I noticed that when I read the Sunday paper (and the store sale flyers) or catalogs, that suddenly I would "need" something because it was on sale. I also noticed that when I got catalogs in the mail, I would also find that I "need something" and I had some un-necessary magazine subscriptions (free of course) that provided tons of articles about which celebrity was wearing, what the best hair and makeup products and new fashions, home decorating). The list of temptation was pretty much endless.
I know it sounds super-easy and probably all of you already do those things, but to tell you the truth, I didn't realize how much those sales pitches were influencing the money I spent, until I ended up with two of the same bedding sets that I didn't need.
My bank account and my peace of mind thank me for this, and I no longer envy or crave the products that I really do not need.
Thanks for listening to me. It was an epiphany for me. Now I'm enjoying ThriftyFun much more than those other sales pitches and glossy colorful advertisements (like buy more save more, hahaha).
By Bella Swan from Forks, WA
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You are so correct on all points! I had gotten myself into a spending, debt bind, but now am slowly working out of it.
I won't say those are 100% to blame for my problem, because I have tendency to excess anyway, but it has helped alot to reduce the feeling that I have to have something.
It also helps to avoid looking at coupons! When money is better, I may go back to using them. I have a favorite toilet paper, but even with a $1 off coupon, it still costs $6 more for the 12 roll pack than it does for a cheap or store brand.
Thanks so much for your post---it helps to remind me to keep on with what I am trying to do!
I admire your actions, but please DO NOT just "throw away catalogs without so much as opening a page." If you look on or inside the front page, back page or other inserts in the catalog you can usually find some sort of contact number or website to have the catalog company stop sending you junk-mail/catalogs. If all else fails, call their ordering line and then ask them how you can be removed from their mailing list.
You will not only keep yourself away from unnecessary spending temptations, but will also help save the planet & environment, and reduce your personal carbon footprint.
I commend your insight and actions. Good luck.
Ditto to what tahlulu says but you can also go to your local post office and request to fill out a form that stops all catalog delivery! If you get anymore (or junk fliers) in the future please recycle!
Donate the magazines (with your address cut out/ sharpie covered) to local clinics, hospitals for their waiting room, and homeless shelters, etc., too :-)
Me? I would never dream of canceling my Sunday newspaper subscription because spending only ten minutes one time a week going through the general coupons and my favorite grocery store and pharmacy fliers not only do I end up getting a free newspaper subscription from using the coupons and sale fliers but also save a 'minimum' of $20.00 a month on merchandise, too! The secret is in using restraint and only purchasing what you know you normally use and will use (if bulk buy and storing) within six months ;-) Oh and BTW I recycle the Sunday paper, too !!!
I applaud you for your efforts and glad to know you're reigning in your spending habits :-) Bravo!
The catalogs and newspaper inserts can be recycled too. Go green!
Just because a person sees something someplace that they think they need, doesn't mean they have to get it. If a person doesn't have the extra money for an item don't get it. That is what I do. I enjoy looking at ads and catalogs to see what is around and how prices compare. Usually I buy the store brands, in most items, but lately I have noticed that that sometimes the store item is higher priced than a name brand.
Deeli and other have the right idea. Here is what I did to keep saving money and supporting local libraries.
Womansday.com has an option that allows you to order a digital mag' that is sent to you each month, saving money and millions of trees. There is one drawback, however. You can read the mags but you can't print anything. If this is important to you, you can visit the local library.
Family Circle will jump on the digital bandwagon soon, I am sure, but have not yet. I go to the library once a month and either check them out or visit their websites. This one is all digital mags, cookbooks and more. http://www.zinio.com/
They are cheaper, save resources we can't afford to keep wasting, and come right to your emails every month.
As for spending, I ask myself several questions before I spend:
1. Do I really need it?
2. Can I make it?
3. Is there somewhere I can get it 2nd hand.
I figured out a long time ago that there are several things in life you can't get second hand;
food, bills, rent, utilities, insurance and car payments, gas, etc.
Furniture, clothes, household goods, craft supplies, shoes, cars, etc, are all things I can get used. By saving money on the second list, I can sometimes afford the first.
In the grand scheme of things, once the money is spent it's gone. No matter how much you make after that, you can never get that money back. Money, then, becomes like sleep and time. I can be replentished but never replaced.
I will share something with you that might help to avoid the mistake I made. When I was in my 20's, I read an article that said if a person put just 5.00 a week in a bank account, by the time they were 55 years old, they would have a large amount of money. As the initial 20.00 per month went in, the money would compound along with the interest, which of course would go up too.
I would have been well off now, but I didn't do it.
Look at a financial advisor website, or visit your local community college and take a night course or weekend course on saving. Get a book from the library and see how much those small savings can add up. I didn't, and as much as I love my thriftyfun community, I would love to know I can avoid eating cat food when I am old. Well, older! Just some things to keep in mind.
Amen! Stay away from advertisements, catalouges and the mall! You'll never miss what you might have thought you 'needed'!
I figured out a long time ago to stay out of stores "just looking" to avoid buying things I didn't need. I didn't catch on so fast when it came to online shopping, though. A couple years ago I added up what I spent a few bucks at a time on Ebay and I was shocked! Now I treat online browsing just like I do going to the mall: something I do only occasionally, or when I actually need to buy something.
For a while I was receiving an amazing number of print catalogs in the mail. I used the excellent web site www.catalogchoice.org to help cut down to just the ones I really do like to purchase from. (No affiliation with web site except as satisfied member.)
I really enjoyed reading your tips, Bella! I am pretty good at not falling for "I really need that", but I have. I now have the body suite to make me slimmer, and I have noticed no difference. I bought the pillow that twists and it suppose to be good for your neck, and it does work some. I look at the store ads and it is very hard for me not to pass up a good deal. When I was rearranging my freezer, I found many, many bags of frozen vegetables.
I am going to share your post with friends, and make sure you get the credit for this!
Thank you, Patty, Overland Park, Ks
Great tip and comments, all only have one thing to add.
When tossing those catalogs, be extra-mindful of the ones that are offering you a line of credit (i.e., the DH ordered something from Swiss Colony five years ago and we're still getting these " you can charge 1,000 and pay only 25 a month!" things).
Catalogs like this have your name, an account number they've pre-created for you, and generally also code numbers and thin bar codes. In the case of Swiss Colony, you'll find that info on the inside front page, the back cover ( and just in case you overlooked those, LOL) an insert order form in the center.
Before you toss or recycle these catalogs,yank the pages from those areas and shred ( we usually block them off with a black permanent marker and cut them up small with scissors) just to be on the safe side in deterring ID theft.
My weakness is QVC and HSN. It is amazing how many things I "need" when I watch those channels! Granted, I have many awesome items and have bought many nice gifts at very reasonable prices. However, my bank account would really love me if I "fasted" from those stations! I also throw catalogs away very quickly! But if it is a Christmas catalog or QVC is having one of their Christmas shows...lookout! I have got to do better. Maybe if I try the "one day at a time" approach!
Reach into the middle section of the paper and pull out those ads you don't like and compost or recycle box them. Apparently, a lot of you do not have children/grandchildren where watching for 'affordable' clothing (even cheap brands) come on sale. School supplies, HBA products. If one flier has toilet paper on sale, most likely the Kleenex and paper towels are too. I find it takes me 15 sec. per flier to look rather than 2 hours of looking online. There are a lot of us who do not buy on whim but do lists according to the lower marketing prices.
My son is a grocery store manager and tells me the rotation of our usual purchases. If needing more of shelf stable item, stock up. 5 weeks later, restock again. I also check with the produce manager who told me the rotation of certain veggies/fruits I buy. So I plan menus on the sales. What week are all the frozen veggies by all brands doing a push for lower price? The week after my son orders pallets of them! You can save a few ads and set up your own system.
Coupons in the paper are life savers for many lower income households if they use them. I take out what I use, pass them to the neighbor. My mom clips all out for the VFW who sends them to the military bases for families to use, can be 6 months expired and they can still use them. Cub grocery and Walmart take 3 month expired coupons. Who pays full price for that $5 bottle of shampoo or toothpaste? Same on sale for $3 and then use the $2 coupon. STOCK UP for the next 3 months till it comes again. As I said, us with families do this. I also can share with the food shelf banks this way. I may not get much, but I pay it forward. So those who don't want, remove yourself from lists. Those who want diaper coupons, etc. contact the website of the products to get on their snail mail list as well as online coupon list.
My magazine subscriptions are gotten when they ask you to subscribe during special fee time. Why pay $10 when you can pay $5 for a year of the same magazine? My THIS OLD HOUSE cost me $10 a year instead of the $36. OPRAH was $10 instead of full price. I read them, pass them to friends who read them--MAKE SURE YOU TEAR OFF YOUR NAME--and then you can supply a nursing home, or as I do, take them to schools, head start, etc. There are always projects they do that may need pictures to cut out. Then they recycle them properly.
Those who toss to the garbage; dumpster divers love you if you do not tear out the section with your name on them. Don't just blacken with marker. That can be removed with a q-tip and nail polish remover, or the Mr. Clean sponge. Either way, it is your ID and security from fraud.
I need to add: I take my magazines like THIS OLD HOUSE to the school (about a year after I have had a chance to look them over well for my own projects of redo), and they go directly to the Industrial Tech wing where kids are learning to make projects from wood---small tables, furniture, desks, beds, entertainment centers and finally their senior year, they build a new home, ready to be moved off their lot onto someone else's.
The IT director said many projects come from the magazines I give them. Gives kids ideas of what to make. Maybe your schools don't have IT wings, but it is worth passing on valuable information to those who may not get it.
This is sooo true, I like that magazine called All You I think is its title, and it has tons of coupons but I only keep the ones I need. http://www.allyou.com/
Also I enjoy making my own stuff, it brings me a great deal of joy and saves money as well..just look up sites about how to use everyday things like baking soda, vinegar and such and you will come up with ways to make your own everything, even lip gloss, out of honey and Crisco and Koolaid, it is great fun to do!
I am so glad to see you point this out, you're right it is the obvious that people miss because marketers are telling them they are "saving money", well if you weren't going to buy it in first place, you are not saving money, you a spending money. Here's my added point on this topic, coupons are the most insidious. Unless you were going to buy the specific product anyway, you are not saving money, especially brand names. I find, often, that if it's a product that I am not picky about the brand, the store brand of the item is always cheaper, even with the coupon. I stopped clipping coupon avidly when I realized that my grocery bill was 20-50% higher when I used a plethora of coupons, because I was buying things I would not have bought before. I do look for coupon of brands that I am loyal too but I find that they are not couponed much, because they are good products and people buy them anyway and do not need coupons to promote (a good example of my favorite brand that this is true in basic or reduced fat Hellman's Mayonnaise, their coupons are always special new products that I'm probably not going to buy). I do follow they sales for my favorite/preferred brands and stock when they are on sale.
Money saved from ads is a good thing, and you are right, only if you need them.
I found going through the ads and the "wish" book, catalogs, when I find something I think I need, I fold the pages, then put the catalog away for a week or so. Then go back through it, and look at the folded pages. 9 out of 10 times, I don't remember what was so great on the page! Guess I don't need it! Then I recycle the catalog, if you don't order, they quit sending.
This is so true! Whenever I have reached my budget for the month, I refuse to even look at the ads that come. You will inevitably find something you "must have" that 5 seconds ago, you were just fine without.
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