Saving Money in the New Year: Helpful Shopping Tips and Ideas

By Penny Saver, January 2, 2012, Credit Cards, Personal Finance, Shopping Tips

As the end of the year approaches it is time to start thinking about saving money in 2012. This is what the celebration of a new year is all about. It is about forgetting last year’s mistakes and putting your best foot forward. It is about wiping the slate clean and starting over. It is about hope and expectation. However, the problem with a New Year’s resolution is that we often have unrealistic expectations. Our resolutions are often too extreme and therefore impossible to attain. The majority of resolutions are all but forgotten by the time that February rolls around. It is better to have smaller and more incremental and manageable goals. For example, losing weight and saving money are the twin pillars of New Year’s resolutions. However, going to the gym five times a week or working 80 hours at the office are typically unrealistic ways to achieve those goals. Extreme resolutions and expectations will automatically set you up for failure. It is better to think smaller. If you are planning on saving money in 2012, then here are some easy shopping tips and ideas that will help.

1. Be sure to avoid impulsive purchases. The economists have a fancy name for a consumer’s impulsive spending habits. The call it transaction utility. The theory states that a consumer gets more joy out of the “act” of purchasing something than they do the actual product. This is why people will often try to return that big ticket item. Once the act of purchasing the product is over, the guilt from spending too much money sets in. Stores bank on the fact that people are impulsive when they shop. Be smarter than the stores.

2. Do more of your shopping on the Internet. The Internet has forever changed the way we shop. While some people still enjoy prowling the suburban mall for sales, others love clicking the mouse in the confines of their living room, happy that they never having to fight over a parking spot again. Both methods of shopping take time. Scrolling through web sites and searching for deals is no different than bargain hunting at a box store. However, in the end the Internet is usually cheaper. Furthermore, shopping from home will not only save you money on gas, but it is altogether greener for the environment.

3. Shop according to the seasonal sales. Everybody says that they they are going to do this, but few of us really follow through in the end. What does it mean? As it gets closer to spring and summer it is time to restock the wardrobe with winter clothes, and as winter approaches it is time to hit the clearance racks for next year’s pair of shorts.

4. Coupon cutting is becoming a quickly growing trend that can help greatly with saving money. If you take the time to look, then deals and bargains can be found most anywhere. For example, if you are planning on traveling, then you need to be aware that airlines offer the best deals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Newspapers and junk mail are filled with all types of money-saving coupons. From discounts at restaurants to deals at grocery stores, there are sales to be found if you know where to look.

5. Shop around. People often think about this term when they are shopping for smaller items, as they are looking for that deal that will save them a couple of bucks. However, it is better to apply it to life’s bigger costs. From auto insurance and gym memberships to mortgages and cable and phone bills, a little shopping around can save you a lot money. Companies are fighting for your business. Take advantage of it.

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