2011-09-08 / Family

How Smart Shopping Can Save You Money Stop wasting money Think before spending Shop wisely

If you’ve ever wondered where your hard earned money is going, it’s time to take a more thoughtful approach to your spending.

Spending too much and living in deficit mode is stressful, but you aren’t alone. According to a recent Federal Reserve report the total U.S. consumer debt was $2.43 trillion.

To help, non-profit organizations like the Family Credit Management Services (FCMS) are assisting people in becoming debt-free by teaching them to take control of their spending. You can take advantage of the or- ganization’s free “Stop. Think. Save!” kit, which is available at www.stopthinksave.org and offers creative tips for saving money and smarter spending.

The kit includes a variety of helpful material, including a credit card sleeve that reminds you to take a moment before spending, a coupon wallet, a spending plan you can personalize and information on saving big and shopping smarter.

Here are some tips from the FCMS kit to help you save and spend better:

Are you a money waster? Do you miss bill payments and incur late fees? Do you pay ATM fees to access your own money? Stop wasting money on avoidable fees.

A latte every morning may seem like a worthwhile indulgence, but is it worth nearly $1000 a year? Small expenses add up, so the easiest way to build savings is to cut them out. Grow this number in your savings account, rather than your credit card bill.

We live in a world where there is an opportunity to make impulse purchases every time you go online. Shut off your “ purchase auto-pilot” and actively think about your spending. Before reaching for plastic ask, “do I need this or just want it? Is there a better way to spend this money?”

Don’t lose sight of big goals. Put a picture of that car you are saving for in your wallet and by your computer to help you stay goal-oriented.

Clipping coupons is a no brainer. Some people disregard the task, because of the effort involved. But it can be painless if you know what to look for.

Some of the best coupons are found on grocery store websites. Local newspapers also are great for coupons. And shop in bulk when possible. Remember, coupons are a marketing device, so only clip them for products you already use.

For more tips on saving, visit www.familycredit.org.

“No matter how small the savings, every extra effort is worth your time,” says Michael McAuliffe, president of FCMS. “In these difficult times, no savings method can be overlooked. Finding new ways to save is crucial.”

Remember Benjamin Franklin’s wise principle that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” By setting priorities, choosing wisely and saving regularly, you can meet financial goals you never thought possible.

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