How to Save Money Without Giving Up Too Much
*Telephone survey conducted by StrategyOne among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 American adults in July 2009.
Likewise, fashion staples such as jeans, shoes, and hosiery are worth the extra bucks, while trendy accessories and pieces with short shelf lives―like T-shirts―are not. Take Real Simple reader Allison Melott’s experience with shoes: “Buying poor quality shoes and then having the foot, leg, and back aches that result is like spending dollars to save pennies. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Find out which items are worth your money:
Indulge in Little Luxuries
It’s easier to cut back when you don’t feel deprived of the joys in life. The majority of survey respondents―62 percent―say it’s important to spend a small amount of slush money every now and then. Moreover, half of the respondents say that, unless they continue their daily low-cost rituals, such as a morning cup of coffee, they don’t feel like themselves. In fact, Real Simple reader Kym Kinsley says, “A latte is a part of my mental wellbeing, and I told my husband that it is a nonnegotiable item no matter how tight money becomes. So he gets me one every morning before he goes to work.”
Kinsley isn’t alone: Twenty four percent of people report that a cup of coffee is their preferred pick-me-up. Including Real Simple reader Deanna Savage, who said she's not willing to give up her "daily Starbucks fix." Other winners:
- Buying lunch: 44 percent
- Ordering a movie on demand: 20 percent
- Buying a magazine: 18 percent
- Making an impulse buy at a cash register, such as candy: 17 percent
- Downloading music: 17 percent
Pay Yourself First
- Pay yourself an allowance each week for entertainment and nonessential items―even if it’s only $50. Sticking to a hard number should help wipe out (or, at least, greatly reduce) guilt.
- Sign up for an automatic monthly deduction of a set amount from your checking account to a high-interest savings account such as ING Direct. Knowing that money is going into your savings before you can spend it should ease your worries.
- Realize that sometimes the benefits of spending money go beyond your bank account. Real Simple reader Rute Filipe Belanger reports that her gym membership pays off in dividends. “Life looks so much better after a great workout,” she says. “I focus better, get more work done, and do not go shopping as much to relax. So the gym membership saves me money and makes me a healthier happier person.”
For more tips, see: