Saving Money / Savings Advice
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There are all kinds of shoppers out there: people who meticulously plan for everything they’ll buy and make sure the money is in the budget, people who impulse shop whenever they feel like it and a lot of folks in between. On average, Americans spent $183 on impulse purchases each month in 2020 — a whopping $2,196 annually that you could bank, save or put toward other purchases — according to Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized consumer savings expert, who cites a survey by Slickdeals. Whether you plan your purchases or tend to impulse shop, here are some important questions that could save you a lot of money if you ask yourself them before you buy anything.
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Do I Need It?
It may seem like an obvious question, but many people don’t ask themselves this basic question, according to Alissa Krasner Maizes, a financial planner, attorney and founder of Amplify My Wealth’s investment advising firm.
“If you are looking to save money, sticking to your needs rather than your wants can make a big difference at the end of the year. Imagine if you spend $3,600 a year on clothing and $1,800 on eating out. When focusing on needs-only spending, since many purchases in these categories are considered discretionary, you can potentially save up to $5,400,” she said.
Can I Afford It?
Another basic but necessary question requires you to get honest about your budget — which of course, means having one in the first place. “Whether shopping for a need, want, or a splurge, asking yourself, ‘can I afford it?’ can positively impact your savings goals,” Maizes said.
She said that a budget can empower you “to make decisions that align with your financial plan. Although some people may think of it as restrictive, it allows you to have the strength not to have regrets and make decisions that are well thought out rather than impulsive.”
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Is There a Less Expensive Alternative?
Though there are some items where it’s just worth the money to pay for the brand name, the latest model or a pricier version or model, in general, Maizes said, did you look for less expensive alternatives before purchasing?
She recommends some money-saving tactics to consider before making a purchase: signing up for texting or emails for a discount, searching for coupons or rebates, waiting for a sale, or when shopping online looking for online cash-back …….