The first thing you have to do when considering your financial future is to get into the mindset that you have to think about the future as well as what is going on in your life right now. How is what you do today or this weekend going to affect your financial future. I'm not saying don't go out and have any fun, on the contrary.
I think the hardest thing even for me being a saver is to not always get what you want right now. Time=money. We've all heard that, but let me suggest it in a new way.
If you think about it, how often do you think you have to have something in the store and if you go home without it your realize maybe a week later that you never went back to purchase it and now it seems like a silly idea. Money not spent! How many times do we order a soft drink at the restaurant only to drink one glass and it cost us $2!!! Did we want a soda that bad? Could we have waited until we got home and spend a $1 on a 2 liter that would satisfy 3-4 people? I used to tell my husband all the time that soda at a restaurant was outrageously priced... he'd buy it anyway and watch me drink water. Now that he's begun to see that $2 as money towards another meal out or a movie or our sons college, he orders the water and waits until he gets home for the soda. Now if I order a soda on a rare occasion, he looks at me like I'm crazy. Funny how things change!
Another note about timing. I mentioned that I used to be the saver of the family. The best I knew to do was shop at Walmart and hope the things I needed that week were on sale. I would occasionally make it to another store if their milk or cheese was on a special sale, but otherwise stuck to one store for most of my shopping. This wasn't a terrible plan, but little did I know what I should've been doing all those years. Instead I should have been watching for the sales on the items that I knew we used and buying them only when they were on sale. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? It was a whole new concept for me!
Buy purchasing items only when they are on sale I mean purchase what you will need of that item for say 2-3 months. When you do that for everything your savings start to add up. It does take a little extra money up front to stock up on these items and still purchase what you need for the home that week so do it as you can financially, but over time you will find that a sale comes up when it's about time to purchase toothpaste so you do so and all the while you don't need the regular purchase of shaving cream this week- your cabinet is stocked and ready. This is called stockpiling which we will dig further into later... but in this case timing=money.
We will talk about adding couponing to the whole saving money equation at a later time... hope your in for some real rewards :)
By the way, for you Walmart fans, I'm not downing Walmart by any means. If you are a shopper that has no interest for shopping sales at any level it's probably the store for you. You can even use their sales as a starter to help you get going on some savings like this. Walmart will price match also if you find the same product for a better price that week take the flyer in and they will match the price.
But, if you're up for the challenge and fun, I'd recommend shopping around a little as you have time and are able. You'll be surprised over time what a difference it can make and how much less stressful shopping is. I used to walk up to an item we had to have and cringe at the price and pray we could make it one more week without it. Those days are no more for me, and it can work for you too!
These ideas seem minimal and like pocket change, but I encourage you to try give these ideas a try and I think you'll be pleased that you did. Start at your own pace and try don't try and radically change your spending quickly or you will burn out and feel deprived. Give yourself and your family time to adjust to changes as you talk about them and choose what works for your family.
By changing the way you think about money, you can save money and have so much more to show for it.
Thinking and buying ahead by using sales, and coupons if you care to, make a difference... a big one. I can attest to it... it works for me!