UNITED STATES—I love to say money and I am not afraid to shout it out to the world. People sometimes call me cheap or overly frugal and I don’t see it that way at all. What I can consider overly cheap is purchasing items from consignment shops or yard sales when one has to the means to purchase items at full price or a sale price and just don’t want to. I’m not that guy.

However, I will utilize a coupon quicker than I can count to three if it’s at my fingertips. Why? I’m a firm believer that the more money you save, the more likely you will purchase more items that you might need or perhaps you want. So when it comes to coupons, discounts or savings of any kind, a lot of people don’t always take advantage of them and it raises a very important question: why not?

Yes, why not? We’re not living in the 90s where you had to clip coupons; we’ve reached a new phase of technology where digital coupons have become the thing that dreams are made of! Yes, there are plenty of retailers who still release flyers for those who are not computer literate, but if you have a smartphone, which most Americans do, you can download apps for some of your favorite retailers. This gives you the opportunity to easily access those coupons that will save you an extra $10 to $20 on your purchase, which as a result you will likely buy a bit more than you actually expected.

Now, I will admit it annoys me to the heavens when you have retailers who have the coupon in their possession, is well aware the customer has reached the price threshold required and still won’t just use the coupon as a courtesy. I mean really? I have to actually provide you with the coupon, even though you have a sales paper right in front of me near your register with the coupon/discount and you’re refusing to use it? That is a very quick way to lose a loyal customer if you ask me.

I’m really not a believer of paying full price for anything, you can catch a discount on the items you need most all the time. I do understand people’s points of not wanting to drive around the entire world to purchase multiple items and if that is NOT your cup of tea, there isn’t much I can do to change that. I will make the point that if you strategically make a list and plan to do whatever shopping you have to do at one time instead of breaking things up throughout the month or during the week, you will not be inclined to burn so much gas.

For starters, try to find a shopping district or region that has all your favorite stores in a central proximity. You may ask what precisely does this mean. The grocery store or stores that you frequent, places where you frequently shop for household items or furnishings, those department stores where you have credit cards, your bank or credit union and anything else for the taking.

You may say, man that seems like a difficult task, but trust there are places that really do have all your favorites’ places within a central location. Is it easy? No, but do a bit of mapping or geographical looking when out and about and you can spot things. The last advice I can provide is utilize cash instead of credit or debit when you can. For reasons I cannot understand, debit is similar to credit and you will spend it quite fast if you’re not keeping track of what has been spent.

In addition, utilize a list and don’t just write the items down, write prices next to those items so you have a pretty strong grasp of what you will be spending when you’re out and about. It’s not so much about having a budget, it’s about ensuring you get the items that you want all the while being able to stay within a reasonable budget so that if you see an item or two or maybe three that you actually want you are able to pick those up to, without feeling guilty about it.

Money matters and the more that you can save now the better it will be for you in the future. We all have quirks and don’t feel ashamed of those quirks that you have. If people don’t like how you spend your money simply let them know, they are free to spend your money how they want when they choose to work the job that you currently have. Look at it this way: that will get them to purse those lips quicker than you can count to the number 10 and it’s a great feeling to shut people down sometimes!

Written By Kelsey Thomas

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