It’s Your Money Column – Saving Money Principles

Saving money can be a challenging game and one that we can win. The odds are in our favor and are much better than buying lottery tickets. Here are some general principles from the online publication, "Bottom Line Secrets," found on the Web at

Shop for what you need, not for recreation. "Just looking" seldom works because there is often something that catches your eye and temps you to buy even if you don’t really need it.

Wait until you can pay cash for most things. This gives you a cooling-off period to decide if it’s something that’s really important.

Do as much as you can yourself. Trade services with friends whose skills are different than yours.

Plan ahead. Buy in quantity when the items are on sale. Watch for sales and bargains and buy when you find a good price.

Research and compare prices. Driving across town to buy the cheapest gas may not always be the best decision, but using this principle and comparing prices for most of what you buy will make the practice pay off.

Ask for discounts and find out when items might go on sale. Some stores will let you claim the sale price if the item goes on sale shortly after you purchase it. Ask for senior discounts – being a senior is a good deal these days. Are there days of the month when certain items tend to be marked down? Tell clerks that you’re working hard to clothe your children and ask for shopping tips in their store.

Look for gently used items at resale shops and garage sales. Used children’s clothes and toys can be great bargains. Used appliances can come with a limited warranty. You can save a great deal by buying used sports equipment and furniture. However, don’t buy just because it’s a good price.

Instead of buying, use the library. Most libraries offer free e-mail, audio books, videotapes and other fabulous information in addition to an endless supply of investment guidelines, adventure stories and other free advice and entertainment.

Give up trying to impress other people. If they are critical of something you have or are wearing, ignore them. Most likely, they are so busy trying to impress others that they don’t really notice your choices. Be a good person to be around; someone who is happy with yourself and satisfied with your lifestyle, regardless how much money you have.