5 More Ways Spending Money Can Actually Save You Money
by April Borbon
What Does Frugal Living Mean to You?
7 Habits of Highly Frugal People
In the last issue, we introduced you to ways in which spending money can be used to your benefit. In this issue, we will continue our search to find the most beneficial ways in which to spend your money. Ways that will improve your life, save you money in the long run, and help you become a more efficient and productive person.
Quality, healthy food. Simple, organic foods such as whole grains, legumes, and fresh vegetables are a great way to "invest" in yourself. Studies show that even though these foods may cost a bit more, they pay you back many times over by keeping you healthier, slimmer, and less prone to disease.
Grow a garden (even in a window box if that is all you have), buy from local farmer's markets, make your own healthy food with basic ingredients (recipes for just about anything are all over the Internet or at the library), and cook with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Savings and investments. It is easy to put off depositing money into your IRA or purchasing your own mutual funds. Unfortunately, time has a way of just flying by. About the time you realize you better start investing for your retirement years, they are already here. It's critically important, for your own piece of mind as well as your financial security, to regularly put money into your emergency fund as well as some type of retirement plan such as an IRA.
To save money, the basics will work here… Save all of your pocket change and deposit it monthly into your emergency fund savings account. Have your employer withhold a percentage of your income and deposit it into your IRA for you (the out of sight, out of mind method). Do a special fundraising activity each month, such as a garage sale or a recycling spree, and put the money generated into your savings or retirement account.
Tools of your trade. Don't skimp on the tools you need to do your job well. If you are a roofer, don't use an old-fashioned hammer when an air-powered nail gun will get the job done twice as quickly and with a minimum of effort. It's worth the investment to buy quality tools that will increase both the quantity and quality of your work. A note of caution-avoid overkill. If you are a writer, a basic computer with enough memory is sufficient; you don't need one that could run a NASA program.
Ask your experienced co-workers what kinds of tools they recommend. When you know what item you want to buy, check out the Internet to comparison shop. Buy in bulk if you find a great sale on an often-used item.
Activities with (and for) your children. Since you only have a small number of years with your children, it makes sense not to skimp on their activities. Piano lessons at an early age not only give your child a lifelong skill, but music lessons have been shown to increase success in school. Should you buy your child the junior chemist science lab? Within reason, yes. Who knows what activity will spark your child's imagination and lead them to become the next Einstein?
Barter lessons for a service you can provide. Go for creative instead of extravagant when it comes to vacations and other activities with your children. Provide your child with discount store basics if they are just starting to show an interest in an activity; if they stick with the activity for a time, then you can provide quality items for them to use.
- Treat yourself every once in a while. Life is meant to be enjoyed. It isn't meant to be an exercise in deprivation. Being thrifty is a valuable, and often enjoyable, skill but sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and enjoy a splurge. It's a great experience to be able to enjoy something out of the ordinary that makes you say "wow." Remember, no guilt afterwards. You deserve this!
There are a number of ways to treat yourself without going bankrupt. A manicure at the beauty school or a massage at the massage school are just as enjoyable as paying full price. A luxurious weekend at a hotel is just as enjoyable if you comb through the Internet to get a bargain-basement price.
The bottom line is to spend your money where it will make the most impact. Create for yourself and your family a life that is safe, secure, creative and enjoyable while, of course, getting the best bargains you can find.
See Part 1 of Where Spending Money Could Save You Money.
Take the Next Step
- Get cash back on the groceries you buy. Checkout 51 can show you how!
- Once you trim the grocery budget, don't waste that extra money! Consider opening a savings account to start an emergency fund or save for some other financial goal.
- Continue to look for new ways to trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
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- This week's Readers' Tips