Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
This week’s tip is so simple, but it can be extremely effective in helping you save at least $100 per year, if not more.
Before purchasing anything, ask yourself: Is this really a good deal? As I’ve often said, just because something is a great bargain, it doesn’t mean it’s a great deal for you.
Here are four questions to help you think through whether a purchase is a good deal for you:
1. Can I afford this?
If you can’t afford to buy something, it’s not a good deal — no matter how low the price. Period. You don’t need to go onto questions two, three, and four as you’ve already answered the question: don’t buy whatever it is you’re contemplating because you don’t have the money for it.
If it’s something you really want or need, wait and find a way to save extra money to pay for it. I promise it will be much more fulfilling to pay cash in full for something then to have to deal with a credit card bill that you can’t pay down the road.
2. Do I need this?
If your budget is really tight, train yourself to think in terms of need not want. This doesn’t mean, “Will this make my life easier?” Or, “Will this make me happy?” We’re thinking solely in terms of the question, “Can I live without this?” In most cases, you can probably live without the item.
This doesn’t mean you should never buy an item unless it’s an absolute necessity, but it does mean you should be aware of whether or not you can live without something when you’re contemplating whether something is a good deal.
3. Can I get a better deal elsewhere?
In many, many cases, there’s a way to find a better deal. Be it by buying used, asking for a discount, ordering online with a discount code, or waiting for a better sale.
Do your research and don’t just fall for a supposed great deal unless you know it truly is a great deal.
4. Can I use something I already have?
Instead of going out and shopping for new clothes, go through your closet and see what new outfit combinations you can come up with. Instead of buying a new appliance, see if you can fix your old one. Instead of purchasing a new couch, investigate the possibility of re-upholstering the one you already have.
See if there’s a way to make do with what you already have before rushing off to purchase that “great deal”. It’s almost always less expensive to use what you already have than to buy something new.