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4 Ways You Can Shop Without Spending Any Money

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4 Ways You Can Shop Without Spending Any Money

Everywhere we turn, we are surrounded by advertisements telling us that our happiness lies within the product they sell. However, numerous consumer studies have shown that the stuff we buy often fails to deliver on that guarantee. Regardless, we find ourselves caught in an infinite cycle of longing and purchasing, constantly searching for the items that, if the price is right, will bring us absolute joy.

Retail therapy isn’t all it’s cut out to be though. It turns out that happiness lies in the desire for stuff and the journey it takes to acquire it, but wanes after the actual acquisition.

The novelty of new purchases wears off over time whereas the happiness derived from experiences lasts much longer. Why should we continue to spend money on all this stuff if it’s not improving the overall quality of our lives?

While we may be able to provide anecdotal evidence to support the claim that shopping does make us happier, that pleasure is unfortunately short-lived. Take a moment to scope out your recent purchases around your house and ask yourself how much of that still ignites a feeling of excitement and joy.

Whether or not the fact that shopping doesn’t make us any happier is news to you, we are well aware of the financial implications of our shopping habits. Money spent on items that don’t improve our quality of life can be money spent to pay down overbearing debt or put into savings to pay for experiences like vacations or hobbies – purchases that do retain their value in happiness over time.

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Even when we realize that ongoing joy can’t be found at the bottom of a shopping bag, we still get that yearning to head out to the stores. The next time you get the urge to spend money at the expense of your financial goals, harness that desire and try these four ways to hack the exhilaration of shopping without actually spending any money:

1. Go shopping in your closet.

Start by organizing your closets and cabinets. As daunting as this sounds, going through the clutter and purging what you don’t want will bring new life to the stuff you choose to keep.

Rather than shopping for additions, shop for items you can get rid of. You can do this with clothing, accessories, kitchen gadgets, food pantries, book collections and even knick-knacks around your house.

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or enjoy and organize the stuff you choose to keep. Make a shopping list of any things you need or want to replace and try the following ideas before you commit to a new purchase.

2. Browse and share on social media.

Next time you get the urge to make a purchase, reach for your camera phone instead of your wallet. You don’t need to own a pair of shoes to take a picture and post it to Instagram.

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The “likes” you receive on a picture is a great substitution for the compliments you would receive if your purchased and wore the shoes in person.

When you stumble upon something that looks really neat but for which you can’t find any immediate use, snap a picture and upload it for your followers to check out. You’ll be much happier knowing it exists rather than as a line item on your credit card statement.

3. Assemble vision boards on Pinterest.

Pinterest satisfies the craving to browse a store without physically stepping into one. You can search for a specific item within Pinterest or peruse the “aisles” of the internet and pin images externally.

Viewing the images of your shopping pursuit through the Pinterest lens keeps you from making impulse purchases as you would while wandering around a physical store.

Rather than adding an item to your online shopping cart, pin the image of the item to a Pinterest board. Keep all of your online shopping on the same board.

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By viewing everything lumped together, rather than as categorized items, you’ll be able to weed out the purchases that aren’t worth your hard-earned money. You can even create a board called “Stuff Not Purchased” later and celebrate all the money you have saved.

Who knows – maybe you’ll even find some inspiration to DIY the items you are searching for!

4. Throw a swap party!

A swap party is an economical and eco-friendly spin on social events. Rather than heading out to the mall with your friends, invite them over with instructions to bring a fixed amount of items they no longer want.

You can stick with just clothing and accessories or include kitchen gadgets and knick-knacks. You can trade, barter or donate to friends while snagging new additions for yourself without spending a dollar.

Remember, someone’s trash might be another person’s treasure! And once the party is over, you can donate anything you were unable to hand off.

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By focusing on the present and carefully considering the fixations of your desires before you pay for them, your pursuit of financial freedom will not be obstructed by material possessions. Focus on the doing, not the having, and always consider what experience you can buy at the expense of another object.

By using the tips above, you might even enjoy the whole process.

Featured photo credit: Girl Pointing At Sky/StokPic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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