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10 Money-Saving Tips That Most People Often Forget

10 Money-Saving Tips That Most People Often Forget

Growing up, many of us were instructed on the values of saving money and being responsible consumers. Even the best of us, however, tend to forget some of the best ways to exercise excellent frugality, and our bank accounts end up suffering for it.

Below are just a few money-saving tips to keep in mind before you head to the checkout counter. As you read, you may notice that you knew some of these tips already but just forgot about them.

1. Buy used items.

We remember to buy used items with some purchases, like cars and video games. But we usually forget to shop for used items when looking for clothes, electronics, or even furniture. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to perishable items, but utilizing websites such as Craigslist and social media platforms can lead to huge savings for you.

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One of my favorite past times is visiting thrift shops on weekends (even before the song came out) and gauging the prices. When I’m in need of something later on, I know (roughly) how much it’s going for at discount stores.

2. Wait a day before you make a purchase.

This is crucial for big purchases. Impulse buying is a major contribution to why our bank accounts aren’t where they should be, so If you really want to buy something, wait a day or longer and see how you feel then. Chances are that you’ll be less tempted to make the purchase, unless it is something you really need.

3. Buy in bulk.

The guideline for this is simple: if it’s something you know you’ll be using, like toiletries or food items, then save yourself some money by purchasing in bulk. Toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, and other essential items are great for bulk because you’ll be saving money in the long run without buying things you’ll never use.

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4. Treat yourself once in a while.

The psychology of impulse buying and over-spending is quite complex and interesting, but a lot of it can be curbed by positive reinforcement. Rewarding yourself, sparingly, is a great method for maintaining control of your finances without going overboard. Set rules for yourself, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a break when appropriate.

5. Shop around.

This is a given for some people, but you may be the type of person who falls in love with the first option they see for a purchase. Exercise some financial discipline and visit other stores (or even online) to compare prices and features. You may find that what you were about to drop significant funds for can be found way cheaper, or better, somewhere else.

6. Use cash.

Credit cards, while gloriously convenient, can be exceptionally deceitful. We tend to use them flippantly, not considering the impact they’re really having on our personal finances. If you use cash, however, your subconscious is more likely to feel the pain from losing that money, resulting in a more conscious effort to curb your spending.

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For big purchases, you might find it worthwhile to use money orders for that same reason, and that will help establish a mentality of preparing your finances before making big decisions.

7. Borrow (or buy) from your friends.

Ask around! Friends are a great resource for borrowing essential items such as furniture, kitchen accessories, and more. You may also get a great deal if you buy from your friends, seeing as they’re motivated to help you while also getting a form of compensation, and they may even offer some items for free that they don’t need. Just remember to return the favor.

8. Cook instead of eating out.

We forget this when we opt out of planning our meals. Organize your week by determining when you’ll have time to prepare a meal and stick to it. You can then purchase your groceries for that meal and save a ton of money.

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If time isn’t on your side, try cooking a lot of food on a day with more free-time. You can use this food for dinners and lunches, as long as you freeze what you’ve cooked.

9. Watch Matinees.

Sure, we typically reserve theater visits for weekend dates, but you should also consider watching the matinee in order to save some money, especially if you watch movies every weekend. In some theaters, tickets can actually be up to $5 cheaper for the matinee. For families, that means you’re potentially saving $20 per visit just by watching the same movie a little earlier.

10. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them.

This is a great tip for saving money on your electric bill, especially during winter. Remember that certain electronics can take up a lot of energy, even when they’re turned off. While you’re sleeping and/or at work, make it a habit to unplug the nonessentials, which include kitchen appliances, televisions, and video game consoles. The money you’re saving over the course of just one year can be a staggering amount.

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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