An Easy Way To Save Money: Plan.

by Michael Caldwell · 2 comments

in Frugality

Today we’ll be featuring a guest post from Michael Caldwell at UseTheDollar.com, a finance blog for college students.

Stores Expect to Sell you more than you came for

The majority of my unplanned spending is composed of impulse buying of items in stores. Your lack of planning and Store’s tricky methods cause you to spend way more than you need to be.

Though many people, notably women, go shopping just for the rush; I rarely step foot in a store without some sort of mission. “I want this book” or “I want this new sweater” — So I go looking for that item. Barnes and Nobles is counting on me to see other things and walk out with them as well as my book though. Stores spend money to fool you.

A large amount of employees’ time, marketing expenses, and floor space is spent to build displays of items they’d like you to bring home. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself from spending more than necessary at the store.

1. Always take a list.

Always take a list

Whether you are shopping for Christmas, for clothes, or just going to the grocery store; do not go without a list of what you need to buy. And do NOT deviate from the plan. Stick to your list and there’s no way for you to buy on impulse.

2. Take Cash

Always bring cash

Another great control on your spending is to only bring cash. By deciding how much you’ll spend (using your list and prices) before you leave, you can take an envelope of cash in that amount. This way, you won’t charge or spend any more than you have planned.

Impulse buying adds up fast. Bringing cash is a surefire way to not go overboard.

3. Clip Coupons

Save cash with coupons

The Sunday paper, cliche as it may be, will cost between $2 and $3 each week. It can contain anywhere from $150 to $300 worth of coupons. Granted, you won’t use all of them, but if you can find even $3 worth of savings then you’ve made it worth having bought that paper. Hey, maybe you’ll even read a little and educate yourself some.

Looking for another way to save more and build wealth? Check out my post on boosting your active and passive income.

4. Don’t fall for store trickery

Don't let the stores trick you

How often do you see a mannequin with only a shirt on? Stores understand that psychologically, if you see a shirt that you want to buy that is on display with a nice pair of pants, you’re likely to buy the pants as well! Don’t fall for their trickery. Buy what you went in for and nothing else.

5. Put on the blinders

Just say no

I used to work in Retail and whenever I would work the cash register (actually, we called it the Box Office at the Disney Store) I would be required to ask each customer if they would like to add one of our counter items to their purchase. These ranged from $1-$5, and it amazed me how many people actually fell for this. They never needed that stupid cup or poorly made stuffed animal, but hey: it was cheap, convenient, and they might even hurt my feelings if they didn’t buy it; so they did. Put on your blinders at the register. You’ve nearly completed your mission — don’t succumb to the corporate mischief now.

By following these tips I think you’ll be very surprised just how much you manage to save. An amazing amount of your money goes towards items you never planned or needed to buy — if you can eliminate impulse spending, you’ll be able to build some serious wealth.

You may also be interested in checking out these easy money saving tips for students.

About The Author

Michael Caldwell is the Co-Founder of UseTheDollar.com

Michael Caldwell is a lifelong entrepreneur who has become active in the Financial world. He is the Co-Founder of UseTheDollar.com, and provides valuable, insightful posts, videos, and explanations to help students better understand the financial world.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Edwards October 22, 2008 at 8:25 am

Some really good tips. I especially agree with always bringing cash / deciding ahead of time exactly how much you’re going to spend.

Reply

Michael Caldwell October 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Thanks John!

Deciding how much I’m going to spend ahead of time is by far the hardest for me. When I decided I would only spend $2.50 on chips, but the big bag is only $3.50, its very difficult for me not to fork out the extra dollar!

Thanks for the input, John.
–Michael

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