5 Shopping Habits That Could Lead To Debt

There is always a new dress waiting to be bought, the latest color of nail varnish that we just have to have, or perhaps this season’s handbag. Being a fashionista can be an expensive business. Looking our best can be expensive, and that’s when we can find ourselves in money problems, and as a result fashion can suddenly seem a lot less fun! What shopping habits should we be avoiding if we don’t want to end up in debt!

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  1. Never buy something on impulse. I know we all love an impulse buy but it can be dangerous for a number of reasons. We don’t actually need it and we are probably paying over the odds for it. You should always make a list of what it is you are going to the shops to buy and then stick to that list! Less fun but far more practical.
  1. You don’t set yourself a budget! You go out and you just keep splashing that cash. That is a dangerous game to play! Yes, that dress might look amazing on you but you still have bills to pay and you want to keep a roof over your head. Make a spreadsheet and set yourself that budget.
  1. You pay for everything on credit card. This is a bad habit to get into. The problem with paying on credit card is that you lose track of how much money you have already spent. Then before you know it you find that have several credit cards with debts and you have no way of paying those debts back. If you ever find yourself in that situation then you can visit the website debtreliefprogram.co for further information. However, to avoid this situation in the first place you should pay with cash. I know that some people don’t like carrying cash because they worry about getting mugged. However, paying in cash is by far the most sensible option. Don’t flash the cash and you should be fine!
  1. You bury your head in the sand each month. You buy all of those lovely new clothes on credit card and then you refuse to look at the bills. This is dangerous! Before you know it you will have debts spiraling out of control. If you are going to use a credit card you need to keep a close eye on your debts and you need to be making decent repayments every month.
  1. Just one more dress. You find yourself constantly saying “just one more dress” and then you justify it by saying you need it for that work conference or a party that is coming up. Stop it! You will always find a reason to buy something. Stop kidding yourself and tell yourself – NO! You don’t really need that dress. What is going to happen if you don’t buy it? Nothing. The world will still be turning but at least you will still have some more money in your bank account.

Being a fashionista can be an expensive business. Sometimes we need to be more aware when we are shopping and we need to ask ourselves that old age question –

“do I really need this?”

Yes, we want to look good but we don’t want to go broke because of it. We can follow fashion but we also need to be sensible.

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Thinking about Your Financial Future: What You Should Be Doing

Wearing jewellery isn’t the only thing that you can do at any age: you can think about your financial future at any age too. Yes, it’s true, you’re never too young to plan for your future and how you will spend/save your money in that future. And if this sounds like something you’d like to do, then make sure to read on to find out exactly what you should be doing.

Do research into the world of finance

If you want to successfully circumvent the world of finance in the future, then you should really be doing research into it now. This means that any teenagers out there should be doing their homework into things such as the safe taking out of personal loans, even if their teachers aren’t teaching it them in school. It means people in their twenties should be learning about savings accounts and ISAs in order to learn how to both save and grow money, despite the fact that they might just be living in the moment. It means people in their thirties should be learning about all the ways to get themselves out of a financial fiasco, should they ever find themselves in one; one way to do this is learn all about debt consolidation from an informative sateen the matter, such as debtconsolidationprograms.co. And it means people in their forties should really be focusing on their pension schemes and planning for retirement, no matter how far away it is.

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Start planning for retirement, now

And that brings us on to our next task when it comes to thinking about our financial futures: planning for retirement. And, it’s not just people in their forties, fifties or even sixties that should be doing this either. No, everybody should be doing this, no matter their age and no matter how far away their age of retirement is.

One thing that anybody who is thinking and planning for their retirement must do is begin contributing to some sort of fund or pension (as well as the pension they are provided by their national government and their workplace). Specifically, the type of fund everybody who is thinking towards their retirement should be contributing their earnings towards is a Roth retirement fund

. This type of fund is something that both you and your employers contribute money towards, and when taken out will provide you with a tax-free income. So, if you and your employers spend a lifetime contributing to such a fund, you will reap the benefits of it when you come to retire.

No matter how old you are, no matter how much you earn and no matter how financial conscious you are, you should always be thinking about your financial future. Why? Because having a strong financial backing is something that is needed if you want to to live a long, stress-free life. Today’s the day to get started on doing your research into the world of finance and to start contributing towards your retirement — so do it!

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10 Penny Pinching Tactics You Should Skip

In these times of economic woe, ideas for trimming your budget abound. However, unless you’ve got unlimited amounts of time, you’re not going to be able to implement every single money saving idea you come across. And honestly, some money saving ideas are just not worth the time or the effort or the feeling of deprivation they bring.

So, here are 10 penny pinching tactics you should skip, along with 10 things you should do instead.

  1. Taking extra condiments and napkins from restaurants

If you’ve getting takeout and you’ve got extra soy sauce or ketchup, then by all means, use those up.  But for goodness’ sake, don’t take extra from the restaurant when you’re eating out.  Not only is it in poor taste, it’s also pointless.

Any condiment that’s out there free for the taking is going to be worth almost nothing (That’s why things like barbecue sauce are behind the counter but ketchup and mustard are not).  An entire bottle of ketchup costs little more than $1, and you’d need a huge pile of ketchup packets to equal what’s in the bottle.  Napkins, especially the thin type that restaurants stock, cost very little as well.

Instead:

If your budget is so tight that ketchup and napkins are difficult to afford, there’s no sensible reason for you to be eating at a restaurant.  You’ll save a whole lot more than the price of a few condiments by cooking a meal at home.

  1. Couponing for items you don’t use

Though it can be thrilling to get anything for free, if you’re looking to maximize the return on your time, you should focus on obtaining items you can actually use.  Free hair dye is awesome if you use it, but not so awesome if you don’t.

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[Image courtesy of jarmoluk/pixabay.com]

On a related note, even if you’re obtaining items you can use, it doesn’t make sense to stockpile large amounts.

It’s true that you can sometimes donate free items you don’t need, but if you’re spending a whole lot of time and gas obtaining these free items, you may want to consider whether a cash donation would make more sense.

Instead:

Find deals on items you use, buy less than a lifetime supply, and then focus your efforts somewhere else.

  1. DIY-ing everything in the kitchen

While you can save big bucks by cooking at home, not every kitchen project is an effective money-saver.  If you’re making your own version of an expensive food (granola is a great example of this), then a DIY recipe makes a lot of sense.  But if you’re making your own colored sprinkles or are making a labor-intensive condiment, the return on your time will be very poor.

Instead:

Focus on savings-intensive kitchen projects and don’t worry about the rest.

  1. Eeking extra years out of a car seat

Car seats have expiration dates on them for a good reason: after sitting in a car for a number of years, the parts begin to deteriorate, making them ineffective in a crash.  A new seat is expensive, but it’s nothing compared to hospital bills or worse, losing a child.

Second-hand car seats are also an iffy option unless you know for sure the seat hasn’t been in a crash.

Instead:

Pay attention to the expiration date on seats you own, and keep an out for a sale when it’s time for a new one.

  1. Making an extra trip to save on gas

Obviously, you’ve got to use gas in order to get your car to the station, so don’t make an extra trip to find a cheaper station. It only takes a few extra miles of driving to completely negate any savings on the actual gas purchase.

Instead:

Plan to get gas when other errands take you near a gas station, and if you can’t do that, fill up at a nearby station.  This will almost always save you more than driving to another station.

  1. Sewing your own clothes

There are plenty of reasons to sew your own clothes (you can customize the fit, you can use the fabric you want, you can avoid supporting sweatshops, to name a few), but if your focus is saving money, there are better ways to go.  Fabric, thread, patterns, and notions such as elastic, buttons, and interfacing all add up quickly, and it takes time to sew as well.

Instead:

Shop thrift stores, consignment stores, yard sales and clearance racks to stretch your clothing budget.

  1. Shopping at 10 different grocery stores

Grocery stores do all tend to run great loss-leader sales each week, and it’s tempting to visit each one of them to snag their best deals.  But if the stores aren’t very close together, you’re going to be using a fair amount of gas during your bargain shopping trip.  Plus, multiple store stops take a lot of time.

Instead:

Pick a handful of stores that run the best deals and stick with them.  You’ll still be saving money, but you won’t be wasting gas and time.

  1. Nixing insurance

Life insurance, car insurance, health insurance, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can feel like unnecessary expenses, but skipping out on them is penny-wise and pound foolish. If you ever find yourself in a place where you need the coverage, you’ll seriously regret not having it and the expenses you’ll incur will be far more than the amount you saved on premiums.

Instead:

Pick another area of your budget to trim. Call around to get quotes from different companies.  Get a high-deductible plan to reduce your premium (Just be sure to save up enough to cover your deductible.)

  1. Eating processed foods

There are always fantastic deals to be found on packaged and processed foods, and foods based on refined grains (Ramen, anyone?) are much less expensive than meats, dairy products, and produce.  But a low grocery budget is no bargain if you end up with a poorly nourished body.

Instead:

Buy produce in season, make use of frozen produce (it’s just as nutritious as fresh), stock up when you find a sale on healthy foods, and focus on naturally cheap whole foods (brown rice, oatmeal, root vegetables, legumes, chicken thighs, and eggs, for instance).

  1. Implementing frugal practices you hate

Thought we all have to do things we dislike, it’s best to pick and choose the money-saving activities that are the least painful for you.  The odds of you sticking with a habit you loathe are slim to none, and frugal habits are most helpful when you stick with them over the long haul.

Instead:

If you hate shopping at consignment stores but love cooking from scratch, focus on the cooking.  If you don’t mind using cloth napkins, washcloths and towels, but would rather die than give up your toilet paper, then just keep on throwing a pack of TP into your cart.

There are plenty of wise ways to save money without sacrificing your integrity, health, sanity, or all of your free time, and if you choose carefully, you can keep your budget and your attitude in good shape.

What penny-pinching tactics do you skip?

Kristen is an east coast wife, mom, and blogger behind The Frugal Girl. In an effort to inspire others to live frugally, Kristen contributes to the CareOne blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving advice.

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