One saying that has stuck with me through the years: “A dollar saved is worth two dollars earned.”
How does it work? After paying income tax, payroll tax, sales tax, etc., out of every two dollars you earn, you are left with about one dollar to spend. If you want to save money this year, you can go out and earn more, or you can use the six tips below to buy the things you want for less.
1. Make It Your Job
Look at what you spend over the course of a year on clothes and household items. Suppose that number is $10,000. Make it your job this year to buy whatever you are going to buy, but for half the price. If you save $5,000, that's like earning an extra $415 per month.
Two places to start that will give you fabulous tips on how to save on everything:
2. Ask And You Shall Receive
Call me a fool, but for years I did not know you could barter with retail stores on major purchases. One day I went shopping with a good friend of mine, and watched her negotiate her way to lower prices on everything. It was an eye-opening experience. I realize now that most of the time, all you have to do is ask. It’s the people who don’t ask that pay full price.
Need to brush up on your bargaining skills?
3. Shop Consignment and Save
Just about every piece of furniture in my house was bought from a consignment store. Why pay the high price of new? Consignment stores can be a great way to find practically new stuff at a fraction of the price. The best things to find deals on at consignment stores: furniture and designer clothes. Scout out the stores in the nicest neighborhoods, and you’ll often find things that were never used at all.
Want more tips on how to save by shopping consignment?
4. Use Online Auctions and Ads
Once you’ve found a brand you like, check online before you buy. I’ve been known to try on my favorite jeans at department stores, figure out what size works, than buy them on Ebay for almost nothing. I’ve found $300 jeans for $20 before. I like Ebay for smaller, lower ticket items.
For larger items, that you can pick up locally, Craigslist is great. You can find deals on washers and dryers, mattresses (yes, new ones), furniture, lawn mowers and much, much more.
Be prepared to ask questions of the seller, and when you go visit the merchandise, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not what you want. In addition, reread tip #2 and make sure you ask them if they’ll take less!
Never shopped online before? Start here:
5. Patience Pays Off
Create a watch list, or wish list, of items you want to acquire at half price. Develop a routine of checking in with the stores to see if your items are on sale. At one point, I had my eye on a pair of chaise lounges from Frontgate; each week I checked their website, and by the end of the summer the chairs were half price. Patience pays off.
Have trouble getting over the instant gratification mentality? Oprah.com offers a great article on this. Read:
6. Use Age To Your Advantage
Of course I know you’re not a “senior”. But heck, if it puts money in your pocket, who cares what word it is? Don’t be shy about asking for senior discounts. If you were under 18 you certainly wouldn’t hesitate to ask for the student discount. Be brazen and bold about asking. Use your life experience to your advantage, and save yourself some money.
For specific ideas on how to use your experienced age to save money check out: