Making a calculated effort to snip your expenses isn't easy. While there are things you can do to ease the pain of cutting back, tracking spending requires daily budgeting and discipline. Clearly, some days are better than others. Most of you agree that weekends are the hardest time to keep your wallet in your purse, but there are some simple ways you can bank on time-of-day discounts throughout the week. How can you save by spending on the right days?
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We try to stick to our shopping lists. We keep an eye out for sales, clip coupons, study the store circulars, and even go so far as to leave the credit cards at home in order to avoid impulse buying. And yet, most shoppers end up buying more than they bargained for—and that's exactly what retailers want them to do.
"Every single detail of your shopping experience—the placement of every shelf, box, sign, and restroom; the background music; color of paint on the wall; words the staff use to greet you—is a precisely orchestrated merchant-customer dance designed to achieve maximum sales results," writes Dayana Yochim at the finance and investing site The Motley Fool.
Customers have figured out the end-cap trick—the one where stores feature higher-priced goods on the ends of the aisles, where they're easy to see, and fill the back and center of the store with the everyday items people really went there to buy. And we all know to ignore the "impulse purchases" placed near the cash registers. So retailers have redoubled their efforts.
You know that cutting back will be better for you in the long run, but implementing a plan to spend less can sometimes feel impossible. It's not. You just need to sneak in little ways to make the whole thing less painless. Incorporate one or all 10 of these ways to take some of the sacrifice out of your mission to spend less money.
Financial regrets are difficult to avoid, but LearnVest shares how to stop a mistake before you make it.
A recent National Foundation For Credit Counseling (NFCC) online poll surveyed more than 2,200 people about their greatest financial regrets, and five financial actions — or inactions — topped the list.
- Habitually overspending
- Inadequately saving
- Buying a house
- Not buying a house
- Not saving enough for retirement
Frankly, what's "regrettable" depends on whose life — and financial situation — we're talking about: while buying a house could be the right move for one person, not buying a house could be better for another. When reading through these regrets and solutions, make sure to keep in mind what's right for you in your situation.
We're thrilled to present this smart LearnVest story here on Savvy!
Research psychologists have all the best tricks up their sleeves. Maybe it’s because they study humans like guinea pigs to figure out what really makes our complicated selves tick.
Feeling stressed? Reason yourself out of it (studies show this actually works). Rushed all the time? Slow down, and you’ll be a nicer person (a famous study we cite shows that this is true, no matter who you are).
Feeling broke? Or wish you could stretch your dollar more? We’d normally tell you to head straight to My Money Center and Budgeting Tool (you can’t have enough free tools at your fingertips) — but today, we’re going to give you a break. We’re going to let you in on an easy way to stretch your dollar and enhance your happiness, and it’s also totally free. It’s called savoring.
What Is Savoring?
Savoring is the ability to prolong and stretch enjoyment or positive emotional experiences. It’s the difference between wolfing down a meal vs. lingering over every bite. It relates to how much time you spend sitting in front of a sunset (if you even stop at all).
Scientists have consistently found that the ability to savor promotes happiness (see here or here). Which makes sense. The more you can prolong positive emotional experiences, the more positive emotions are filling up your day. In fact, the tendency to savor benefits individuals across the lifespan: studies show it predicts the subjective well-being for grade-school children, adolescents, college students, and the elderly.
Before and after the holidays, our in-boxes are flooded with discounts, sale emails, and deals that seem impossible to resist. Even worse, they're often loaded with urgency: save 30 percent off, two days only!
But shopping a few sales here and there on top of gift buying can add up to a massive credit-card bill at month's end. This season, I've been finding new ways to exercise willpower around all these sales, so check out my tips after the break.
More than half of you admit that spending more money on weekends is a given, but that doesn't always have to be the case. Challenging ourselves to occasionally be more mindful of our money on weekends may make us think twice before blowing our budgets on those days when watching our wallets isn't necessarily on our minds. Spend less this weekend by keeping yourself busy with one (or all!) of these inexpensive activities.
- Invite friends over for a clean-out-the-fridge fiesta: Clean out that fridge before it's full of Thanksgiving leftovers. Most of us have leftover ingredients from a weeknight meal or some kind of perishable that's nearing its expiration date. Invite friends to bring over some of the things in their refrigerators that they're afraid will go to waste. Ask them to give you a heads-up about their contributions in case everyone has lettuce on the brain, and ask them to revise their choices if necessary. Be creative and have fun concocting a meal with the items everyone brings!
Find out two more things to do when you read more
It seriously baffles me that so many people are living largely in debt! Many of us let our spending get out of control because swiping is so darn easy. Credit cards can give us instant gratification, but they can also do serious damage. To find out if you're a conscious spender, take the quiz.
Being engaged is a rare special occasion in life, so it's no wonder people go to great lengths to make it perfect. That need for perfection comes at a cost, and it's easy to get carried away. Your special wedding season Ask Savvy questions, like this one below, will be answered by SavvySugar and a very savvy bride. Submit your questions in our Ask Savvy group.
I was two paychecks away from paying down my credit card in full and then to my pleasant surprise, my boyfriend popped the question! Ever since we've been engaged, I've had this unrelenting need to spend money. With so many events coming up, I want a new outfit (dress, shoes, bag, etc.) for every one! I keep telling myself that I should enjoy this time since it'll only happen once in my life, but I know that's just an excuse that won't pay the bills. I want to enjoy my engagement and look good doing it, but how can I do that without getting back into credit card debt?
Don't Want to Go Broke Betsy
It's a common misconception that the weekend is when we let loose and splurge. But that fancy sandwich you bought on your lunch break Monday, the cup of coffee you buy every morning, and the magazines you can’t resist purchasing on your way home from work have a tendency to add up, making your week more expensive than necessary. Check out these stories for how to stay budget-conscience throughout the week.
- 10 Time-of-Day Discounts, From A.M. to P.M. — Timing is everything. Money-saving opportunities can be found all day long — if you arrive at the right time.
- How-to: Save by Spending on Select Days — Clearly, some days are better than others. Most of you agree that weekends are the hardest time to keep your wallet in your purse, but there are some simple ways you can bank on time-of-day discounts throughout the week.
- 9 Simple Ways to Save and Shop Smart — The truth is, everyone needs to save money. Even people on the Forbes 400 worry about the economy, possible job loss, and saving up for travel, retirement, and a rainy day. Here are a few simple ways to save day by day.
- 6 Ways to Save on Your Everyday Purchases and Afford Something You Really Want — In this economy, little treats, like my weekly gossip mag and a latte, are my no-fail pick-me-ups, even when I can't afford the new handbag I really want. Still, living on a budget doesn't mean splurges have to be totally out of the question.
- Savings Guide For Every Day of the Week — The simplest way to prioritize saving is to automate it, but there are countless other ways to maximize your saving potential.