How To: Spend Smart During Volatile Times

How To: Spend Smart During Volatile Times

Anthony Nguyen
Oct 20, 2008

After some inspiration on how to save on design spending over at AT:Chicago last week, we thought of the next biggest thing aside from a complete remodel or furniture splurge - tech! Here are some great penny-saving techniques for your consideration. Have some tips to share? Feel free to chime in!

Here's our general rule of thumb when it comes to big-item spending: First, ask yourself, "How long have I been wanting this item?" If it's less than a month, wait a little longer. Write it down on a Post-it and toss it on the fridge.

If a few months pass and you realize you still want the item, then perhaps it's something that you really need (until you realize you only use it 2-3 times a day, that is). The other scenario: you find a similar, but better product during this grace period; if this happens, repeat this process.

You'll soon realize there are many things out there that seem to get rave reviews and sounds like a great deal, but most don't realize it's usually nothing more than marketing hype. Keep in mind that the newest isn't always the best, and older models tend to contain just as much functionality as the newer ones yet run a significantly lighter burn on your wallet.

Another technique we find quite effective is utilization of the "imaginary _____ jar." This takes a great deal of self-motivation and control, but once you've mastered it, you'll be doing it automatically from there on out.

This is how it works. Say you've covered all your bills and you still have 30% spending money leftover. Split half of that to a savings account and another to the "imaginary jar." You should get the idea by now. Once enough is saved up for that item of choice, you'll be able to purchase item "x" almost completely guilt-free knowing you still have a financial safety net in case your stocks decide to take a plunge (knock on wood).

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