Disclosure: Some posts contain referral links (much love if you use them!). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any entities.
Saving money does not have to involve any intense lifestyle change, nor should it become an extra burden. There are some easy ways to instead change your mindset surrounding purchases, and these simple adjustments can put more money in your pocket.
Creating a money-saving mindset is the biggest step towards ensuring that you get the best deal possible on most of your purchases. Now, I’m not talking about every single purchase – that would take a lot of managing and honestly, is not something that most people have time for. I’m talking about things outside of your standard recurring expenses, like rent, utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. While there are some great ways to save on those items, this post is all about saving on purchases you make periodically – like those on clothes, gifts and other odds and ends.
There are 3 steps that I go through that result in a sharp money-saving mindset. When I say money-saving mindset, what I’m talking about is basically a cycle that I default to in my mind prior to making a purchase. That cycle is always repeating and involves learning, training, and watching. Let’s jump in!
Adjustment #1: Educate Yourself
Before you can create your mental checklist in Adjustment #2, you need to educate yourself about the different types of retail savings options out there. I’ll share some of mine in the next paragraph to help you get jump-started, and as you do more and more to cultivate your money-saving mindset, you’ll learn different tricks and your mental checklist will improve.
Adjustment #2: Create a Mental Checklist
Whenever I am making a purchase, I have a mental checklist that I run through in my mind that lists all of the potential savings options I should be exploring. Depending on the store or purchase, this can range from email signup savings, free shipping/discount promo codes, purchasing discount gift cards, credit card portal discounts and shopping portal savings, to list some of them.
Adjustment #3: Patience Makes Perfect
This is one of the more difficult steps, honestly, especially in today’s need-it-now shopping culture. It isn’t always possible to wait to make a purchase, but when it is, a lot of times it pays off. By waiting and keeping your eyes open, you become an expert in whatever product you are wanting to purchase. In this way, you truly know when a good deal is a good deal, and when and how to best combine the different pieces of your mental checklist to achieve the deal.
How Does This Work?
I’ll give a personal example of how I was able to use this money-saving mindset to my advantage. I played a game called Spikeball with some friends and I was immediately in love. Sarah’s over here nodding as she read this because I am a big fan of this yard game. I wanted a set – it’s the perfect game to play with friends and family – but also cost $50, which was more than I wanted to spend on it, and there were no deals that I could find.
After running through all the different options to find a good deal, I held off and kept an eye on several different stores that I thought might have a sale. One day, I noticed that Ebates was offering double cashback for Dick’s Sporting Goods as well as an increased referral bonus. After some smart referring (aka, I referred Sarah to Ebates), and made the purchase with her Ebates account. Doing it this way added $10 to my account and $15 to her account, on top of the 15% cashback for the purchase and I got free shipping! Once it was all said and done, I was able to get Spikeball for $17.50, a 65% discount.
The Simple Summary
Now, this example is a little silly – I could have asked for it for as a gift since my birthday was around the corner (And Sarah was actually planning on getting it for my birthday – oops!). But there is something fun about seeing how you can work with promo codes and different options – and over the long haul, you can recognize some real savings. Really though, this is just about not taking the list price laying down and exploring available discounts, because why not! Let me know down in the comments if you have any go-to shopping savings options – I’d love to hear about them!