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A Penny Saved Isn’t Always Earned

by Don Current on April 11, 2011

Save big money

photo courtesy Hot Coupon World

As every husband knows, having your wife come home and say “guess how much I saved today?” is not usually a good sign. While I’m all in favor of saving money on your purchases, there are still a few things you need to watch out for.

Want vs. Need

This one is pretty straight forward. When you’re trying to save money, you have to be careful about whether it’s something you really need at the moment. I don’t care if it is 90% off. If you don’t really need it, or won’t need it in the near future, then it is NOT a good deal.

Large Volume Mistakes

Usually you can save quite a bit of money by buying things in volume. For instance, a 50lb. bag of rice at a warehouse store is usually cheaper than (50) 1lb. bags of rice. The question is, how long will it take you to use that amount, and what is the shelf life of the product. Obviously it’s not a savings if you’ve only used half of it and have to throw away the other half.

Commodity items that have a long shelf life, or that you go through a lot of are often good deals in bulk. Many times you can extend the shelf life by re-packaging and freezing parts of it as well.

Borrowing From Peter

Sometimes you see a great deal, but you just don’t have the funds available to buy it. No matter how tempting the deal, you need to refrain from buying it. Don’t go into debt, or rob from another account with the intent of making it up. You don’t want to come up short when the car insurance comes due and you haven’t gotten the account repaid.

It All Adds Up

Also, don’t make the mistake of forgetting about basic elementary school addition. Yes, dollar stores are great. Many of the dollar items are a much better value than at regular retail stores. Don’t forget though that the dollars add up. Fifty $1 items still add up to a $50 spend. If it’s not an item you really need, don’t buy it just because it’s a dollar.

Also be careful because some of the dollar items can actually be purchased for less at a retail store. Always know your prices before buying.

Saving money by buying at sales, in volume, and with coupons are all great ways to save when used with a little prudence. Make sure the item is really necessary, will be used in a timely manner, and already has funds allocated for it.

What other watch-outs do you have for saving money?