Friday, March 9, 2018
Marked down 40%! ON SALE! TODAY ONLY! Prices slashed in half! Save 60%!
Is it something you need? Something you want and were planning to buy anyway? If not, save 100% and don't buy it! Use the money you would have spent for something you do need or want, whether or not it's "on sale."
How many times have you bought an item just because it was on sale? And then found you have no use for it? My mother used to buy shoes in the wrong size and clothes that didn't match anything in her wardrobe, just because they were too inexpensive to pass up. Money down the drain.
Some items are perpetually marked down. Some stores always have a CLEARANCE. Eye-catching end-of-aisle displays beckon you to BUY NOW! Get it at a steal! But sometimes the item is being sold at its regular price; it's just being marketed more prominently. Maybe the store got an extra-large shipment of that product this week and has to find a way to move it out.
Some companies have created a reputation for bargain prices. I have friends who only fly Southwest Airlines because "it's the cheapest." But not always. Sometimes they could have bought a ticket on a major carrier for the same price, with a better schedule and more amenities. But they didn't shop around. They just assumed whatever fare Southwest offered was the best they could do.
What about a "dollar store"? Everything is only a dollar! And you can get some great deals. But I've found canned goods there for a dollar that I could buy in a regular grocery store for 79 cents. Just because it's sold in the "dollar store" doesn't make it automatically a bargain.
My husband and I usually visit an outlet mall during the holiday season, aiming to fill holes in our wardrobe and whittle down our gift list at the same time. But I've noticed outlet malls don't always offer the lowest prices.
Warehouse stores such as Costco, Sam's, BJ's, etc., boast lower prices on many items—both big-ticket purchases and everyday necessities. But don't assume because a product is sold in a warehouse—or outlet mall, or other "discount" store—that it's the best deal. Sometimes an item can be purchased at your local grocery or department store for less, especially on sale and/or with a coupon. It's important to compare prices. Also, warehouse stores charge annual membership fees, so if you join, make sure you'll shop there enough to offset the cost. Before joining, visit with a member or ask a store employee if you can come in and have a look around, to determine whether a membership will benefit you.
Plan your purchases. Do some research about what things should cost. That way, when you see something you want "on sale" you'll know if it's truly a good buy.
What tips do you have for bargain shopping? I'd love to hear your comments.
Monday, February 26, 2018
Countdown to Financial Fitness: Reducing Paper Waste: Last week we planted trees to celebrate Georgia's Arbor Day. The goal of planting these flowering species was to attract pollinators, w...
Last week we planted trees to celebrate Georgia's Arbor Day. The goal of planting these flowering species was to attract pollinators, which have been on the decline in recent decades, threatening the world's food supply.
When I think of trees, I also think of products we derive from them. Like paper. And how much paper is wasted every day. And how many trees could be saved if we didn't waste so much paper.
So here are some tips to minimize the amount of paper we waste:
· Resist the urge to print out every email you receive. I once had a boss who did that. Detailed directions, prep for an upcoming meeting, a completed progress report, I could see. A phone number? Confirmation of a lunch date? Why waste a clean sheet of paper, as well as printer ink? Jot it down on a piece of scratch paper. A simple joke or daily platitude? Read and delete. In the mountains of paper you're keeping, you'll never find it again anyway.
· Capacity for electronic storage is increasing, especially with The Cloud. Handle electronically as much bill paying, record keeping, and correspondence as possible. (But do pay attention to cybersecurity, and make it a habit to back up your data regularly.). At the Fayette Humane Society where I volunteer, we used to spend close to $2000 every quarter to produce and distribute our 8-page newsletter, complete with color photos. Converting to electronic distribution was met with a lot of resistance, but we finally did it. The money we save is better spent on caring for the animals we rescue.
· Print on both sides of a sheet of paper whenever possible. Some writers find it impossible to edit on the computer. If you must print out your drafts to find errors, why not use both sides of the page? If your printer doesn't do "double-sided," print on the back of old draft copies.
· Don't waste a clean sheet of printer paper to jot down a reminder or make a grocery list. Why not recycle a junk-mail envelope, or use one of those free notepads sent by charities?
· Print out directions, hotel confirmations, and boarding passes on recycled paper. The TSA agent won't care that the back of your e-ticket contains a marked-up excerpt from your novel-in-progress.
· Shred no-longer-needed documents and use them for packaging or to line a birdcage. Or donate to an animal shelter as a puppy-pad substitute.
Reducing paper waste not only helps the environment, it can save you money. And there's nothing like financial motivation to do the right thing.
What tips do you have for saving money on paper? I'd love to hear your comments.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Countdown to Financial Fitness: Don't Let Valentine's Day Break the Bank: Valentine's Day is a romantic occasion; a time to splurge, to prove your love for your partner. If you're dating someone, it's ...
Valentine's Day is a romantic occasion; a time to splurge, to prove your love for your partner. If you're dating someone, it's an opportunity to show your intentions.
Who doesn't like to be pampered?
Just don't let the pressure of impressing others drive you to spend more than you can afford. Like any other expense, Valentine's Day gifts should be planned for and budgeted. After all, the holiday comes around every year.
Don't have two dozen roses delivered to your spouse's office by a singing Cupid because you're afraid her colleagues will scoff at a simple spring bouquet and a homemade card. Or that someone else's spouse will outdo you.
She may love being surprised by a pair of diamond earrings, but they'll lose their sparkle once you're saddled with the extra credit card debt. And not many people need the calories in a two-pound box of imported chocolates, despite the initial joy of receiving it. A small sample of her favorites to savor might generate the same appreciation.
The old adage, "It's the thought that counts" may sound like an excuse for being a cheapskate. But there are plenty of ways you can recognize the special day and demonstrate your love without spending a lot of money.
Time is one of our most valuable commodities. Why not take that long walk in the park with her you've been promising? Why not sit down and watch that game with him, even though you hate sports? Accompany it with a home-cooked meal and a bottle of your beloved's favorite bubbly.
If you're in a new relationship, the way the other person handles the holiday will supply clues about what is to come. The person who showers you with expensive gifts might be generous. But she might also be a poor manager of money. The person who writes you a poem in lieu of buying a present might be a romantic, or maybe he's just a tightwad.
Do you really want to spend your days with someone who was insulted that you bought her flowers from the grocery store or the kid on the street corner instead of from the town's best florist? Or maybe you are that person, and you can't abide such party-pooping frugality from your partner on a romantic holiday.
If your relationship is getting serious, Valentine's Day can prompt you to have that all-important talk about money. Is one person a saver, and the other a spender? Before you commit to a life together, find out if your attitudes are compatible because chances are, they probably won't change.
Disagreement over money is one of the leading causes of divorce. The more you know about each other, especially about each other's approach to handling money, the better the chances that the relationship will last.
How do you plan to spend Valentine's Day? Will you think about money, or go all out with a splurge? I'd love to hear your comments.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Countdown to Financial Fitness: Staying on Track with Goals: We're a month into the new year, and many resolutions, although made with the best intentions, have already fallen by the wayside. But ...