This time of year might be known for giving up bad habits thanks to Lent, but we're advocating for picking up good habits instead. When it comes to spending, we could all use some tips to better our practices. Here are some that we hope will last well beyond 40 days.
- Buy for quality, not cost: If you're someone who frequently shops lesser-quality items because of the cheaper price tag, then consider how much you're actually saving in the long run. An expensive pair of boots might last you a lifetime, whereas you might have to keep replacing the more affordable pair that is poorly made.
- Keep detailed track of your expenses: For some people, checking bank statements from time to time is how they track finances. But keeping tabs on where money goes — how much do you really spend on eating out per week? — is key to understanding the bigger picture of how to save up. Download apps like Ace Budget 2 ($1) to help with the budgeting process.
- Find alternatives: Once you see where you spend most of your money (aside from rent or car payments), come up with alternatives to curb the costs. Are you burning a hole in your wallet because of multiple overpriced drinks with the girls? Try hosting a wine night instead and asking everyone to BYOB.
- Become less dependent on credit: You've probably heard this a million times from your mom, but there's a reason. Relying on credit cards can get you in trouble if you're not 100 percent on top of your finances. Give yourself a trial period where you pay only in cash or with a debit card so you have more control over your spending decisions.
- Do your research: Chances are that if you find something in the store that you want right then and there, you can find it online — or elsewhere — for cheaper. Even if it's not the exact same item, you can usually find something similar on sites like Amazon at deep discounts.
- Wait it out: We're all guilty of impulse shopping from time to time. The next time you see something you think you really want, wait it out for a few days or weeks. You might find that you don't need it after all — or even score it on sale.