November 14, 2008 | By: Laurie Campbell

Chop your spending

Most people think that making adjustments to their spending plan will make their everyday life miserable. Guess what, money management NEVER makes you miserable. Unconscious spending makes you miserable, wasting your money on unnecessary items makes you miserable, avoiding and ignoring your financial reality makes you miserable, but money management does not make you miserable.  People have this misconstrued idea that managing their money means living on Mr. Noodle and never buying a new pair of shoes again. This is because most of us forget the 'managing' aspect of money management, which essentially means that you are satisfying all of your current needs (including your need for a little fun every once in a while) while taking into account your bigger goals. 

So as promised in my last blog, I've added some tips that will help you trim costs from your spending plan so that you can start saving for those fabulous (and totally achievable) goals of yours:

1. Avoid shelves at eye-level: Grocery stores put their most expensive items on shelves at eye level so always look for items either high or low on the shelves.

2.  Just say no to fads: They are a waste of your money, a waste of your time, and end-up being a complete disgrace to fashion.  Remember, the classics never go out of style.

3.  Paper over plastic: Using cash hurts more than using credit cards, so use cash instead of credit cards as much as possible to avoid overspending.

4.  Purchase a season later: Purchase your winter clothes in the spring and your summer clothes in the fall. If you avoid the fads you'll have no problem transitioning your wardrobe year-to-year.

5.  Do it yourself: From manicures, pedicures, and facials to painting and other home maintenance projects, you can save a bundle if you've got the time and patience.

6.  Homemade brews: You can make almost anything by using simple products and items you already have in your home; from lip gloss, deodorants, and shaving cream to baby wipes, finger paints, and household cleaners.  If you choose to evoke your inner Martha Stewart, you can save some extra cash...without the cumbersome lawsuit. Plus, by opting to make things yourself you ensure that you only use ingredients that are safe for both you and the environment. You'll also help to cut back on packaging materials which reduces waste. 

7. Be tactful: If you like the brand names but don't like their ticketed price you should give second-hand stores a second chance. Try visiting thrift and consignment stores for great jewellery, accessories and one 'of a kind' items.

8. Never pay retail: Most retail stores mark their prices at least four times what the product cost them to produce, so that even when the items do go on sale they can still make a profit. Try visiting legitimate outlet stores in order to find items at a fraction of what they would normally cost you. 

9. Go to the back: Shops usually put their most expensive items at the front of the store and keep the sales racks at the back. So if you're trying to be thrifty you should completely bypass the front racks and head straight to the back of the store.

10. Try store brands: Most large retail chains offer store brand products. Because they don't have to pay any intermediaries, you can get the same quality of product for much less.


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