Have you ever come across an item that you know you will use at some point – only to realize you can’t afford it right this minute? At the same time, it’s on sale now so you can’t really afford to walk away either! What to do?
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the number of times you encounter the above quandary, to the point that you may be able to eliminate the scenario entirely. And the journey is easier than you might think: it’s simply a matter of planning!
Here are some painless “habit adjustments” you can make on a daily basis to ensure you have more coins in your purse when it counts:
- Never go shopping without a list and never buy an item not listed
- Avoid shopping for food when you’re hungry and for everything else when you’re tired: both times you are more likely to make unwise decisions and impulse buys
- Don’t carry a credit card or debit card in your wallet
- If you operate on a cash basis, only spend bills and save all of your coins at the end of the day – you’d be amazed at how quickly your change adds up to “bonus” money that you haven’t factored into your budget at the end of the month
- Never buy the first version of a new product, wait for an update or the next generation
One of the best ways to be prepared in the budget department when your sales arrive is to be aware of the upcoming sales!
- Sign up for email notifications of special promotions on your favorite products and stores
- Visit the official website of your main retail stores and product manufacturers where last minute deals and ongoing sales campaigns are often posted. Look over their clearance section
- Scan in-store circulars, websites, magazines and newspapers for coupons and promotional discounts
Finally, by developing a keen awareness of the retail sales calendar, you can be ready for the annually-recurring reductions on many mainstream products:
- Buy items in their off-season: winter clothes are cheaper when it’s warmer out and vice versa with swim suits and shorts
- After-holiday sales are great opportunities to purchase discounted items for next year: non-perishables like wrapping paper, greeting cards and decorations are great examples
- Stock up on items you know you will need: toilet paper, towels, canned foods, frozen food, etc.
- Purchase “last year’s models” of items just before the new kids come on the block. Buy an iPhone 4S instead of the pricey new iPhone 5
What other ways have you found to save a bit here and there so that the funds are available when you need them?
Norman Fong is Co-Founder of BuyVia, an online and iOS App smart shopping service that lists reputable products from top online stores, at the best price available. By downloading the BuyVia iOS App to their iPhone or iPad, consumers can be alerted to the best deals on the most popular products, anywhere and anytime.