Friday, March 23, 2012, AM | Leave Comment
When I first migrated to the U.S. in the seventies, one of the first things I heard was that America was built on spending. And some economists still say that openly even though telling this kind of thing to many Americans who lost their jobs, their homes and such is, in my opinion, downright cruel.
Mistakes were made on all sides, every which way you can imagine. But spending has always been the way American psyche has worked. The rich have and will always spend exuberantly.
The problem is: It is the families like us that, for whatever reasons, spend like there is no tomorrow. And then we start complaining about money. That must stop on our side.
There are and have been some rich folks like the Ed McMahon and wife who could not, at one time, pay their monthly mortgage. Those are the exceptions among the rich.
I hope we, the American public, the executive and legislative branches, have learned our lesson from the current recession and market meltdown a couple of years ago.
However, having said that, we as individual and families, in our own little ways, can save some money while we keep spending. Spending is good for the national economy; but why not spend and save at the same time.
Here is what we all can do and do easily.
Saving money while spending at home
You can always stay at home and cook a fantastic meal. For some people, I will say they can stay home just for the heck of it. You don’t have to go out to eat. In my family, we go out to eat, maybe, once a month.
We usually go to Chinese restaurants. In our neighborhood, for a family of four, it costs us less than $30. Even then we bring back the leftover.
According to a recent Zagat survey, Americans will spend an average of $34 this year every time they go out to eat dinner. That’s for one dinner, drink and gratuity; $76.00 if they live in one of the 20 most expensive cities.
If a couple does that four times in a month, the expense is around $300 in low-cost areas and $600 in higher-cost regions. If you have more than one drink or are treating family or friends, costs can add up quickly.
Saving money while spending at stores
I did a post on 6 Tips To Overcome Your Wallet Feeling Thin Syndrome. Read, follow and save.
Before ordering online or going to a store, go to sites like Coupon cabin and Ultimate coupons or search the name of a store in your favorite search engine and often you will get a coupon code to enter at checkout. You can save 10% to 20% or more on the total order or maybe get free shipping.
There are also coupons to print out and take to the store for deeper discounts. And don’t be afraid to let one retailer compete against another by asking for a price match on sale items.
Saving money while saving your receipts
It is important to save all your store receipts and keep track of sales. Savvy shoppers can probably save even more on purchases by checking back to see if the retailers lower prices even further.
If that happens within a certain period of your purchase – check with that individual store, most stores will credit you the difference.
I have started doing this myself. On one occasion, we bought a refrigerator after 15 years. I always keep the receipt. A month later, the store had a huge shipment of newer models. The store put the model I had bought on sale.
At first, the store was reluctant but talking to the manager, we save $209.99 on that purchase. Like I said a month had passed on that purchase.
Saving money while renegotiating your bills
You may not be able to negotiate with the gas company or the electric company, because they have a monopoly on those services. However, you can negotiate with credit cards, cable and phone services, among others.
Do your homework and find out what competing cable companies, for example, are offering and ask your provider to renegotiate your bill.
In a Nutshell
You can save money while spending. It’s not difficult as long as you spend less than you make.