In order to save money all the time, no matter what you may be buying, you need to set up some basic money guidelines for yourself and your family. You can make up any useful rules you like, but following are some generals that everyone can follow in order to always save money.
Know before you buy: Never buy anything that costs a decent amount without a little research first. Consumer Reports is an excellent place to start researching products of all sorts. If you’re in the market for electronics, the reviews at CNET have never steered me wrong. Not reading reviews of a product can cost you in the long run.
It’s better to spend less than to try and earn more: Spending less is usually less time consuming than scurrying about trying to earn more money. Spending less is a life-long habit you can start, while earning more is something that can come and go. Make saving a priority over earning.
Reduce, reuse, recycle: By used before new when possible. Always consider items that may serve more than one purpose as a better deal than an item that only works to fulfill one need. If you can fix, clean, or reuse an item as something new, do that before getting rid of it.
Trade and share: People used to actually share items rather than buy two of them. Do you and your friendly neighbor both need a lawn mower, or can you share? Can you trade a day of babysitting with another couple, rather then hire a sitter? Can your kids participate in a toy or book trade? When you think about spending money, look to the community around you before making a final decision, because there may be another option.
Quit buying junk: If something is not going to provide a good value to you, yours, or your home, why get it? If it’s going to break or be a hassle, it’s not a cost that’s worth it. Consider long-term value when shopping. If the cost of a long-term item makes you want to faint, consider how you’ll feel when that lower-priced item breaks in three months.
What sorts of hard and fast rules does your family use to save money all the time?