Smart Spending Strategies to Start Today

Everyone is feeling the pinch these days and looking for ways to cut their spending. Intending to practice smart spending is one thing, though, and accomplishing it another for a number of reasons. First, old habits can be hard to break. Second, new habits take time to become second nature. Third, the person having trouble with their smart spending strategies needs to understand their relationship with money can be a complex one.

Financial Fitness
In the same way that it is so tough to diet, eat right and exercise, financial fitness can be an elusive goal because of the emotions involved in spending. An emotional high, because the person is bored, the reward mentality; these all come into play when it comes to out of control spending. There is even shopping addiction, both online and in the real world.

“I work hard, so I deserve this,” is true to a certain extent. But that person also deserves financial security, with savings for an emergency and enough money to live on to enjoy a comfortable retirement if they start planning early and stick to their plan.

Financial fitness can help people through unhealthy times in their life when money is scarce, such as the loss of a job or poor health through illness or accident.

Emotional Issues Connected with Money
One of the biggest challenges is the “Me too” thinking that is so prevalent in modern society. “Everyone has one, so why not me?” Except that you may not really want it or need it. Why buy an iPod if that person really doesn’t like listening to music everywhere they go.

Then there is the “accessorize” mentality. They buy the iPod and then “need” all the other little gadgets that go with it.
Electronic gadgets and the perception of newness is also a real danger. Some people will change their cell phones every three months or line up for hours just to buy the latest trendy laptop. Yes, it looks gorgeous, but is it really a need, or just another item on the list of never-ending desires they are constantly on a quest to fulfill?

Keeping Track of Spending
To establish one’s emotional relationship to money, track spending for a whole week, when, what, why, and what feeling drove the expense. “Was surfing online, saw this great pair of earrings,” suggests both boredom and a want versus need mentality. “Needed the latest music from iTunes,” is a habit you can get out of once you see how much you are spending.

Look over your household budget carefully. If you don’t have one, now is the time to start. Using the budget and the tracking worksheet, see where your money is really going. Then try to plug the holes in where the money is going and divert the cash from spending into a savings account.

An Attitude of Gratitude
One of the ways to cut down on spending is to look at all the positive things in one’s life which money can’t buy, friends, family, pets. Money obviously helps to enjoy the better things in life, but there is no need for closets full of clothes and shoes that have never even been worn. If a person finds himself or herself bringing new purchases home and then just leaving them in the bag or putting them away unused, that is the sure sign of emotional spending.

If a person lies about what they spent on something, or hides the fact that they have been shopping, that too is a sign of shopping addiction or an unhealthy relationship with money. The next time they are tempted to go shopping, they should instead go through their closets to find all the things they have bought that they have not used and either appreciate and use them, or find a smart strategy for dealing with the mistake they have made.

This can include selling them new or like-new on eBay, donating to charity, or going to a clothes swap or consignment shop.

Taking Control of Your Money

If the person discovers they have a ton of items they have never even used, all is not lost. Items in good condition can be sold on EBay or Craigslist. More scuffed up items can be donate to a charity like the Salvation Army, and they can get a receipt. The amount on the receipt can then be deducted from their taxes at the end of the year.

There are many ways to cut corners and adopt smart spending and saving strategies. Once a person identified their emotional issues with money and spending it will be easy to get rid of old habits and start to save more.


More Smart Spending Strategies

Re-thinking your relationship with money and spending is the key to smart spending and savings.
One of the main reasons many people over-spend is out of boredom. Another is that they are out with friends and there is social pressure to spend in order to have a good time. However, the important thing about socializing should be whom we spend time with, not how much we spend.

Spending Time and Money Wisely

If a person finds that they have too much leisure time on their hands that gives them a lot of time to spend out of boredom, there are a number of things they can do to spend more smartly. They can take a second job or use their skills or a favorite hobby to start a business of their own to start bringing in more money. They can collect recyclable cans and bottles with the whole family, or just make the time to take their own back to the store to get the deposits back. They can all add up to big savings.

If a person finds themselves spending a lot on things like eating out, they can start to learn how to cook themselves to save money and eat better. This can also be a very romantic date night for a couple cooking together at home. If a person enjoy cocktails when they go out (in moderation of course), they can learn how to mix them themselves. If they enjoy wine, in many cases they can buy a whole bottle for what one glass will cost at a local bar or restaurant.

If they have a bad latte habit, they can invest in a disc-based coffee machine system and flavored non-fat creamers to save both money and calories. If they spend a lot on lunch every day, they can brown bag it. With all the money they save, they can set a goal to keep them motivated, such as a nice vacation, a new car, or something with a real dollar value to it. In this way they can put the money aside in a special savings account and see how their money starts to build up in order to get to their target amount.

If smart spending strategies sounds like a bad time out, not a good one, you can still socialize, just more frugally. Instead of going to the movies with friends, get a subscription to Netflix and rent DVDs or stream video from Netflix or Amazon.

Instead of an expensive gym membership, try the YMCA, or rent exercise workout DVDs from Netflix and try a variety of routines so you can keep fit and never be bored. Invite friends over for an exercise session and maybe even a pot luck meal afterwards.

Don’t forget to use the local library as well. They will have loads of books, DVDs and magazines and can consider requests when they are allocating their budget, so there will be no need to buy them yourself. If you have a lot of CDs and DVDs, sell them on eBay or second-hand in the Amazon Marketplace. If you have bought them from Amazon, they will even buy them back from you. Just go to the page for the product you purchased and look on the right hand side for instructions if you want to sell it back.

Savings Around the Home
Many people can also save a great deal of money by learning to repair things themselves if they break, or do their own painting and other simple home repairs instead of paying someone else to do it for them. Replacing old appliances even if they are still working may sound like a strange idea, but the energy efficiency of new appliances can add up to huge savings on the water, gas and electric bills.
Making sure the house and boiler has good insulation, setting the thermostat or air conditioner a degree or two lower, can all add up.

Also have a look at the cable bill, internet and phone bill. Is that bundled package really the best deal? When is the last time anyone watched all those channels on cable? It may sound like only $10, but that adds up to an extra $120 a year for other things.

We’ve already suggested renting DVDs. It is also possible to do that with computer games. Or try something that doesn’t require electricity, like a good old fashioned board game or card game night at home with family or friends, or neighbors. Renting big ticket items or pooling resources amongst the neighbors such as gardening tools can also help save money.

The company RAC will allow you to rent, with a view to buy as well. Just be sure you really need the item and are not just indulging yourself.

Shopping Smarter
Everyone will have to spend at some point, but comparison shopping is one way to save money. Also think about cutting coupons, shopping only the sale specials in the local supermarkets and buying a chest freezer. The freezer can not only be used to stock up on good store bargains, it can be used to store homemade “TV dinners” made from cooking large portions, eating the meal once or perhaps twice with the leftovers on another day, and then freezing the rest. The meals can then be used for lunch on the go or a handy meal to heat and eat in the microwave.

Other Daily Ways to Save
Is driving to work really the cheapest option, or taking public transport? Can you organize carpooling with colleagues or neighbors? Can you give up your coffee habit for a week to see how much you save? Best of all, can you kick butt and stop smoking, for even bigger savings in terms of money and your health?

There are many ways to cut corners and adopt smart spending and saving strategies. All it takes is a little creativity and the willingness to put savings ahead of spending.


Saving Money, Investing Wisely in 2012: Insider Secrets on How to Make the Most of Your Money in this Ongoing Recession

Smart Spending Strategies: Cut Your Spending and Cure Consumerism

How to Use the Internet to Save Money


Best Bargains for July

Aahhh! It’s time for summer cookouts. I bet you can just smell the charcoal?
What could be better than eating outside in the warmer weather.

You will soon hear lots of requests for hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings.
Summer can be an expensive time of year with the children home and wanting to be entertained, but you can save money on food at this time of year by shopping the sale, and getting all those delicious “fixings” on sale!

Check out the best buys at your grocery stores in July on cookout items such as:

•Bottled water
•Tea bags
•Ground beef
•Hot dogs
•Barbecue sauce
•Hamburger and hot dog buns
•Popsicles and other frozen treats
•Ice cream/sorbet

Don’t forget your fresh summer produce:

•Green beans

These necessary non-food items to complete your picnics also have special sales in July:

•Paper plates
•Disposable cups
•Plastic eating utensils
•Charcoal Lighter Fluid

If you need to replace any furniture, July is the month to find it on sale. Shop the 4th of July sales whenever possible. The 4th is on a Wednesday this year, which can mean extended 5 days sales from the weekend right through to mid-week.

Enjoy the warmer weather and get started shopping for bargains.

And don’t forget, back to school will be just around the corner next month, so shop smartly.


Saving Money, Investing Wisely in 2012 – Insider Secrets on How to Make the Most of Your Money in this Ongoing Recession


How to Save Money at the Hair Salon

Tip: Save Money on Haircuts by Using Beauty Schools and New Salons
How Much Can You Save? $14 or more on your haircuts every six weeks

Everyone’s trying to think of new ways to save money. Where in your budget have you not cut your spending? You might want to consider saving money you spend for haircuts.

If you live close to a beauty school, check out the types of services they provide to the community. Keep in mind that the students need models to “practice on.” Don’t worry, though because their work is closely supervised by well-trained, experienced beauticians. If anything goes wrong, they will make good on your cut.

One local beauty academy offers cuts with a shampoo and blow-dry for $11.00. If you’re currently paying $25.00 for those same services, you would be able to save $14.00 every time you get those services at a beauty school. That’s over 50% savings. If you go to an even more expensive salon, you can save even more.

For men, a typical haircut runs at least $15.00. However, at a beauty school, you could pay as low as $8.00 for the same service. Again, that is a savings of almost 50% and can certainly add up over time.

Another option to save money on your haircuts is to seek out newly-opening salons in your area.

New salons typically have advertised specials and offer coupon savings to get people in the door to try their services. They will also bundle several high-value items into one low price. Watch your local newspaper for announcements and advertising for newly-opened hair salons who will be eagerly looking for clients so you can take advantage of reduced charges for haircuts.

Keep extra money in your pocket every six weeks by getting your haircuts at beauty schools and the newly opening salons in your local area, and have your spouse and kids to the same for their haircuts, and you will soon see the savings add up.


Best Shopping Bargains in March

Before you know it, the first day of spring will be here. Along with March’s arrival, grocery stores will offer some nice buys.

The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association has declared March to be National Frozen Food Month. And who will benefit from this designation? You, the shopper!

You’ll notice several coupons for frozen food items and great sales at your grocery store, too. Combine the two of them and you’ll save big money. It’s definitely the month to stock the freezer.

• Frozen Foods
• Lettuce
• Mangoes
• Pineapples

Non-food items are also available at bargain basement pricing. Boats are on sale again this month as showrooms need to be cleared for the new incoming models.

If you love good deals on perfume, March is your month. Because the perfume industry’s biggest shopping days are in December (holidays) and February (Valentine’s Day), their figures take a dive in March. So, in order to keep moving perfume off the shelves in March, they mark down their prices significantly. This is a great time to get that perfect birthday gift, or plan ahead to Mother’s Day!

Also, it’s almost time for gardening! Gardening tools are also on special this month, so check your wish list for garden implements.

If you don’t mind last year’s patterns, flatware and China will also be on sale in March. Here’s the quick list of March non-food deals:

• Boats
• Perfumes
• Gardening Tools
• Flatware
• China
• Luggage

Fill your freezer with frozen food deals this month. Then, prepare for gardening by purchasing all the tools you need on sale. Finally, take advantage of pricing on perfumes. When it’s all over, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking forward to next March!


Success Strategies for Saving Money at the Holidays, Part 1

The best way to save money at the holidays is to be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t afford. Don’t burden yourself with debt, or feel guilty if you don’t have much or indeed any money for the holidays.

The holidays seem to be synonymous with gifts, parties, food and alcohol. But not that long ago in England, the Christmas stockings hung from the mantelpiece by the fire were considered stuffed to the brim if there was an orange and a sixpence in them (about a dime).

We are not sure how things have become so commercialized in the past few decades, but with the current economic recession still biting hard, this year is the right time to get back to basics. For example, do you really need to buy a gift for everyone in the family? Or more than one gift per person. Is quality important, or quantity?

Each family will have to decide these things for themselves, but it is important to ask the question. If you have a large family, can you do a Secret Santa in order to just gift to one? Or can all the adults agree that Christmas this year will just be for the children, and that they get to ask for a list of three things and Santa will be bringing them one as a surprise?
(Continued in Part 2)


Smart Spending Tips for November

Here is your November Finance Calendar to help you save money.

November1-30 Real Jewelry Month.

With silver and gold prices steadily increasing, this month is the perfect time to start investing in silver and gold with some wise jewelry purchases. Don’t get taken in by diamonds-the man-made ones are everywhere. Precious metals have shown long-term value for centuries. Look for a high K rating; the higher the number for example 18K gold, the more pure it is. (24K is completely pure, but too soft to wear safely.)

1st Request a free annual copy of your credit reports.

Get your free copy of your credit report from one of the credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian or Trans Union. Alternate which report you request every four months to ensure you have a balanced look at your credit throughout the year, rather than getting all three at once and then not knowing what is happening until next year, unless you want to pay to find out more.

1st Seniors age 70.5+ need to start to draw down on their IRAs.

This is the deadline to take out your required minimum distribution from your tax-deferred retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(K). An accountant can help you calculate the required amount you need to withdraw by the end of the year. Remember that the IRS will penalize you if you don’t take out the required minimum. If you don’t want to spend it, put it in another form of investment, or start shopping for the holidays.

3rd Sandwich Day.

This day is a tribute to the now global phenomenon of the sandwich, named after the Earl of Sandwich, a notorious gambler who didn’t want to leave the gaming tables. He had his servants put his meat between two slices of bread, and the rest, as they say, is history.

You will not want to gamble with your family’s fortunes, however, so use this say as a reminder to save money by brown-bagging your lunch at least 3 days each week to add to your savings. If you can manage to do it for all 5 days, you will be the king or queen of frugal lunches. Start today with a tasty sandwich made with your favorite ingredients and celebrate your road to more savings.

4th Use Your Common Sense Day.

Turn Common Sense Day into Common Cents Day with smart saving techniques like clipping coupons and shopping supermarket sales. Your savings can really add up when you use strategies like these every week. Set financial goals and online bank accounts for each of the goals, for example, college savings, a Christmas fund and a vacation fund. Apply what you save on lunches out and unskillful shopping to these accounts and watch yourself get nearer and nearer to your goals.

11th Veterans Day.

Remember how veterans are the reason you can celebrate the freedoms you have today. Volunteer your time or money to help a veteran. Think about hiring a veteran if you are a business owner. Think about helping the families of those who are still serving overseas. To help completely free every day, go online to and click on the purple button to donate free food to animal shelters around the country. Then click on the tab for Veterans, and click on the button to help support veterans in need and their families.

The Great American Smokeout.

The American Cancer Society sponsors this movement on the third Thursday of every November. Today is the day to give up smoking for 24 hours to see if you can quit forever. Think of the savings that can add up if you get rid of your $10 or so per day habit.


This is an important holiday in America in which people get together with family and friends to give thanks. It falls on the last Thursday of November every year. Even though you may be preparing a huge holiday meal for family or friends, you can still do Thanksgiving on the cheap by shopping the sales beforehand for all the canned and packaged goods and getting a frozen turkey at the start of the month. Plan your meals and menu carefully to stretch all the food as far as it will go. Don’t make yourself and everyone else miserable (and fat!) by forcing them to eat leftovers for days after.

Instead, package up a little of everything into your own ‘TV dinners’ that can be heated quickly in a microwave for lunch or dinner. You will save on eating out this way and have healthy meals on hand any time. Just be sure to go light on the butter and cream in all your recipes. There is really no need to drench delicious potatoes or sweet potatoes in butter, milk or marshmallows. Some careful shopping and common sense can ensure that you don’t break your budget or bloat your belly.

Black Friday.

Traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year, with bargain hunters out in droves. Get some early Christmas shopping done and you may save some money on popular items such as electronics and toys. But know what things cost before you buy and keep all receipts in case you need to return anything. Also pay attention to price match guarantees-if you find a lower price, take advantage of it.

Cyber Monday.

The Internet age brought in the addition of Cyber Monday, similar to Black Friday but for online businesses to run their own super sales. Try to plan ahead so you can buy what you need and save money on some early Christmas shopping. Be sure to comparison shop and buy from trusted retailers. Also be prepare for errors on websites or even crashes as some sites struggle to cope with desperate bargain hunters.

Be careful with those credit cards.

Remember that if you are shopping online, you will most likely be using a credit card. Keep track of your purchase to avoid credit card fraud and overspending. It isn’t a great bargain if you will be paying for the item months or even years after you buy it (or even after it has broken and been replaced!).

Keep in mind that credit card companies make their main profits from people who get into trouble with debt. Make sure you will be able to pay off the bill in full when it arrives at the end of the month, and you should have happy holidays indeed, especially if you manage to snap up some bargains in the month of November.

Further Reading

How to Use the Internet to Save Money

YOUR RECESSION SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Save Money and Even Boost Your Income in This Recession

Smart Spending Strategies]]>


Getting Ready for the Holidays Bargain List – November

These are just a few of the items you will want to add to your shopping list and try to get at the best prices.

Fruits and Vegetables

*Sweet potatoes
*Winter squash

Grocery Savings

*Baking supplies
*Pie crusts and readymade dough
*Frozen pies
*Dinner rolls
*Cake mix and frosting
*Pie fillings
*Nuts (peanuts, pecans and walnuts for baking and so on)
*Dried fruits
*Halloween clearance candy (especially if they do not have Halloween wrappers on them. If they do have orange wrappers, use them around Thanksgiving.)
*Soup (low sodium if you can find it)
*Broth (low sodium if you can find it)

Other Non-Food Items:

*Trees, bulbs and shrubs
*Christmas gifts
*Aluminum foil
*Baking pans
*Plastic wrap

YOUR RECESSION SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Save Money and Even Boost Your Income in This Recession

Smart Spending Strategies