Turning on Your “Saving Money” Thinking Cap

In these times when money is tight and getting tighter, it pays to think about new ways to save money. Luckily, those ideas are in ample supply. One of the most basic is simply to explore ways to change old habits. People spend money more or less automatically in flush times because there are things they want. Hey, who doesn’t? Adjusting those habits may be hard, but it doesn’t have to be painful.

Consider all those weeks you eat out three or four times. Couldn’t once per week satisfy your desire for something new, yet still, keep the gloom at bay? You can still enjoy life by making meals at home for a special event. You trade a little more of your time and effort to retain a lot of your cash.

Or, think about all the spontaneous purchases you make at the grocery store, shopping mall, and elsewhere. Those are fun. But, like indulging in too much good food, they can lead to excess. In this, the scales are reversed. Here, as you gain stuff you lose cash that can be used for other things. Prepare yourself mentally for some short-term tradeoffs and avoid long-term pain.

Think of new places to shop that offer big discounts. In the golden days, you might have a favorite shop or store, maybe several. In hard times, look for new places and new venues for buying the things you’ve decided you really need now.

It’s still true, for example, that most people spend only a small percentage of their shopping dollars online. That’s understandable since shopping retail can be fun and it’s even more so when we can see and touch the items. But shifting more of your spending to the Internet can save you big time and you still get the pleasure of getting more of what you want.

Some people avoid that alternative, thinking that they can’t tell whether the item they get will be what they really wanted. But with contemporary online software, free shipping, and easy exchange you can buy shoes, clothes, and more without risk. You can even buy items you thought too large and exchange them if need be. King-sized beds sold online sell for hundreds less than what they cost in a retail store and most manufacturers will willingly pick up any item up to 30 days after delivery.

You can avoid many costly purchases in the first place by curbing ‘must buy now’ impulses. Amazon pioneered the idea of making customer feedback available from every purchaser. Spend the time to read some comments, discounting the occasional unreasonable gripe, and you can save hundreds by spending wisely after a little research.

Try something new to save big, by doing careful research and curbing those impulses. Then you’ll have money left over to make life spontaneous and fun another time by spending that cash elsewhere.


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