So many people spend money on things that aren’t practical and aren’t really worth the money they cost.

Don’t Get Wrapped Up in Image

As a teenager, I desperately wanted brand name clothes so I could “fit in.”  Unfortunately brand name clothes came with a brand name price tag, which usually wasn’t in the budget. Going without designer brands made me realize that I could still have fun and have quality friendships without putting on a brand name image. 

Now as an adult, I am not concerned about “Keeping up with the Joneses.”  I’ve learned that life is more important than that, and furthermore, financial freedom is more important than trying to look a certain part. 

The Clearance Rack

For as long as I can remember, as soon as I walk into a clothing store, I skip past most of the merchandise in the front and head straight to the back of the store to hit up the clearance racks.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a shirt for $3 or a pair of shoes for $5.  I go through clothes pretty quickly because I like to change up my wardrobe quite a bit, so I like that I can get multiple clearance shirts for the price of one regular price shirt.  In fact, I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve paid full price for an article of clothing, and yet I love my clothes and feel they are as stylish as any of the full price items.  I also shop at discount stores where the full prices are very reasonable. In those cases I won’t necessarily stick to the sale and clearance racks.

Coupons

I must admit -- when I first got married and started grocery shopping for the two of us, I refused to use coupons because they were such a hassle. I figured we had two incomes, so I didn’t really need to coupon clip.  After a while, I realized how silly I was for throwing away money.  We had debt we needed to pay off and a savings account to build up so all the extra money could definitely help!  

I started subscribing to our local Sunday newspaper so I could get all the coupons (which I still do to this day). I also find coupons online for many products. And whenever I shop online, I always search for “coupon code” plus whatever website I’m buying from to try to find an online coupon. Most of the time this quick search saves me more money!  And recently I discovered that most restaurants in my area (including fast food restaurants) offer coupons and discounts via e-mail if you sign up for their e-mail lists.  Many will even offer you a substantial discount on your birthday.   

Research

In addition to clipping coupons from our local Sunday paper, I also look through all the store ads and take note of the best prices for the things we need to buy. I also compare prices online.  My mom would hardly make a purchase without making sure she was getting the best price she could on it. 

Last year, I priced out new stainless steel appliances for our kitchen. I made a spreadsheet of the best prices I found on the items we wanted. When a sale came out one day that beat all of those prices, we were able to buy an entire kitchen of new stainless steel appliances for under $1500.

Don’t Spend Every Last Penny

"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." Proverbs 21:20

One lesson I’m glad I learned from my mom is to embrace this simple fact: just because I have money, doesn’t mean I need to spend it. When my husband and I go over our monthly budget, we realize that just because we have extra money after we pay our bills, doesn’t mean we should spend it on frivolous things.  We’ve found that most of our extra money is best used in a savings account, going towards our retirement fund, giving to our church, other ministries and people in need.  If we spent every penny we made on ourselves, our lives wouldn’t have much impact, and we wouldn’t get to be a blessing like God created us to be.  Not to mention that by putting more money into a savings account, we are more prepared for unexpected expenses that come up (which can’t be avoided).