How I have been justifying my spending as of recently:
“I saved so much money at [store 1] I can spend a little extra at [store 2]!”
There is really only a problem with half of this statement. I have been doing a really good job of shopping sales, hitting up clearance items and using coupons when at all possible. I get seriously excited when I save money, even at the grocery store. I usually call my mom to tell her exactly how much I saved, and Boyfriend and I are totally competitive when it comes to groceries and the tally at the end of the receipt showing how much we saved (my high is somewhere around $45).
However, sometimes I feel like I saved so much (relatively speaking) money that I can splurge elsewhere.
Variation: “I got all of these clothes in the clearance section (this shirt was $1.99!) that I can totally pay full-price for this item that I really want.” (Seriously, I actually said that to the cashier when she complimented me on my bargain finds. But in my defense, the shirt I paid full-price for was exactly what I went out in search for in the first place.)
This past weekend I did such a great job of saving at the grocery store, what with all of my meal planning and circular shopping, that I treated myself to take out that night. Because, you know, I was so tired from shopping that I didn’t want to go home and cook…
BUT! With my rewards card my dinner was 30% off. BOOM.
It seems like my saving habits are pretty solid, it’s the spending that I need to work on.
Here is what works the best for me:
Shop sales/clearance/circulars/in-season. This is all pretty self-explanatory, but in-season is a big one. Farmer’s markets, yo. Buy local and represent.
…But don’t buy something just because you have a coupon/it’s on sale. That is not saving money – that is spending extra money. Only buy the sale item if you would normally buy that item/brand without the discount.
Use coupons and reward cards without shame. With the exception of a first date, I can’t think of a time when using a coupon would be frowned upon. I mean, those extreme couponers get $700 worth of groceries for a penny and they get a standing ovation.
Think on it. Some of the best purchases I have ever made I had to go back for. I am a firm believer in “sleeping on it” (although normally for me it is a “take-a-lunch-break-in-the-food-court on it” situation). Once you take that time to examine your life without the knee-high caramel-colored leather boots, you will realize how much you either need or don’t need that particular item (hint: you probably need those boots. I know I do).
Wait for it. It’s not a coincidence that when you click on something on Amazon and don’t buy it, they bug you later when it goes on sale. If you know something isn’t going to get sold out/go out of season before you pull the trigger, chillax.
Where I could improve:
Save what I save. Take that $45 in grocery savings and put it straight in the bank, sister.
Avoid peer pressure. I absolutely love shopping with my girlfriends. I just need to concentrate more on finding stuff for them to spend money on.
Setting my sights. It always helps to have a goal in mind. Right now my goal should be saving for our trip to San Diego in October. I am so excited, but I’d really like to have some money to spend when we go out there, so I better start adding to the vacation fund.
What ways are you saving money? Where could you use some improvement?