New semester, new ways to save

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, Family Resource Management Field Specialist, SDSU Extension

Spending money is arguably the most fun thing about having it. After creating a spending plan, which I urge you to stick to, spending wisely is the next step. Here are a few tips to keep you on track as you start the semester.

It isn’t saving if you would not have bought the item in the first place.

Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it is a good deal if the money spent is needed for another expense (books!!!). This time of year, retailers are getting rid of last year’s inventory. A shirt on sale for $10 is great, but only if you will wear it. If you wouldn’t normally buy the shirt, it doesn’t matter if it was $50 originally, what matters is that now you are out $10 you could have put towards something else.

Buy in bulk.

Buying toilet paper, shower soap and other non-perishable items are often less expensive per item when you buy them in bulk. It isn’t always the case, so do the math to calculate the cost per item. Then determine if you have the storage space. If you don’t have storage, try going halvsies with a friend so you can still get the discount. 

Shop sales

Buying items on sale or clearance is better than paying for full price. If you don’t have a preference and one brand or one store is on sale and another isn’t, go for the less expensive one. However, shopping sales also means keeping an eye on the local ads, and noticing how often the sale happens. At the end of a season, you can expect items to be on sale (i.e. winter coats and boots). Make sure the price is good and the item is something you will use. If it collects dust in your closet, it wasn’t a good spending decision.

It can be very fun to go spend all the holiday money you just got, but saving is also important. Locking your money away in a bank account to sit there until you have enough for your bigger goals is hard, so try and spread out the spending you can do so you don’t get the itch to get a little retail therapy in at the wrong time.