Anybody can spend money. A wise person knows how to make money work harder.
Don’t spend more than you need to spend.
It’s easy to spend money. Spending it wisely is hard. If you’ve ever heard the advice, “never go to the grocery store without a list or when you’re hungry,” chances are you know why: you’re likely to buy more than you need and spend more, too. Therefore, these tips from FTC may be helpful:
- Shop around. A “sale” price isn’t always the “best” price. Some merchants may offer a sale price on the item you want for a limited time; others may offer the same items at a discount every day. Other merchants may offer a deep discount on one item – but only if you agree to spend a minimum that is several hundred dollars more! It may take more time but with money saved it may well be worth it.
- Go online. Check out websites that compare prices. If you decide to buy from an online merchant, keep shipping costs, delivery time and sales tax in mind.
- Look for price-matching policies. Some merchants will match, or even beat, a competitor’s prices.
- Clip coupons. Coupons are useful when they save you money on what you’re already planning to buy. You can find some coupons in the Sunday paper or often, at coupon exchanges at your local library. Or you can download others – full coupons or simply codes – from manufacturer and retail sites online. If you are shopping online, you simply enter the coupon code at checkout.
- Use debit and credit cards sparingly. To minimize interest and other charges, try to limit credit card purchases to an amount you can pay in full at the end of the month. These interest charges can really add up!! If you use a debit card, don’t rely on an overdraft feature to spend money you don’t have. When you leave your house, carry only the card you may need to use rather than all your cards “just in case.”
- Keep track of your spending. Incidental and impulse purchases add up. Jotting down what you spend after every purchase helps keep you mindful of your limits.Good idea to also compare these purchases to your budget.
- Review purchases. At least once a month, use credit card, checking, and other records to review what you’ve bought. Then ask yourself if it makes sense to reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account.
You can find more tips and tools to manage your money on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.