We all have to make minor and major purchasing decisions almost every day. Sometimes we're buying something life-changing, like a house or a car. Other times, we're just doing our weekly grocery shop. But whether it's a small purchase or a large one, it has an impact on our finances. Some of us don't put a lot of thought into the things we buy, but then we wonder why we can't save any money. We can't figure out why we have to keep replacing things, even though the answer should be obvious. We should all be trying to buy smarter, for several reasons. It's good for our bank balances and lifestyles, and it's also better for the environment. Read this guide to find out how you can start buying smarter.
Food is a weekly or sometimes even daily expense. We all need to eat, and there's no denying that. But just because food is essential, it doesn't mean it's impossible to save money on it. Buying smart when it comes to food isn't just about money, either. It's also about getting the healthiest food for what you can afford. When you do your grocery shopping, there are lots of things you can do to save. One thing you can do is avoiding being taken in by looks. Is a slightly wonky carrot going to taste any different to a perfectly straight one? And does the branded chocolate really taste better than the off-brand one? Try doing some blind taste tests to decide. If you can afford it, buying in bulk can save you a lot. Just don't be taken in by special offers on items you didn't intend to buy.
Your grocery shop also includes some household items on occasion. Some of them might be weekly purchases, like toilet paper. Others, such as cleaning products, might only be necessary every couple of months. They're still regular purchases, though, and you could spend a lot on them in one year. Buying them in smarter ways is similar to how you can save on food. Buying in bulk is a good idea, and so is trying out some off-brand products. Try going to cheap stores where you can pick up a bargain or even looking at deals online. You might not always recognize the brand, but who cares if it does the job?
Electronics are fairly significant purchases, but a lot of us don't put enough thought into making smart buys. We can all be guilty of thinking about what things look like and whether everyone else owns them. If you want your electronics to last longer, you have to spend time picking the best item for your budget. Even if you want to save on the initial purchase, it can be worth spending a bit more to avoid having to buy again in only a year or two. Try to focus on quality and not on which electronics are the most popular on the market. You can consider insuring your items too, whether it's under your home insurance or a separate policy.
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Clothes are another thing that we all need, although we base our purchases on what we want too. Striking the right balance between necessity and desire can be difficult. But since you have to wear clothes, they might as well be something you love. The question is how much you should spend on different items. It can be much better value to spend more on a pair of shoes that will last years, instead of cheaper ones that will last months. However, not everyone can splash out on their clothes and accessories. If you want to balance quality and price, look for sales and special deals, as well as second-hand things. You can make some great savings on well-made and even designer items.
Home and Garden
Purchases for your home and backyard can be large or small. It could be a new cushion, or it could be a new bed. As with clothes and electronics, anything you buy for your home is something you want to last. You're likely to save a lot of money if you're able to spend a bit more in the first place. Some smaller items don't need to be expensive, but you should try to invest in larger purchases. When you're buying furniture or perhaps equipment like a lawnmower, look for recommended products. Use websites like TheSmartConsumer.com to find the best-rated items on the market. You can read reviews from people who have tried and tested products.
Keeping fit can be completely free, or it can be very expensive. If your preferred style of working out includes any kind of equipment, you could end up spending a lot. The first thing you should do is think about whether you really need to buy something. If you compare buying a machine to a gym membership, how long would you have to pay for the gym to match the price? Do you need a fancy machine when there might be more affordable options, and even free ones like running outside instead of on a treadmill? If you do want to buy something, look for savings and concentrate on quality. However, don't spend a lot on something you're unsure you'll use. You might want to go cheaper and upgrade later.
Kids are expensive, and their needs continue to evolve. The most annoying thing about them is that they refuse to stop growing! When it comes to clothes, obey the opposite rule to yours. Children don't need anything expensive because they'll soon grow out of them. Of course, if you're planning on more kids, it could be better to buy to last. But otherwise, you'll end up trying to sell, recycle or give away clothes you no longer need. That might sound acceptable, but you can be surprised by how many clothes you collect. When planning for multiple children, pick out furniture and other large purchases that will last. If they're still good when your family is complete, you can pass them on to someone else or sell them.
Make smarter purchasing decisions on everything you buy by considering their long-term or short-term nature. If you don't need something to last, stick to a smaller budget.