Welcome to Day 2 of the Money Management course!
If you’re struggling to put money aside or break the pay-check to pay-check cycle, today is an important lesson in teaching you how to manage your everyday purchases by spending less.
Implementing these changes could add up to thousands of dollars over the year.
Make sure items on sale ring up at the sale price
A number of larger retail stores in North America have policies which state that if an item is marked as on sale on the shelf but rings up at full price, the customer shall receive the item at the sale price even if the sale is no longer valid (some retailers even give an additional 10% off).
Getting a discount for catching a store tagging error; not bad right?
The caveat here is that you have to pay attention and say something when it happens. Most of the time, the sale price doesn’t come up in the system because the sale ended and someone forgot to remove the sticker from the aisle.
Next time you’re at the check out with something on sale, scan the counter or walls for the store policy (it’s usually displayed somewhere it’s just not very noticeable).
I’ve had experiences where clerks have refused to give me the discount even though the policy was clearly on the wall and said they had to. I stood my ground and walked out with an even bigger discount every single time. I don’t blame the clerks, it reflects poorly on store performance (most stores have a code for this and it gets reported to the national office as labeling not being properly changed which doesn’t look great).
Research and price match
Most large retail stores will price match their competitors. If there’s something you want, take a minute to do a quick Google search and see if another store has it on sale or for cheaper. More often than not, they’ll give you the lower price to get the sale.
SOME RETAILS EVEN GIVE A 10% DISCOUNT ON TOP OF THE PRICE MATCH!
Really, these retailers are just trying to make sure that you shop with them and not their competitors (even if their competitors have sales).
So next time you want something, plan ahead of time and do some research!
Bonus tip: Did you know you could price match on Amazon? Here are a few other tricks for saving money on Amazon.
Don’t buy new
Believe me, I love new stuff. I love unwrapping it, I love that it’s in mint condition, that it’s never been dropped or scratched. There are countless reasons why I love new but new is expensive.
All though I much rather have new stuff, I know it costs too much money. Whenever I can, I check to see if I can find it second hand on Craigslist, eBay or Amazon before I buy it new.
Most of the time, I can find what I’m looking for used. If I can’t, I try to be patient until a used one pops up. Sometimes, I forget I even want it which brings us back to the start of this article and being in the right mindset (less is more). It goes to show that I didn’t really need those things, I just wanted them. They were fads and went as quickly as they came.
Barter and share more
You don’t need to have a specific skill to barter.
You can save a ton of money by exchanging everyday favors.
To give you an example, I have a friend who lives with her parents and has to commute an hour each day to get to work. On my end, I have a dog which gets very expensive when I’m traveling (and I travel A LOT). Dog boarding runs at about $40 a day. Needless to say, it adds up very quickly.
So one day, I went up to my friend and asked her: “how would you like to house sit and take care of my dog when I’m away? It gives you a chance to get out of your parent’s house and my place is only 10 minutes away from your office instead of an hour”.
It was a win win situation for the both of us.
I got to travel without paying a small fortune for my pup and she got to live on her own and shorten her commute drastically.
Can you think of any ways you could share or barter with others?
Look for win-win situations where you’re not only making it easier for you but also for someone else. You’re guaranteed to score yourself savings!
Can you carpool to work and both save on gas or parking?
Are there memberships you could share with someone? Netflix and Spotify are both very easily shareable.
Map out your meals for the week
You’ve probably been told to do groceries instead of eating out. Without a doubt, that saves you a ton of money.
What you may not have read is that coming up with a daily plan is a huge money saver. If you don’t map out your meals properly, part of your shopping cart will end up in the trash. We waste astronomical amounts of food every year but there are ways to avoid that.
STOP THROWING MONEY AWAY!
Without fail, if I don’t plan each day out, I overbuy. At the end of the week, that food ends up in the trash.
Think about all the food you put in the garbage. If you took the time to add it up in terms of dollars, you would probably be shocked by how much you’re throwing away.
THE FIRST STEP TO BREAK THE HABIT OF BUYING TOO MUCH IS TO PLAN OUT YOUR MEALS.
When you go to the store, know exactly what you plan to make each day. Stick to that plan!
You might end up being lazy and decide to order food instead of the meal you had planned to make. I get it, work is busy, you’re tired. It happens to the best of us. When you want to order food, remember you’re actually paying double the amount of your bill. Why is that? Well, if you had a meal planned and you can’t eat it before it goes bad then you’ve wasted that meal on top of paying for your takeaway.
That’s right, that late night lazy is costly.
Avoid premium grocery stores
Trust me when I say, I love stepping into Whole Foods. The atmosphere, the staff, the layout, it all comes together to give you a wonderful shopping experience. That being said, that amazing experience is reflected in their prices.
It may seem like I’m picking on Whole Foods but this is the case for all premium stores.
Yes, without a doubt, the shopping is so much more enjoyable but is it worth it?
Next time you do your groceries, step it down a notch. You might be surprised just how much you save on your bill.
Don’t do groceries hungry
I cannot stress this enough: NEVER SHOP FOR FOOD HUNGRY.
Without fail, you will buy more than you need.
Chances are the food you buy will go bad and you’ll have to throw it out. It seems silly but I buy noticeably more food when I’m hungry.
Most of the time, it ends up being junk too (not so good for my diet…). I’ll usually binge on it when I get home and end up feeling sick on top of having spent more than I should have.
Next time, plan to go to the store after eating.
If the timing doesn’t work out, at least have a snack so that you’re not starving once you get there.
There’s really nothing wrong with negotiating a discount on your bill, asking for your interest to be brought down on your credit card or negotiating the reversal of bank fees. More often than not, you’ll get what you ask for or at least be in a better position than when you started off.
So why don’t we do it more?
A lot of us are scared of rejection or feel a cultural stigma from negotiating a discount but realistically, who cares? What’s the worse that will happen? You’ll be told no and move on with your day. No big deal at all. We tend to think of the worst case scenario and it stops us from doing things.
More often than not, the worst case scenario is the least likely. Trust me, you’ll be laughing when you pick up that phone and cut your bills down by simply asking. Not to mention you’ll save yourself some stress and definitely some money.
If you don’t ask, you likely won’t receive.
As a tip, people tend to respond better to a sad story than a short-tempered aggressive request. When you go to negotiate a discount, be friendly, relatable and approachable. You’ll have a much higher chance of success.
Here are a few examples of discounts I’ve gotten:
- Phone and internet plans. It’s really easy to get a discount on these particularly if you’ve been a steady client and paid your bills on time. I usually bring up competitor promotions and they’ll end up matching the promotions for me.
- Unusual bank fees on your chequing or credit cards all of which I got 100% reversed out like magic.
- Credit card interest can be a little more challenging but again, if you have good history, they don’t want to see you go. That gives you a lot of power. Find a similar card with a promotion and ask for a better rate.
Honestly, it’s as easy as asking and the opportunities are endless. You could save yourself thousands of dollars so why not just ask?
Want a little more information on negotiating? Click here.
Refinance at a lower interest rate
This one is so simple you’re going to be kicking yourself in the butt wondering why no one ever brought this to your attention before.
Getting carried away on your credit card happens very quickly. We don’t realize how much we rack up and before we know it, we can’t make the full payment.
THIS TIP IS FOR ANYONE WHO’S USED THAT PLASTIC A LITTLE TOO SPARINGLY.
If that’s you, unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand to make it disappear. I wish it was that simple. I can, however, help you easily save hundreds of dollars on your interest.
Most credit cards run at about a 20% interest rate. A line of credit however is usually at least half of that.
Did you know if you ask your bank to open up a line of credit, they can transfer your credit card balance to that account?
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU CAN SAVE ROUGHLY 50% OF YOUR INTEREST EACH MONTH BY JUST SWITCHING YOUR CREDIT CARD BALANCE INTO A DIFFERENT ACCOUNT.
It honestly doesn’t get much easier than that!
Smarter spending is an important step in taking control of your finances.
Making these simple tips could save you thousands of dollars over the year!
If you’re interested in more easy ways to save money check out: