One of the biggest myths in saving money is that you have to give up everything you love. How many budget experts or debt reduction specialists have told you to just give up your Starbucks each week and you’ll have money in the bank? While you can certainly save a ton of money by not doing things, it isn’t going to be very much fun. It’s no surprise you can’t seem to stick with a money saving system that leaves you feeling so deprived. What comes as a surprise to most people is the knowledge that you can do anything you want to do, for less, if you know where to look. When you are used to a certain lifestyle or develop favorite brands, it can be difficult to make the changes you need to save money.
Just remember, frugality is about changing how you spend money, not changing how you live. Brand loyalty has its place, even if you can get another brand for a lower cost. There are often brands that you just can’t let go of, especially if it just works better. For example, my friend Julie will only use Sephora cosmetics. She’s adamant about it it and, therefore, pays a lot more for her makeup than someone who is not brand specific. However, purchasing Sephora through Ebates results in an 8% cash back rebate. It may not be as low cost as CoverGirl, but it will still lower your own budget just a little bit. This works on everything from everyday groceries to Jimmy Choos because almost everything will go on sale, eventually.
The key is being patient and buying when the sale hits. The Dave Ramsey envelope system is a great way to be sure you will have the funds you need to purchase when the time arrives. Simply set aside a set amount (even if it’s only $1) for every conceivable spending category each month. When a sale occurs or a great coupon is offered, you’ll be ready for it! Couponing is, of course, one of the greatest ways to save money. You can find coupons for groceries, health & beauty, dining, travel, entertainment and even upscale stores or restaurants. Visit the website for all of your favorites and register for any programs, clubs or newsletters they have available to receive regular discounts, coupons and special offers.
If you are looking to drastically reduce your budget, you will need to cut out or reduce expenses. Rather than eliminating everything at the same time, prioritize. Make a list of your expenses, in order of importance to you. Cut out the bottom few instantly. Work on scaling back the next few and don’t touch the top items, except to find less expensive ways to do what you love. You can enjoy fine dining on a fast food budget, find your favorite upscale products for less and live the life you want, inexpensively. As we move into the new year, we’ll be focusing on helping you lower your budget without lowering your standards. Just let us know what you want to save money on!