Give Yourself A Spending Makeover!
Who doesn’t love a makeover? It’s a great way to give yourself a new look—and a new outlook! We’re ready to show you that makeovers aren’t just to improve your physical appearance. A spending makeover is the perfect way to take a close look at your budget and spending patterns, and to identify ways you can improve your bottom line. You’ll not only have more money to save, you’ll also feel better about yourself knowing you’re making positive changes and forming new spending habits that will benefit you for a long time to come. Let’s get started!
Consider the meals you’ve eaten during the past week. If more than half of them came from a restaurant, congratulations. You’ve just identified an easy way to start your spending makeover. Whether it’s fast food burgers or salad from your favorite bistro, you’ve probably spent more on the food that you would have if you’d prepared it at home. And you’ve almost certainly consumed more calories and fat that you would have at home, as restaurant food is almost always more fattening than home-cooked food, thanks to the ingredients and portion size. So what should you do? Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week. Know what nights you plan to eat at home, what days you plan to take a lunch to work, and what days you plan to eat out. Keep this last figure down to one or two meals a week. Think you won’t be able to resist the call of your co-workers as they board the daily lunch wagon? Just make sure you’ve brought a lunch from home and you won’t be tempted. Eating out is easy, tasty, and a sure way to spend more than you need to on food. It’s that simple!
Whether you’re a movie buff or a club hopper, we all need some kind of “downtime” to balance our working lives. But there are ways you can save here, too. Love movies? Don’t pay full price for the nighttime show when you can enjoy the same box office hit during the day for less. Even better, find a “bargain cinema” in your area. These theaters may not be showing flicks that opened that Friday, but if you can wait a few weeks, you’ll pay much less.
Love to club? Check the entertainment section of your local newspaper (or its website) to find out what nights of the week offer specials that can save you money on anything from the cover price to cocktails. Weeknights and happy hours are often your best bet. These are typically “off” times for crowds, so owners of such establishments are quick to offer enticing deals to get you in the door.
Whether it’s shoes, clothing, or accessories, today’s prices make it hard to fill your closet without breaking the bank—hard, but not impossible. You have to know where and when to shop. Department stores are one option, but stick to holidays and weekends—that’s when you’ll find the best bargains. Better yet, hit the outlet mall or a discount clothing store that sells seconds or irregulars from department stores—you know, the stores that sell the clothes with the tags cut out. That missing tab could save you over 75%! For serious bargain hunters, try thrift stores and consignment shops. You’ll find that many such establishments are neat and clean, with fairly current to cutting edge styles, all for a fraction of the cost they’d be at the mall. Another great tip is online clothes shopping, which has grown tremendously in the past few years. No, you can’t try things on, but most sites offer decent return polices that require you to pay little or no money to make returns.