Let’s face it, money is tight these days. With the economy on a constant roller coaster, watching your dollar and making sure you get the most for it, is more important than ever. To assist you in your budget stretching skills, Skinnymom called on two experts in the field of “more bang for your buck”; Danny Kofke, author of “A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and Your Kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money” and Julie Vlahon from Techbargains.com.
Danny Kofke’s best tips require very little effort; he simply suggests rethinking the way you normally buy things, and making a few minor adjustments:
Make a list…Kofke says that the biggest trap that most people fall into is impulse purchases. In order to avoid this costly hazard, he suggests making a list before you go shopping and committing to buying only from that list. Take your time and figure out what you really need and visit only the aisles that pertain to items on your list.
Get a new cell phone plan… While we all love our SmartPhones, it is rather questionable as to whether or not we actually need them. Most cell plans can cost $180+/month, which comes to $2,160/year! Downgrade to a phone with fewer bells and whistles or better yet, get a pre-paid plan on a basic phone. Most pre-paid plans average $30-60/month saving you $1,440-1,800/year.
Use your library… The library has much more to offer than shelves of books to check out. Today’s libraries have magazines, CD’s and even DVD’s. All you need to pay is the cost of a membership which averages about $25/year and you’ll have a world of entertainment at your fingertips.
Save a little every day… Try making your own coffee at home versus spending $4.50 for a Starbucks or bring your lunch three days a week instead of buying. These changes may seem like nothing but the switch can save you around $1,800/year. Even bringing in your own snacks or six pack of soda versus hitting the vending machines can lead to major savings in the long run.
Use Coupons when you can… Yes, we all hate the coupon lady who ties up the line at the grocery store, but if we all saw the money she’s saving each week we may just want to hop on her bandwagon. Using coupons for your everyday items may seem like it’s only saving you a few cents here and there, but add all of those small savings up and you can save on average $1,600-2,000/year.
If you’re great at saving on the usual day-to-day items but tend to go a little crazy when it comes to tech related items, Julie Vlahon makes these suggestions:
Shop at the right time… Wait until the season is about to pass before you pick up items like swimsuits or summer items and you could save up to 50%. Holding off on purchasing that new laptop until school starts or making the effort to hit black Friday for a new television, could save you hundreds of dollars as well.
Go for refurbished… Everything from books and clothing to cell phones can be purchased refurbished (and usually at half the cost). The only thing to be cautious of is warranties. Whenever purchasing a tech item, refurbished or new, always make sure there is a warranty.
Go for discounts… Sites like Amazon.com offer major discounts on items you regularly buy. If you subscribe to Amazon for regular purchases, you can even save an additional 10-20%.
So don’t give up your family vacation this year (or even your insatiable shoe addiction)! Use these tips to cut corners where you can and learn to shop smarter.
For more information on Danny Kofke, visit http://www.dannykofke.blogspot.com/