Making Your Money Go Further: Tips For Stretching Your Income Thanks to Thrifty Living Habits

Unless you are one of the wealthier minority, chances are you and your family are living paycheck to paycheck like 59 percent of American adults currently do– or you are close to it. The average American spends almost 70 percent of their annual income on three basic expenses- food, transportation, and housing. Add in extras such as student loans, credit card repayments and the rising costs and reality of starting a family and it is no wonder why almost 50 percent of families are carrying credit card debt. For Missoula, the average credit card balances are $5,891 and many households are struggling to keep up with their payments. For those families, the solution seems simple: increase their income or cut their costs. Whether it is to stay on track with bills or build your financial security for the future, incorporating thrifty habits into your daily lifestyle can help your money go further- and your wallet rest easier.

Make Second Hand A First Choice

A common misconception amongst consumers is that second hand or preloved items are often damaged or no good. However, consumers are quickly realizing the value of such finds and Missoula is filled with options including the Underground Thrift Store, Donation Warehouse and Secret Seconds. In fact, some preloved items such as used clothes are now worth $24 billion and quickly proving to be fierce competition to fashion industry giants. Many thrift stores and garage sales can turn out to be treasure troves for those looking for furniture, toys or even children’s clothing. The best part of it all? Many of these items are in pristine condition (or close to it) and come with a heavily discounted price tag. It is not just the heavily discounted price tag that is a bonus either. With the use of your imagination and a wide range of fabric and needlework gadgets, you can fashion a one of a kind piece, complete with your own spin.

Teach And Practice The Three Rs- Recycle, Reuse & Reduce

Educating yourself and your family members on simple ways to cut down on the amount of waste thrown out is a great way to make your money go further, and be kind to the environment at the same time. Spend time cooking as a family, using recipes and ideas to make your leftovers into new meals or batch cooking for the week ahead. The average American family throws out 250 pounds of food each year. Educate yourself and your kids on good financial habits including budgeting with the help of online resources and personal finance apps. This will help you become more conscious of your spending and gain more control. Finally, implement a few thrifty tips around the house that everyone can get involved in such as building a compost heap for a home garden or a greywater system for water reuse.

Look Beyond The Branding

As consumers Americans are brand loyal. Over 90 percent of consumers admit to being brand loyal, according to the 2018 Yotpo Consumer Survey. However, ditching the big name brands for store own or locally-owned brands can save you a great deal of money on your purchases. One great place to put this into practice is the supermarket. Food stores often carry a standard selection of well known branded items alongside their own store made substitutes. The only difference in most cases? The packaging. One quick scan of the ingredient list will reveal that the ingredient list is identical if not pretty close. The application of this concept does not end there either. Larger purchases such as tech gadgets often carry a pretty hefty price tag- and one that is often financed using credit cards. However, a closer examination of the options on the market will show that there is often more than one other alternatives with the same feature and a lower price tag- just without the big label brands.

Time Your Shop- Know When To Bulk Buy And When To Hold Back

Another frugal tip to help your money go further is to choose the right time for your purchases. Stores often have discounts, store specials or promotional periods which you can take advantage of. Items that you can buy in bulk can often turn out to be much cheaper this way, as long as you have the storage and need for them. The holidays are a well-known discount period for any large purchases. Events like President’s Day or Black Friday sales are great for getting items at a heavily discounted price with all the perks of a store purchase including standard company warranties.

However, keep in mind that you should only aim to buy items that you and your family actually need and will use. Bulk buying and capitalizing on discounts can become a very slippery slope to buying items we actually do not need and end up doing quite the opposite of practicing thrifty spending habits. The best part of it all is that these changes are simple and sustainable which means not only will you save money in the short run but they can form a great foundation in reaching your future financial goals.