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Bargain Sites to Help You Control Your Money and Manage Spending
A Budget is a Must
Tahira Hira, Professor at Iowa State University stated in the Wall Street Journal, “Today many people feel loss of control over their money. Modern culture encourages overspending and irresponsibility.”
If this is you, you need to control your money. People of different age groups, different salary levels and different debts can manage their money while saving and enjoying life. Your life may look ‘healthy’ with a secure job, steady income, dining out often, two cars in the garage, but the hidden maxed out credit and the increasing debt is burying you fast.
“We don’t stop and think that earning money is only part of financial health, the other part is learning how to manage money,” says Tahira Hira.
The key to reaching your financial goal is to know where the money is coming from and where it is going. If you continue to make little purchases, you won’t have enough to pay off the credit cards. Then you repeat the negative action month after month and soon, very soon, you’re in deep financial trouble.
If you track your money, you will make sure you have enough to pay the credit cards, the student loans, and the car loan and have some for savings. Kathy McNally, the head economist at the financial literacy for National Foundation for Credit Counseling says, “You’re committing to managing your money instead of letting your money manage you. The earlier you start the better.”
The key to understanding your finances and managing your money is you. And you really have to do it. Saying it and looking at it on paper doesn’t count. We can come up with many clichés—walk the walk, talk the talk, practice what you preach. It all balances on paper—it is the commitment that is a challenge. Make managing your money a habit.
Be Prepared to Work to Save
There is such a person as a bargain hunter. This person could be you. First you must shop with a list. Go shopping with a mission in mind. Your mission is to find something you need not something you want. You need a list to keep you on track and to prioritize your spending. As with any good budget planner or great bargain hunter, shop with cash only. Do pre-shopping—this is the online checking or the newspaper advertisement checking of the prices. You many think you are getting a great deal, only to find the item much cheaper everywhere else.
“A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need,” Sidney Carroll.
Who better to give advice about frugal living than Steve and Annette Economides. They host a blog and web site, MoneySmartFamily.com. This web site has a wealth of information. They start off with money saving tips on several subjects. The site provides links to College Money—Easy Savings, College Textbook Savings, Dining Deals for Everyone, Gardening Ideas, Cheaper Computer Parts and much more. The site is free. You first must register. Very simple, name and e-mail address. They will then send a password to be used only once to get you registered. It is a nonsense combination of upper and lower case letters. This will get you on the site whenever you want to return and check for new deals.
The home page has links to coaching, budgeting, groceries, kids and money and books, movies and games. The coaching link has programs that you can sign up for at a price. You get to the programs via telephone or skype. The cost is $50 for thirty minutes, $50 for sixth minutes or a package deal of five-sixty minutes for $400.
The budget site has a video from the Today’s show and much more. Groceries also has a video seminar that helps you plan grocery trips and a link to their book, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half. The kids and money link has a financial training kit. This is very important for starting children on the correct road to budgeting and saving money. The final link of books, movies and games is not all money related. Some of the movies are classic and games are for character building.
Control Your Money by Planning Your Spending
You have to do your part in making any project work. It is just not going to happen because someone did it before. You must make a commitment to live on the money you earn and not on advances or credit cards. Saving pennies adds up to dollars. Pay attention to the little things.
The Economides’s only go shopping once a month. This may be a stretch to many, including me. I like fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. This is a personal choice. Check the weekly newspaper ads and use coupons. Don’t get detoured from your list. Plan your meals and buy only what is needed to make the meals. Think about all the extras you purchased because they price was right. Now think about all the food you have thrown away because you did need it, didn’t use it and didn’t freeze it. Now it is bad and you must discard it.
“Your financial success is never about how much you earn, but how much you keep and save,” Steve Economides.
Cutting costs and saving more can only be accomplished by you. Take a careful look at your budget and find areas you can reduce spending. The Cheapskate Guide; 50 Tips for Frugal Living, is another great site for finding ways to cut cost. The site adds some humor into the decisions you will make to cut expenses. Some of the tips may not apply to you, but they will hint at other ideas personal to you, to cut costs. Check out the site at http://zenhabits.net/the-cheapskate-guide-50-tips-for-frugal-living/
Manage Your Money
I have compiled a list of a few bargain shopping sites. There are too many sites for you to keep checking them when you planning a shopping trip. My suggestion is to take a rainy day and go online checking several. Make a list of the ones that cover several stores and sites. Save these on your favorites and frequently visit them.
www.freeshipping.org/. This is a frugal blog. They publish daily articles like: Get out of debt $10 at a time, or 6 Tips to resisting sales up sell. The sites provide you with coupon codes for free shipping at popular stores. As you can read, there is a variety of subjects included in bargain hunting.
www.shopping-bargains.com/ “Over 25% off Weight Watches Online orders are placed through this link.” The site also has coupon codes for many deals. Categories of free gifts, bonuses, deals of the day and exclusive deals for those visiting the site. You can enter the name of a store and they will search for deals.
123bargains.com lists daily deals and coupons by store name. Best Buy, Office Depot, Target, Wal-Mart and many more. Just click on the store name and check out the sales. They also have a listing of coupons, rebates and coupon codes. These numbers will give you an additional savings on your purchase, including free shipping coupons.
SmartBargains.com is a website that sells discontinued, and closeout items for a reduced price. They purchase in bulk and pass the savings to you. Anyone can go to the site and make a purchase. The shipping cost is $2.95 for a complete order, no matter how much it weights. But you can go to another site to receive a free shipping coupon.
Bargain shopping is a full time job. It will take time and patience to find the sites that work best for you and time to eliminate the sites not for you.