Simple living tips to make your income last longer
There's a way to get a higher standard of living without getting in a stressful situation. (Shutterstock)
Need is the mother of innovation and creativity — even when it comes to saving and making money. When people are stuck on a paycheck to paycheck income, and can hardly make ends meet, their ability to save and earn little money here and there can help them live a slightly higher standard of living.
This doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. In fact, many people find joy in their ability to improve their living standards without breaking the bank. And their efforts may provide some savings ideas to people who are not really desperate for them. Here are some examples of how to stretch your income by saving on purchases.
Sometimes it looks like nothing should be bought at full price. Stores and online retailers offer discounts for most of the year. If you plan your purchases well ahead of when you need them, you probably will be able either to get them during clearance or sale events, or receive a store coupon that gets you a special discount. Be familiar however with every store’s pricing and sales strategy. Some stores will have certain popular, sure-to-sell items almost always at full price. Other stores offer discounts across all their merchandise. Finally, some stores only have their bottom-of-the-line products on sale, which isn’t a lot of help. In short, the sale sign doesn’t always mean you will get a deal on what you want.
The more you familiarize yourself with the store’s strategy, the better you will be able to get the best deals. For example, many bigger retailers would put their odd sizes and leftovers at massive discounts, and if you hit them at the right time, you will be able to grab top-notch clothes or products at bargain prices.
You may not be able to ever afford brand-name items like clothes, shoes and handbags, but if you locate a good number of thrift stores, you can find these items at a fraction of their original prices. All you need is to make sure that you’re getting actual deals, so don’t limit your shopping experience to these stores. Instead shop around and familiarize yourself with the retail prices of your targeted products, especially during sale events.
Still, for big-ticket items, hitting good thrift stores or looking through the classifieds for used items can provide you with great bargains. The only issue probably is for some people to overcome the psychological barrier of buying second hand.
Refurbished versus new
Similarly, if you’re buying a television, a phone or a new computer, check if your store has refurbished options. If you are buying from a reliable retailer a refurbished machine can be as good as new — minus the warranty in most cases. But even with this caveat, the upfront savings may be worth taking chances. In fact, a refurbished device or machine can allow you to get better performance and higher specifications at a much lower price. With that in mind, try to do as much research as possible on your seller since you don’t have much of a resource on whatever you buy.
Many may offer you a trade-off for your old machine or device, which is another way to offset the price. All of these options may not seem attractive compared to buying a new product, but if you’re in a bind they definitely offer a viable solution.
Look around your house for stuff to sell. Remember that treadmill that is collecting dust in the corner, the old iPod that you don’t use, or the complimentary tickets that you got from your employers. Any items like these can make you a couple of hundred dirhams here and there. Selling these possessions that you don’t enjoy any more can help you upgrade another item or buy something you want.
Although this is not a strategy to cover your critical expenses, it is a viable way to buy the items that fall beyond your budget — or to cover some unexpected need for money. It is also a good way to keep the clutter down in your house.
By Rania Oteify
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.
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