If there is any one thing you could ever learn from budget and finance advice, it would be to never spend on a whim. This is one of the biggest mentalities that took me years to get down, especially when it came to the technology areas. I could be in Best Buy or some other tech store specifically to get an AV cable I need for my TV because a rat chewed through it and I’ll suddenly see they put a new plasma TV on sale for only a couple days! Well of course I straight up bought that thing before it would go back up to normal price, obviously it was a steal!
I’m even worse when it comes to DVDs, I must have hundreds of them by now and half of them I haven’t even opened since they were movies I had seen and didn’t need to see again but I just had to have the DVD of it. And while I’ve just barely kicked the DVD habit, I’ve managed to stay off sudden electronic buys by following some amazing advice around buying refurbished electronics rather than new ones.
By digging into refurbished products instead I can always stop myself when I see those sales and go ‘wait, I could probably get this refurbished for an even better price’. And while at times that hasn’t been true, the very idea that I should go check the prices for refurbished versions has be researching the device and thinking about whether or not I actually need to buy it. This has led me in the direction of saving money from not spending, and saving money from finding better deals on electronics that are largely the same.
And they really can be the same. Most people often confuse used with refurbished, but high chances are that piece of technology came from the manufacturer since it had to go back to the manufacturer to be fixed up, if it even could be. This means it is tested quite extensively again to make sure it works. And in many cases, it is just someone returning something they didn’t even want, which means it was never touched or opened or used. Yet refurbished products are always cheaper than new, and yet can be literally new.
That doesn’t mean I always buy refurbished, sometimes I grab used from someone, and other times I’ll pay out for an on-sale item, but only after I’ve checked out the value and whether I can find a cheap refurbished version.
I’d recommend the same to everyone else too, and to also look for similar situations when it comes to other things. If you aim to find a type of brand clothing piece at a boutique or used store, you’ll spend some extra time literally digging around but you’ll either stop yourself from buying something you didn’t need, find what you were looking for at a cheaper price, or find something else you were never looking for but fits what you were looking for.
Of course this also has a risk. Obviously if you are going out and searching for things, you are bound to come across other things you might like (e.g. the whole reason I got into this predicament). This idea worked for me though, and has been my way of learning a very important concept when it comes to finance. I just haven’t seemed to be tempted since I’m focusing on the best deal and a specific item, rather than just going in with an idea of what item I’m looking for and lolly-gagging around.
I’d love to know what ideas you tried to make sure you were spending less, or at least spending by planning ahead.
About the Author: Galen Irving is a technology specialist and computer repairer of six years, who has been focusing on supplying informative tutorials and other sources around refurbished monitors and other ways to save.