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Billeater: 9 Money Saving Tips to Help You Conserve Cash

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by savingtools.com)
at 7:58AM Wednesday September 14, 2011
under Money Saving Tips

With prices going up and salaries going down, saving money nowadays can feel like an impossible challenge. If you're struggling to scrape together some extra cash, consider these nine money-saving tips.
Separate Needs from Wants

When planning your budget, categorize each expense as either a "need" or a "want." Needs are your most basic human requirements: food, shelter, electricity, medical care. Wants are things you'd like to have, but aren't absolutely necessary for survival: designer clothes, cable TV, video games, an iPhone. Understanding the difference between needs and wants is a crucial first step to crafting a frugal budget.

Remember Money is Work


Before making a purchase, calculate how many minutes/hours/days you'd have to work to pay for that item. If you want a $40 video game and you make $10 an hour, the game will cost you roughly half a day's work. If you make $20 an hour, the game will only cost you two hours of labor. By looking at unnecessary purchases through the lens of time worked, you gain clarity as to what you should and shouldn't buy.

Shop with a List

The merchandise layout in every store is designed purposely to get you to buy more. Hit the stores with a list in hand, and you'll be less tempted by artfully placed objects that you don't really need.

Be Smart with Your Payment Methods

When you shop with a credit card, it can be difficult to keep track of expenditures. When you shop with cash or debit, you know exactly how many dollar bills you have left. I use my PerkStreet card instead of credit for the cash back. I use my brick and mortar bank for debit purchases because that gives me money back for using debit instead of a check. When you pay with credit, it costs you. Pay with the method that puts the most money back in your pocket.

Buy Generic

Generic products are cheaper than national brands, and often just as good. Watch your nickels and dimes pile up as you save on store-brand bread, meat, peanut butter, batteries, and just about everything else under the sun.

Practice "Catch and Release" Shopping

If you have a strong impulse to buy something frivolous, put it in your cart or carry it around for a while. As you shop, think about how much money the new item would cost, and how much space it would take up in your home. The more time you have to contemplate a purchase, the more likely you are to skip it all together.

Do the Math before Reaching the Checkout

Some people fill their grocery cart and head for the checkout without knowing what their items will cost. Keep a mental running tab of the items in your cart, and you will be less inclined to make unnecessary purchases.

Buy Used

You can save 90% or more on many items by purchasing them at a garage sale, flea market or consignment store. You can earn a little pocket money by selling your used things, too.

Skip the Retail Therapy

Getting new stuff can give you a feel-good rush, but if you're trying to save money indulging in retail therapy is not a wise idea. Find ways to deal with stress that don't cost anything, such as taking a walk, playing with a pet or phoning a friend. If you absolutely must shop your worries away, do it at the dollar store where it's less damaging.

Jessica Bosari writes for the money-saving site, Billeater.com. The site is devoted to helping people reduce expenses, save money and find great deals. Pay Billeater a visit for more money-saving tips!