Resist –Do you really need or want it? If you have lived without it, do really need to buy it. Does it really need to have all the extra features than the one you already own? Do you need it today? Unless you are replacing something broken and must be replaced immediately, take time to shop and compare. Never buy merchandise with big price tags the same day. (Sneaky salesmen are really good at sucking you in) Sleep on it and talk it over with your spouse before buying no matter how good the deal sounds.

Budget – stick to your budget like your life depended on it. My husband and I shop together so we can check each others spending. It’s tough sometimes to resist an urge if you don’t have back up.

Research and compare – look online or at retailers and wholesalers and compare. Also remember when buying new to buy quality. Things that are non perishable – furniture, cars, appliances, clothing etc should be purchased for quality and price. Watch out for additional warranties, some of them don’t cover anything that the manufacture’s warranty doesn’t’ cover anyway. Remember that a higher quality purchase will last longer and be more useful in the long run. When shopping for things like appliances and electronics consider energy usage.

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A moderately priced dish washer that uses less water and electricity will save you money in the future. The one I have uses less water when fully loaded than washing dishes by hand. Buy good quality cleaning products especially concentrates and use them diluted or just using less can also save a bunch. Refill products are cheaper than buying a new container too. Beware of coupons! Don’t buy items just because you have a coupon. Store coupons are much better than manufacture coupons. Watch the weekly fliers for sales. If you do it on Wednesday, you will see the specials for the weekend and any weekly specials before the end of the week. Triple coupon week at Ingles is worth the trip. Start or join a coupon swap with your neighbors or friends. The same thing works really well for DVD o VCR movies.

Compromise on items that don’t matter. Milk is expensive, but instant milk is cheap. I don’t like the taste as well, so I use it in cooking and baking instead of fresh milk. If you or your kids aren’t water drinkers, buy tea bags or kool-ade mix and put it in the fridge. Buy soda in liters instead of cans. If you are tired of the same old stuff, trying a new recipe can add a new favorite to your list. I buy lower priced foods and jazz them up with spices.
[PAGE][/PAGE]Send them to Junior college. No one cares where you went to college the first few years, it’s where you graduate that matters. Many universities require freshmen and sophomores to live on campus which can be very expensive. Buy used books and sell them back at the end of the session.

Be Ready – budget out what you want to spend, and hold out until you find the item on sale then snatch it up. Shop at local farmers markets or food stands for produce. I’m talking about the guy with a truck load of corn or watermelons not the ones selling exotic produce. Chances are that guy bought them at the same store you did and jacked up the price but because he’s a roadside stand people fall for the “must be cheaper than the grocery store” take. Shop from a list. Prepare a tentative menu for the week and use your list. It keeps you from impulse buying. Never go shopping hungry. Better than any of these grow it at home. Even a person with a small patio can grow their own tomatoes and herbs. I’m not good at canning, so I freeze what ever is left at the end of the season and use them for other recipes.

Buy in the off season and on clearance. Seasonal items and clothes can be bought at the end of the season for the following year. Buy kids clothes bigger and you can save them for when they grow into them.

Buy in bulk. If you have a deep freeze you can grab a great deal and keep it for six months. Canned goods and paper products can last even longer.

Eat and entertain at home – Eating meals at home can save a big chunk AND can be a lot healthier. If you don’t have a lot of time, get a cook book of quick recipes and make twice what you need. Freeze the left-over’s and have them another night. Instead of going out for fun, play a board game or cards. Get out the yard toys or ball gear and play outside. Not only does this save money it brings the family together. If you do go out for fun, eat before you go and try a park or recreation center. Use the coupon for mini-golf or bowling. If you want to expand your horizons, take a class at the local community school and learn something new. Many have inexpensive courses for youth and adult in art, health, dancing, sports, and cooking.

Reuse/recycle – use plastic grocery bags for trash can liners. Cut up old clothes and towels for car washing, garage work, and cleaning. Old t-shirts are great for that. Jeans can be cut up to use as kitchen dish clothes or stitched together for hot pads. Jars with lids are great for storing craft supplies and nuts and bolts in the garage. I bought a lunch bag for my son that was on the dollar shelf at Target so I don’t have to buy paper lunch bags all year. I’m a firm believer in buying conservative clothing and home decorating items. Trendy stuff has to be replaced when it’s out of style. Conservative items can be worn for years and furnishings can be recovered or repainted when you need a change. Example - If you like a blouse but it seems a little drab, consider changing the buttons or embellishing with decorative iron-ons, lace or ribbons. Recover throw pillows to add some new flavor to a room. Shop Ebay, garage sales, Craigslist and thrift stores for gently used items. Keep those old sneakers, stained shirts or jeans for yard work, cleaning or garage work.

Also, I take my recycling to a close by recycling center instead of paying for special pick up at the curb. It also lowers the amount of trash in my container on the curb so I don’t have to spend money on another container or pick up charges.

Take kids toys, divide them in half and put them away for 3 months. Then put that half away, and put out the other half. It’s like Christmas four times a year and the toys last longer because they are not over used. Same can be done with clothing, purses and shoes, blankets and bedding.

Wear it twice. Unless you work in a situation where you are getting dirty, wear it and hang it back up for another day. It causes less wear on your clothing from washing and money on running your washer and drier. Hang clothes on a line to dry instead of in the drier. If you don’t like the crispy feel of lie dried clothes, take them down when they are almost dry and run them in the fluff cycle of your drier for 10 minutes. Don’t over fill your machines. It can cause damage to the machines and it takes longer to dry them. Use stain removers on clothing and carpets to keep the stains from setting. Wear an apron when cooking or cleaning to keep from ruining clothes.

If you don’t want it donate and deduct it on your taxes. Keep receipts for everything from donations o medical expenses. Anything you can write off helps.

Conserve - Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. Unplug transformer cables – the ones with the big block that goes in the outlet like cell phone, battery chargers, etc – when you’re not using them. Electronic thermostats to adjust heating and cooling based on the time of day. If you’re not in that part of the house during the day or evening, let your heat or ac unit take a break. Watering outside during the early morning or late evening helps keep the moisture in the ground longer. Mulch does too and most tree services will deliver it free if you call and ask for it.

Repair – maintaining your purchases is extremely important. A little maintenance now can save a lot more in repairs and replacements. I’ve had three inexpensive domestic cars and I put at least 150,000 miles on each one. Then I sold them off for fair value. The only reason I sold the last one was because my family grew.

This applies to your health as well. Taking good care of yourself can save you money on heath issues later. Staying healthy can reduce prescription costs as well. Get your annual screening tests, physical and dental cleanings. Nobody likes it, but everybody needs it. How many times have you heard of someone hospitalized or dying who was in “perfect health”?