Since the recent publication of my book, A Year in the Life of a Recovering Spendaholic, I am more conscious of saving money. And I don’t mean saving money just by not spending money, but by intentional spending. Although I was successful (with one mistake!) when I chose to not purchase anything for myself or our home for an entire year, there are, of course, things that I now purchase. It would be foolish to think that one will never purchase anything. It is true that Americans especially spend sometimes with abandon, and have so many things that they can’t find what they have when they need it. This fact was reaffirmed recently when I cleaned out my closet. I am now wearing a blouse that I “lost” in my closet that still had the tags attached! Nevertheless, most of us do spend, and if we spend intentionally, we can save money.
I was in NYC recently and was taking a long walk down one of my favorite streets, Madison Avenue. I was not planning to purchase anything; I was just out for a walk. I was exploring the side streets to Madison Avenue, and noticed a shoe store of a brand that I love. I have not actually purchased their shoes before, since I have not found them to be affordable. I went in, and to my delight, there was a sale on their winter boots. I found a pair of boots that were on sale for only a third to a fourth of their usual cost. Now, it isn’t boot season, but it will be again soon, and when it is, those same boots will be back to full price. I had looked for new boots a couple of months ago during the end of the season sales, yet could not find any that I liked that were affordable. It is amazing to me how much footwear costs these days, and that people are paying those prices! I love quality, and there is a relationship to quality and cost, yet not to the degree that some designers charge. So, I will not usually purchase some brands that I love unless they are heavily discounted.
Yes, saving money in this manner does take time, and time is money. We do need to factor in the cost of our time in these decisions. But in this case, I was not even looking for boots; they just jumped out and grabbed me! Even better, there was no tax if they were shipped to me, and shipping was free! So, I now have new boots, and for a fraction of their full price! And the salesperson said that these same boots (with such a minor variation it will not be noticeable) will be in the fall line. Since I don’t follow trends, if they weren’t, that would not bother me, but that is a bonus in this case.
I have another example of saving money by spending money. My make-up is not inexpensive, and never goes on sale. But fairly frequently the store where I purchase it has storewide sales with a certain amount of a gift card given based upon how much one spends. I pay attention to when those sales happen, and wait to purchase what I need when I can benefit from them. Another example of saving money by spending money.
What about coupons? Do we save money when we use coupons? Yes, and no. If we use coupons to purchase items we would have purchased without the coupon, then yes, we save money by doing so. However, if the enticement of the coupon gets us to the store to purchase items we would not have otherwise purchased, then no, that is not saving money by spending money. The same is true for sales. We should be smarter about these spending decisions. It is much better to buy items we need when they are at full price than to buy items we might not even want just because they are at a reduced price.
This is all about intentional spending of items we need, and fully understanding the difference in our needs and our wants.