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There are plenty of good ways to save money, many of them pretty obvious. Get rid of cable TV; eat out less; turn off the lights when you’re not in the room, etc. There are also a few slightly less obvious ways to save – ways that may even seem a little backwards at first glance.
Common sense seems to dictate that the less shopping you do, the more money you save. While that may be true in most instances, it may not be the case for you, especially if you’re not great at setting a schedule and sticking to it.
If you have an issue wasting food (which is statistically probable, given that nearly one-third all food produced in the world ends up going to waste), long-term grocery planning may not be your strong suit. And that’s fine! I personally find that when I try to plan meals out for an entire week, things inevitably go awry and something goes to waste. So instead, I tend to shop in four day cycles. This makes it easier to invest in fresh produce and helps ensure I use up everything I bought.
When you’re trying to save money, the less expensive option will always look the most appealing. Cheaper, older, secondhand – however you get there, if it costs less, it will almost always jump to the head of the line.
But cheaper rarely means better, and a dollar saved today could cost you five times over in the future. That’s why spending more for higher quality can often be such a worthwhile, money-saving investment. From mattresses to dress shoes, when you invest in high quality goods, it can save you money in the long run. You can and should still be choosey, of course. Do plenty of research and price comparison before making your selection.
Unplanned expenses can be budget-busters, and unplanned splurges can be even more damaging. When you’re living on a tight budget or trying to save money, you may feel routinely tempted to break from your frugal lifestyle and splurge. That’s natural – the more constricted your spending is, the more you’re going to feel that desire to buy something.
Rather than running away from those urges, consider working them into your spending plan. In much the same way that athletes on a strict diet allow themselves to have a “cheat day”, you can build a planned splurge into your budget. You don’t have to plan out your purchase, just leave a space in your budget – once a month or once a paycheck – and use those funds to “cheat”. By having your splurge planned out, you scratch that itch, but you’re prepared for it and your budget is designed to support it.
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