Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Frugal Files: Teach Me How to Save, 8 Ways

Hey there frugalicious folks!!

People always ask me how to save and want me to teach them how to save. For me, it’s a loaded question, and unless they are looking to save in one particular way, it’s almost impossible to answer the question. For me saving money and being frugalicious is a way of life. It’s every moment of every day and it’s the thinking that I can live fabulously and pay less than fabulous prices.

One tip I can give anyone who ever asks me about saving is that I play games and attempt to trick myself. My basic saving rule of thumb is, “never pay full price”. Then I set out to experiment with that theory on everything I ever need or want. Here are eight ways that I “trick” myself into living a frugal life and saving in every direction I go.

Comparison shopping. This is a game many people pay, and many salesmen pounce on you. Anyone that is trying to sell you something will always create a sense of urgency, that really isn’t a factor. They try to make you think it’s a factor, so they can get the sale. The fact is, you have plenty of time to shop, you can wait it out and the “hot item” is not going that fast. You want to know why? Because, if you want to buy it, they will have one for you to purchase. They always want the sale, but want you to think it’s urgent, so don’t fall for it. Take your time and do not give into the instant gratification. Chances are you can find a better sale or some discount.

Freecycle. This is kind of a comparison shopping trick for me too. Things I really don’t want to buy because maybe it’s a small thing or maybe just not in the budget this month. So many great things pop up on freecycle and sometimes you don’t even have to ask. I have found some great home décor items there. They were a little dusty, but were in great shape. Recently, I was at Savers looking for a pair of black shoes for work. Nothing fancy, just something comfortable in a basic black. I found a pair, but was not sold on them, so I didn’t purchase them. Then, that evening, a freecycler posted a “like new” pair of black, leather mules…in my size. I knew they were just for me, so I emailed them and I was able to pick them up the next day. They are perfect, just what I needed. Free!!

Bank Games. On the financial side, I keep my checkbook in check by fudging the numbers, but in a good way. First, I watch my bank account online daily, so at any given time, I know what I have. However, when I’m not online and I glance at my checkbook, it’s balanced off by $50. I use that amount as a buffer in my account, so that I’ll never get it down to $0. It helps keep it balanced knowing I always have a $50 cushion in there in case there’s a bank or purchase mishap like a double charge. It keeps stress levels down.

DIY. Many ask me all the time, what is "DIY"? It simply means "Do It Yourself" and when you live a frugal life, this is a staple in it. While I'm not opposed to paying for someone else's expertise when I just don't know what I'm, most times, I find I can get a better deal if I do it myself. "Myself" occasionally includes family and friends that will assist me in my goal.

There are so many DIY articles, videos, blogs including my own. I even did a DIY series a while back. Check out these links to read them: DIY BeautyDIY Faces & BodyDIY DecorDIY Cleaning I and DIY Cleaning II. There are plenty of ways to save by doing things yourself, if you just try.

Entertainment Tricks. I think with the stress of jobs, family and overall living, everyone is looking for an outlet and that's typically in the form of entertainment. Ways to save there is to rent movies from Redbox or even the library, play games you already have at home. Attend free events your local library, museum or university is sponsoring. What to see concerts or plays for free? Sign up or get hired as an usher. You get to meet great people, while ensuring you and them alike are thoroughly entertained.

Creative cooking. This is can be you cooking up some fancy vittles for a dinner party, but in this case, creative cooking means cupboard cooking; cooking what you have. My daughter would always whine that we didn't have anything to eat. It's because she'd already eaten up the easy snacks and things, but it is not my custom to go out and buy more of the easy stuff, when there's plenty of food on the shelves and in the freezer. Take an inventory of what you have and make a weekly or monthly menu. Mix and match meats, veggies and starches. Skip the meat occasionally and experiment with snacks. You might find that down deep, you're some kind of sous chef!!

Couponing and Sales. You all know this is my favorite savings tip. Make this your personal shopping mantra. If you want to buy something, find a coupon or coupon code to use on your transaction. Ask for a discount right at the counter. Buy something irregular or in the case of furniture or cars, purchase the display model. They can't charge you full price for it and it's often in really great shape. When grocery shopping, shop the stores with the best deals that will match with your coupons. Check out some additional Couponing Tricks of the Trade.

What ways can you teach yourself how to save? Where can you spend less? Set out to challenge yourself this week. Always ask yourself how you can get a better deal. Good luck to you and happy saving!!

Frugalicious Diva
Follow me on Twitter at @FrugaliciousDva

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