How to Reduce Spending is something all of us want to know this holiday season – and every other season, really. However, with the holidays approaching in earnest, it's even more important to learn how to reduce spending. Having enough money for presents, parties, family get togethers, and so on, is all well and good, but what happens January 2? There's nothing I hate more than making it through the holidays themselves without a problem, only to find myself totally broke after the New Year, when rent, insurance payments, car notes, et cetera, all come due. So if you want to avoid that this year, here are several helpful tips on how to reduce spending while shopping this season.
1. Avoid the Temptation of Credit
One of the best tips on how to reduce spending, especially during the holiday season, is to avoid the temptation of credit and credit cards. It's easy to apply for new ones this time of year just to get discounts, or to use the ones you currently have because you believe you're saving the money you have in the bank, but interest charges mean you're paying more than you would be otherwise. Go with debit, instead!
2. Know Your Intentions
If you're spending on gifts, think about why. Are you spending a lot in hopes that you might get a lot? Are you trying to compete with someone else? That's not what the holidays are about – that's not what gift giving is about, anyway. You don't have to spend a fortune. Buy a gift that shows your love and respect; don't think about how much it costs.
3. Always Keep Track
It's important to keep track of how much you spend any time of the year, not just during the holidays. The best way to learn how to reduce spending is to know how much you're spending in the first place. Keep track of what comes in and what goes out, especially when you're on a budget.
4. Think before You Buy
If you stop to think before you buy something, especially when it's for yourself, then nine times out of ten, on second thought, you might realize you don't need it. If you can live without it, put it back down! Save your money for the things you really do need.
5. Use Cash
While using a debit card is much better than using a credit card, there's an even better solution when you're trying to figure out how to reduce spending. Take out cash before you go shopping. Have an idea what you need to buy and how much it will cost. If you have a set amount of cash on you, then you're far less likely to overspend on things you don't need.
6. Comparison Shop
Whether you're shopping for presents for others or something for yourself, you always need to comparison shop. Check out what other stores are offering. Odds are good that you'll be able to find what you're looking for somewhere else – so you should also check out whether or not your favorite stores offer any deals on price matching.
7. Coupon Crazy
Coupons are a really great way to learn how to reduce spending. You don't actually have to go coupon crazy like they do on those wildly popular reality shows. However, you can save money on essentials, especially when you're grocery shopping. You should also look for coupons on things like shampoo, conditioner, other hair products, and toothpaste – often you can get those nearly free.
8. Don't Be Fooled by Sales
Sometimes sales are great, and sometimes they're not so great. Sometimes you just need to let them go by. Or rather, judge whether or not you actually need what's on sale. If you're into a Payless BOGO sale, for instance, ask whether or not you really need two pairs of shoes. For me, the answer is usually yes, but I have no will power to speak of.
9. Don't Spend What You Don't Have
This is a big one for me; I always do it. The Better Half gets bonuses from the day job, and we have a tendency to think to ourselves that we can totally spend a ton of money now, because it's about to be replaced. However, unless you know for sure what the raise or bonus is going to be, don't do that. Even then, you shouldn't. Stick it into your emergency fund instead, or only allot yourself a certain amount of the extra money to spend on frivolous things.
10. Try an Allowance
Most of us haven't had allowances since we were kids, but they can be helpful when you're trying to save money. If you often spend too much money on a whim, then just give yourself a shopping allowance, a grocery allowance, or what have you. Sometimes you just have to forcibly budget yourself to learn good spending habits.
I hope you found these tips on how to reduce spending valuable. Mind, they really do come in handy all year round. However, during the end of the year, when all of the bigger holidays take place, it's even more important to learn how to reduce spending while you're shopping to give back to others. Do you have any other tips on how to reduce spending that weren't included here?
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