Today's assignment is to get proactive with other areas of spending. Here are some suggestions:
Most of us have lots of people on our gift list throughout the year, but it’s something that we often fail to plan ahead and budget for. Keeping a master list of every gift you need to buy throughout the year: not just holidays and birthdays, but teacher appreciation gifts, and other holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, and so on can help you save money as well as stay organized. Write down everyone you need to buy for and when you find a great deal, snap it up and check that person and occasion off your list – no matter what time of year it is. It really helps to have it in spreadsheet form at a gift-giving spreadsheet on your computer. That way, you can also track how much you’ve budgeted as well as how much you’ve spent from year to year. Keep your “gift stash” in one place so that when you need to find the gift you know where it is. You may also want to keep a few generic gifts for baby showers, housewarming parties, and other unexpected occasions.
Kids’ Clothing List
A key to saving money on kids’ clothing is to shop the end of season sales for the following year. The problem with this is that moms often just shop randomly instead of really determining what they’ll need. Consequently, they often overbuy certain things and underbuy others. It’s a good idea to keep a short checklist of what your kids go through in a given season. Your inventory might look like this: Three pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress pants, two sweatshirts, five t-shirts, underwear, socks, tennis shoes, dress shoes, coat, etc. Then, when you see those end-of-season sales, you’ll be able to buy what you truly need and skip the things you don’t.
Ongoing Wish List
This is one that I keep for items I’d like but really don’t need. My list usually looks something like this: pair of brown leather boots, wall décor for living room, sheets for queen bed, etc. I keep my eyes open for sales, but realize that I won’t buy these things unless I find the right item at the right price. I know I need to replace the sheets on our bed soon, but I can wait for a 50-75% off sale. I also keep my list handy in my household notebook just in case anyone asks me what’s on my wish list for birthdays and Christmas.
What other things do YOU to do be a proactive shopper in order to save money?