|Spending Smarts: From the Mentors
I definitely comparison shop when we're out buying anything. When we are
shopping for groceries, I look at the price per ounce (in cents) on the tag
in order to compare the generic brand against the "commercial" brand.
Sometimes shampoo and face soaps have the same information. When we're
buying those things, however, I find it economic to compare active
ingredients. I remember one time "Clean and Clear" was red tagged (on sale).
I compared it with the Wal-Mart brand. "Clean and Clear" at .10% of benzoil
peroxide and Wal-Mart at .1%. I was like, "Hey, this is a good buy." I showed
my Dad and he said that .10 and .1 were the same thing! "Clean and Clear" almost pulled a fast one.
Oh well, I admit it: I'm a thrifty person! I love to buy things, clothes in particular, that are on sale. I've basically grown up comparing prices in the supermarket: if a 1-pound pack costs $2.99 and a 2-pound pack costs $4.99, I would advise my mom to buy the 2-pound option provided that we could finish it before the deadline. It is really silly to buy bulky "bargain" stuff at big outlets that you end up wasting because you can't finish so much in so little time. If there is something that I really want but is really expensive, I hold it off for a while to make sure that my desire for it is not short-lived. I try not to buy on impulse, because that's the easiest way to waste a lot of money. It's really hard to keep track of expenses on a regular basis (since we'd all get lazy after a while). But once in a while, I'd keep a really detailed record of my expenditure for, say, a month, and then "study" it to see how I could have spent less or put my money to better use. Sometimes it feels like money slips out of my fingers without my realizing, so keeping track is good because I'd know how things add up.
I put a lot of consideration into my clothing purchases; I make sure it's something I feel comfortable in and love. (Don't get caught in the habit of buying things just because they're on sale if you don't love them!) When I purchase things from more expensive stores, I make sure they're things I can only get there. There's no reason to buy a white tank top for $40 when you can get it at a cheaper store for half as much! Instead of throwing or giving something away because you don't like how it looks, try changing it with a little D.I.Y. (do it yourself). Take an old pair of jeans and make a purse; I've even covered a picture frame in denim. If you have a boring bag, add embroidery, sequins, or ribbons to add a personal, unique touch. If you can't revamp that old shirt, donate it to charity or bring it to a thrift store. While you're at the thrift store, check out t-shirts; if you find some good ones, you're guaranteed to be the only one who has it. When I get money for my birthday or Christmas (which is actually on the same day), I put it where I can't see it. If it's not in my wallet to tempt me, I won't use it. Sometimes I'll even forget about it! (I found $20 in a drawer today.)
I always comparison shop. Sometimes I do make exceptions and I consider it to be a treat. Comparison shopping allows me to buy more for my money. Most times, the cheaper products aren't that much different from the name brand products. My biggest money-saving tip is to refrain from being compulsive.
This means, stop buying things because it's what's in or cool, buy things that you really want and have decided on why you want it. Also, I always try to see if I can get a discount; whether it be by using coupons or doing something extra. Also, I don't mind using certain secondhand items. I've borrowed books, music, and an assortment of other things. I've even traded items with friends for something I needed!
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