Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Before I spend, I will Think:
-Can I get it cheaper, somewhere, somehow?
Often times, if we stop to think about something we’re about to buy and we invest a little time in buying it, the return is money saved. Just yesterday, I was in a hurry to buy some books that I needed for a project. Luckily, the buying process took longer than I hoped, because I got an email informing me of “free shipping” offer I was entitled to.
Cha-Ching! However, I was in such a hurry to use my “free shipping”, that I did not search less expensive book buying options. Today, I found the book I paid full price for on PaperbackSwap.com. Dang! I might have broken even, with the free shipping – but I also learned that “Haste Makes Waste”.
-Do I Already Own It (Or Will Something I Have at Home Fit the Need?)
When our home is organized, and we can find what we need, we avoid duplicate purchases of common items. What you have in your home, you’ve already paid for, so finding it and using it is “Free”. Time is money too, and when we have to spend too much precious time searching, that is costly too. (Not to mention stressful!) Don’t you love it when you finally clear out the cupboards and drawers to find the five pairs of scissors you already own! Resolve to be organized at home, especially with what you need to get everyday jobs done.
-Is There a “Free Source” Available, Instead of Buying?
Making others aware of what you are looking for increases the likelihood that you’re able borrow or be gifted the item. Connect and network via Facebook, Twitter, Freecycle.org, Craigslist or a bulletin board of places/groups where you travel. Bartering or trading of goods/services may also be an option. Exchange “wish lists” and project plans with your friends! Don’t be shy; you’ll save yourselves some cash!
-Will it Go on Sale Soon or Can I Get a Discount?
Ask the merchant for a discount if the item is seasonal, discontinued, damaged, or a display item. Don’t be the first to buy, discounts come as items age on the shelf. Research any discounts you might be eligible for (AAA, student discounts, military, etc.) Be aware of price matching policies. Holiday weekends (such as President’s Day, Valentines Day, and Federal holidays make for great deals – but don’t go overboard!)
-Do I Need to Buy It?
Consider the storage, care, longevity, quality and future expense of what you are buying. Fads fade and “what’s new” becomes “old”. Waiting may save you money. Creating a reasonable substitute may give birth to something better a new tradition. Not buying now, to save your money for a greater need or goal – that’s “Smart Frugality”.