I don't think there is any thing wrong with having a list of wants or things that make your life simpler. We all need a little splurge from time to time. Personally I can't wait to start using my dryer again but getting the electric bill down is a necessity right now. Convenience items are very tempting and are great to have but are not a necessity. If they did not have it 40 years ago and got by just fine you should probably forgo buying it if you think you may have trouble paying some of your utilities or are looking to make a serious dent in your debt.
I'm talking to the person living pay check to pay check who thinks they will never get ahead. To the person who is worried about how to make their next mortgage payment, you should really consider forgoing that great deal on paper towels or juice boxes. They are not a need. Cloth napkins and water will do just fine. The few dollars you save on those purchases may seem insignificant but they truly do add up.
Once you have determined that something is in fact a need and not a want you should ask yourself these questions prior to making a purchase:
- Can I recycle something else for this purpose? Thinking outside the box is a big helper in saving. My old college sweat pants that my older kids forbid me to wear any more have become great cloth baby wipes. I would not have though of that in the college years!
- Can I barter in exchange for it? My husband is the master of this. He has an events / film company and has negotiated everything from a discount on tree removal to free chiropractic in exchange for his services. You just want to make sure when you barter that you are exchanging equal services so you both make out. The other beauty in bartering is that Uncle Sam does not have his hand out. One of my favorite things to barter is babysitting. I'll watch yours and then you can watch mine.
- Can I make this for less myself? I can't sew to save my life but I have become quite adept at making my own pizza crust. Boboli is expensive. I also make my own baby food and baby wipes. Little things can save you a ton. Have you tried making your own curtains? Scented candles?
- The last question should be where can I get it for the best price? You will be surprised by how many times asking yourself the first few questions eliminates the purchase. Once you establish the best price you want to determine if now is the best time to buy. Some items go on sale at certain times of the year. Lastly if you are purchasing on line make sure you check different cash back programs to see if you can get a percentage of your purchase price back. Some of my favorite cash back programs are BigCrumbs,and Ebates. It's nice to get the money back at the end of the earning period.
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