Google “How to Save Money”, and you are going to be overwhelmed with all of the choices. There are thousands of blogs and websites out there that offer money-saving tips and deals. However, being a faithful follower to some of these sites has caused me to spend more money. How is that possible?
I know I am not the only one who has fallen victim to spending money after reading a money-saving blog. Many days, I start my computer time by looking at my budget and inputting any new expenses. I know the limits on each budget category. However, once I head over to some of my favorite money saving sites, I feel the compulsion to spend.
How can I pass up that coupon deal for Whole Foods on Groupon? Look those adorable scarves are only $4 each, I can buy my Christmas presents early. Or look there, a coupon for applesauce pouches to make them only .35 cents a pouch – let me run to Target ASAP to get them.
Don’t think that I am blaming these sites, of course! My favorite sites have also been very beneficial getting free items or great deals, as well. However, keep these three thoughts in mind before you browse your favorite money saving site:
When I saw an applesauce pouch deal, I printed out all of the coupons to go forward with the deal. Yes, I was getting the pouches at about 50% off their shelf price, but the truth was, I was still overpaying for applesauce. It didn’t help that my 20-month old would suck down 3-4 pouches in minutes. I could just see the dollars being sucked away in her adorable chubby cheeks. After all was said and done, I had spent about $20 on applesauce that lasted about three weeks. The truth was I could have made a whole crockpot full of applesauce* for less than $10, and it would have lasted me longer since it would have been more sauce. I would have even saved time since for the pouch deal; I spent time researching and finding all of the right coupons.
Ask yourself, is this deal worth it? Is it worth my time to drive to the store and clip coupons?
Do I Even Need This?
What good is it to save money on purchases if you are buying things that you don’t really need? The expense of clutter is much greater than you think. Once I purged my house, I really didn’t want to spend money on building more clutter. I had five sets of plates. Some sets were bought very inexpensively, but in the end, they just took up more cabinet space and made me feel like I would never get caught up with dishes.
Wait on deals for a few hours – a whole day if possible. Allow the initial excitement to die down. If you have to be impulsive about your decision, then it will most likely be an impulse buy that you didn’t need. Another great idea is to talk it over with your spouse or partner, since they may help you think logically before buying. Finally, it is easy to have a list of things you need to buy. This way, when a deal pops up, you can easily decide if you need the deal or not based on your list.
You Aren’t Saving Money if You Are Spending It
It always makes me laugh when I buy a few things from Kohls and they tell me I saved a ridiculous amount. For example, buying a sweater, toddler shoes, and a nice gift all on clearance and with coupons has made the receipt tell me that I saved over $200. That sounds good, but the truth is that I would have never spent over $200, especially for the items I bought.
If you are on a tight budget, then saving $25 on a $50 on a restaurant gift certificate or saving 75% off of processed groceries you wouldn’t have bought usually is not actually saving you money. It can be hard to be on a budget with little wiggle room, but if you adapt a “Just Say No” policy, you will benefit. Just say no to spending any money, even if it looks like a great deal, just say no to spending an hour printing out coupons and looking up deal match ups, and just say no to driving out of your way to a store for one deal. Just say no, and enjoy staying on budget.
Like I said, I don’t have anything against deal sites and money saving blogs. However, if you find your being compelled to spend instead of save after visiting these sites, it is wise to take a step back until you can learn some discipline. It has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but my wallet is much fuller!