1) The Key to Success is to be Organized
One time I handed in a crumpled pile of homework to my third grade teacher, who then forced me to write “the key to success is to be organized” over and over again on the blackboard. Though I hated it at the time, the phrase stuck with me and has enabled me to stay on top of my finances, and above all, to save money.
Every year, people lose thousands of dollars through disorganized receipts and poor budget management in general. By subscribing to a service like Shoeboxed.com, consumers can simply mail in their piles of receipts to be scanned and categorized for easy and effective expense management, bookkeeping, tax compliance, budgeting, insurance claims, and expense reports.
Shoeboxed does the grunt work so its users can efficiently manage their expenses and safely claim the deductions that they have been missing all of these years, automatically saving them time and money. A little bit of organization goes a long way, especially in this economy.
2) Explore the Black Box
Any Marketing 101 class will tell you about the Black Box: that mysterious place that occurs between a customer’s exposure to a product and their actual purchase of it. It is within this Black Box that all sorts of psychological factors come into play: does the product trigger a nostalgic memory from your youth? Will the product help you forget about the bad day you just had? Often, consumers aren’t even aware of the underlying psychology that drives them to buy.
The more time you take to explore the Black Box, the less likely you are to make unnecessary and impulsive purchases. Thus, follow a 15-second rule: before you are about to make a purchase, pause for 15 seconds to reflect on why you are buying. Do you really need the product, or are you just dazzled by its shiny new package?
Take time to indulge in the Black Box, and you will find that spending a little time will keep you from spending a lot of money.
3) The Best Things in Life are Free
As the Beatles sang, and as every cornball will espouse, the best things in life are free. Well, maybe not the best things, but there are definitely some great things:
-Instead of purchasing books and movies, join your local library.
-Check out your community’s website regularly to hear about free events such as concerts, performances, and speakers.
-Sign up for every free customer reward program you can find, and watch the free stuff start to pile up (and if you don’t want to deal with all the annoying junk e-mail, create a separate e-mail account specifically for this purpose that you can scan when you are looking for a deal).
These are just a few very basic suggestions, but with some creativity and research, you can often replace expensive activities and products with ones that are not only cheap, but free.