Many people talk about how they want to save more money and live a frugal life, but they have a hard time putting it into play. I have some things that I budget really well and do good saving on, and others that I am no good at all about being frugal. What I try to do though is to save on the less important things so I can spend on things that I like to splurge on.
My weakness is eating at restaurants. I would estimate that I eat out around 90% of my meals, and most of (probably 90% of that) is at sit down restaurants with a waiter. It is just something that I enjoy. I like trying new restaurants, I like a waiter taking care of me, and I love the bonding experience that you can get over a dinner out with friends or loved ones. I also like the fact that I don’t have to do the dishes! While I do look for deals, and sites like groupon or living social have made it a little more affordable, it still gets very expensive. To make up for this, I try to over compensate by being frugal in other aspects of my life.
I make up for my love of eating out by saving in other aspects of my life. One major way to save some money is to not be sucked into impulse buys that you find at stores like Target or Walmart. I see almost weekly on my Facebook friends list where people are posting about spending their weekly $200 at Walmart on junk they don’t need, and I simply cannot fathom that. At one time I could sympathize, as I was a compulsive Walmart-er, often having buyer’s remorse and taking my items back just days later. I had to train myself, by analyzing each item that I was buying and deciding if it was a want item, or a need item. Most of the time, I found stuff I was picking up was a want. I can now go to walmart and leave spending $50 or less, and I go into Walmart probably just once every 2 or 3 months now.
To save money by cutting back on larger impulse items, I often check out an item in a store several times before committing to purchasing it. An example was just a few weeks ago I was looking to buy some new speakers for my television. I found some at Best Buy and I almost picked them up, but wanted to make sure I was going to be happy with my decision later. I went by another Best Buy to check if they had an open one (great way to save money is by buying open box items). They didn’t have one, so I went home to read reviews online. The reviews led me to eBay. I found one that was barely used half of the price!! While I ended up not getting the item at all, that extra step could have saved me nearly 50% on my purchase!
Buy generics! Buying generics can almost always save you money over name brand items unless you have coupons. From working in a manufacturing setting in the past, I can tell you that almost every generic is made by the name brand manufacturer and is the SAME exact item in just different packaging. What I usually do to make sure of this when purchasing generics is to take a look at the ingredients list on an item, if the two are in the same order and most other information about the product on the package is the same, 99% of the time it is going to be the same exact item, just in a different box!
There are so many ways to save money, and as this site grows, I will be posting more and more about not only getting free stuff, but saving money over all as well.