Young Professional Getting Ahead

Savvy Shopper

Pay Attention To Every Penny

Financial freedom means increasing your awareness of retailers’ motivations, friends’ influences and any circumstance where you feel the urge to spend a lot of money.

It’s important to develop the skills of a savvy shopper. You have access to money, but you should realize how you use it all of the time. The biggest temptation is the impulse purchase when you’re making decisions with your emotions and not your critical-thinking skills. Resist impulse buying by taking these steps when shopping:

  • If you see something appealing, wait at least 24 hours before purchasing.
  • Calculate how many hours you must work to pay for it.
  • Determine how the item will improve your quality of life.
  • If you still want it, shop around for the best price and create a plan to pay for it.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Waste Money

Sometimes you’re in situations with your friends where you feel pressured or compelled to show off by spending a lot of money and just throwing purchases on your credit card. Recognize these moments and avoid regrettable decisions. You—not your friends—are responsible for your own debt.

  • Leave your credit card at home.
  • Invite friends over instead of heading out for entertainment.

Credit Card Costs

When you do choose to pay with credit, your minimum payment due typically will be 3% to 4% of your total balance. Making minimum payments on your debt extends its life while the interest charges pile on. You could end up paying 133% or more of the cost of the item based on the interest.

  • Pay the full balance each month. If you can’t, create a plan to pay it off.
  • Pay on time to avoid raised interest rates.
  • Watch the interest rate. Most cards offer a variable rate, which fluctuates.
  • If you lose your card, contact the issuer immediately.

Below are some more tips on controlling your spending. You can also access our calculators that show the benefit of spending less and how brown-bagging your lunch at work really adds up


Ways To Reduce Spending

If you…

Maybe you could…


Suscribe to cable TV movie channels

Convert to basic cable

Cancel cable and borrow movies and books from the public library

Dine out for lunch each workday

Bring lunch from home every other day

Bring lunch from home every day

Dine out with friends frequently

Invite friends over for dinner

Host a potluck dinner

Watch movies in the evening

Take in a lower-cost matinee

Catch second-run shows at a bargain theater

Use Internet with high-speed access

Use dial-up access

Use free access at the library

Drive a car for transportation

Join a carpool for work

Use public transportation or bike

Buy a new outfit each month

Buy a new outfit every other month

Shop at discount stores and second-hand shops

Buy two cups of coffee each day

Buy one cup of coffee each day

Bring a thermos of gourmet coffee brewed at home

Buy expensive birthday and holiday gifts

Plan ahead and buy gifts on sale or off-season

Make gifts or give gifts of your time

Smoke two packs of cigarettes per day

Smoke one pack a day


Drive a luxury car

Drive a simple sedan

Ride a bike

Attend a concert each month

Go once a quarter

Purchase and download the music at home

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