Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a little less in 2018? Fortunately, it might be a lot easier than you think to keep a little more green in your wallet.
In fact, there are a number of tried and true ways to save money on virtually everything you buy. We call them our 15 golden rules to super savings.
1. Never buy new what you can buy used
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To save money on everything you buy, never buy new. Well, nearly never buy new. You might possibly want to buy new underwear from time to time.
But for most everything else, let someone else take the depreciation hit. The average new car loses 11 percent of its value the moment it’s driven off the lot, according to insurance site TrustedChoice.com. After five years, new vehicles typically lose about 63 percent of their value.
Cars might be the best-known example, but virtually everything depreciates over time. Jewelry, furniture, appliances and even video games and movies can depreciate faster than you can say “impulse buy.” Check out Craigslist, and eBay for practically new items being sold for a song.
2. Save big with bulk purchases
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Let’s say you use a lot of batteries. Why buy a package of four batteries when you could buy 20? Buying in bulk can be an excellent way to lower your per-unit cost. Check out Amazon prices on Duracell AA batteries as an example. As of this writing, you can buy 20 for less than $20 and 48 for less than $30.
However, not every bulk buy is a steal. If you’re thinking about going the warehouse route, read “The 18 Best Buys at Warehouse Stores” before you start shopping.
Also, if you are buying perishables in bulk, make sure you can use them all before they go bad. Better yet, bring a friend or relative and split the purchase — and the savings.
3. Tame impulse buys with a list
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It’s hard to put a number on how much impulse buying costs us each year, but 84 percent of us confess to making a purchase on the fly, according to a 2016 CreditCards.com survey.
Tame the tendency to buy on impulse by limiting yourself to what’s on your shopping list. Also, create an ongoing list of planned purchases. When you notice your shoes are wearing thin, add shoes to the list. When you decide you need a bigger slow cooker, add that to the list.
When you are tempted to buy something on the spur of the moment, refer to your list. If the item is not there, remind yourself that you don’t need it.
4. Buy generic
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If you’re buying a brand name, you’re likely spending extra cash and might not be getting much in return.
Several years ago, Consumer Reports compared name-brand and store-brand grocery products. The study revealed that in blind tests, most items tied in terms of their taste. In some instances, the store brand was actually preferred over the name brand. And costs for store brands were much lower.
The Food and Drug Administration says consumers can save about 85 percent by buying generic prescriptions. Generic drugs must meet the same quality standards as brand names and must also include the same active ingredients in the same strength as their more expensive counterparts.
5. Negotiate for the lowest price
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You’re missing out on great savings if the only time you negotiate is when you’re buying a new car. We give you tips on the fine art of bargaining in the story “13 Tips for Success in Any Negotiation.”
6. Stop being the early adopter
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Always having the latest and greatest gadget first might make you the cool kid in your circle of friends, but it’s also going to empty your wallet in a hurry.
Why do you need to upgrade anyway? Is a 50-inch TV really going to make your life that much better than your 37-inch TV that works perfectly fine?