can shop in the sales and get some real bargains. There is however the problem of just buying things in the sale because it’s cheap, not because you want it. Your shiny new purchase might never make it out of the packaging, the tags might stay on.
Money Saving Retail Therapy
There’s a reason that “Retail Therapy” exists. Buying things makes us feel good. Getting a bargain does the same. But it’s short lived. One reason that a lot of people get into financial difficulty is because they get addicted to this feeling. The more they buy, the better they feel. The more they spend, the smaller their bank balance gets and their debts grow. That makes them feel bad. But do you know what makes them feel better? Shopping!
This isn’t a good habit for anyone to get into! Not being in debt should be a priority, not how good buying a new pair of jeans that are a size too small just for when you manage to fit in to them.
The Money Saving Buying Guide
This idea started off as a bit of a joke between me and my girlfriend, but it seems like in all honesty, there might be some use in it which I why I’m sharing it now.
When you find an item in store or online, just follow this flow chart before heading to the checkout. You are 10 simple steps away from your new purchase, or saving yourself some money.
Do you want it?
This one’s at the top to save you time! You’re shopping the sales and you find a salmon pink dinner jacket with lime green shirt for only £10 down from £100. That’s a bargain. But will you ever wear it? No. Did you want this exact outfit before coming shopping? No. Don’t buy it!
Do you need it?
There is a difference between wants and needs. They are not interchangeable words. Do you need a rain jacket if you’re taking up a new years resolution of hiking? Yes, you probably do.
Can you afford it?
Do you have your money waiting in your bank waiting to buy this exact thing? No? Overdrafts are not free money. Maybe you need to save some money for a bit longer?
Can you afford it without credit?
This one’s a bit sneaky. There’s some things that I would only buy on credit, but only if I’m suitably managing repayments if on an interest free card, or paying the balance off in full. If you’re already in debt and especially if you’re paying interest on that debt, don’t add to it!
Is this the latest model?
Being a bit of a tech nerd here, I like to try and keep up with technology and upgrade my products. There’s always rumours of a new model round the corner. I know if you’re always waiting for the new model, you’ll probably not buy anything… ever.
Have you waited over a week and still want it?
This is a handy one that I’ve seen pop up in a few places and can even prove to be of benefit, especially online. If you place an item in your online shopping basket that you want at that particular moment, wait a week before purchasing it. No only can you come back a week later and wonder what this nonsense is in your basket, but if you do still want it, you might be in for a surprise. Some companies will email you discount codes to lure you into buying the items that you left in your basket.
Have you paid all your bills this month?
This is important. If you’ve read about automating your money, You will hopefully be paying off all your bills at the beginning of the month. But if not, make sure the important stuff is paid off before treating yourself. What good is a PS4 if your mortgage isn’t paid and your home gets repossessed?
Is this the only item that can perform the required task?
There’s very often minimal money saving when it comes to brand loyalty. There’s likely a few different items that perform the same task and probably for a fair amount cheaper.
Have you shopped around for the best price?
Again with the brand loyalty. There’s hundreds of shops that are probably selling the item that you’re after. Check around, see if there’s anywhere cheaper or that can offer some kind of bonus.
Have you checked online for discount codes?
This is suitable for in store, but more commonly found for online retailers. If you Google for “<retailer name> discount codes” you might be surprised to find they offer different codes that you can use to reduce your purchase price. You shouldn’t have to sign up for these sites.
I might print out a small copy of this to keep in my wallet. Just in case.
What are your thoughts? Did you try this? Leave a note in the comments below to say how you got on.