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How to Save Money Without Sacrificing the Things You Love

09/23/2014 08:01 EDT | Updated 11/23/2014 05:59 EST
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Let's face it: we all like buying things. What we don't like is spending our hard-earned cash, especially when whatever it is we desire beyond our financial capability.

The obvious solution to this problem is to start saving. What's not obvious, however, is figuring out what you can save on. Sure, you can stop paying for your satellite dish or maybe remove a few features from your mobile plan, but if you like those things, why bother? The good news is that you don't have to. Here's how to save money without sacrificing any of your favourite conveniences:

Buy Things in Bulk

Sometimes it's better to purchase certain items in bulk as opposed to individually. For instance, if you buy cereal on a regular basis, then you might want to check out stores like Costco, which tend to sell double-sized boxes of brand-name cereals. One big box costs less than two regular ones, while containing the same amount of cereal. Batteries can be purchased in bulk too, with packages that contain up to 16 batteries (sometimes more).

Negotiate!

Whether you are buying a new car, TV or even groceries, you can always find a way to lower the sticker price -- because it's not the real price. The real price is whatever a retailer pays the manufacturer, which means that you can always try bringing the listed price closer to that amount -- by negotiating. If you are a little apprehensive about negotiating, you can find a few useful tips right here.

Compare Prices

Different places carry different price tags. It's always a good idea to check out several retailers and online vendors to see what prices are available. In fact, I recommend never buying anything before doing a little research on pricing first. There are plenty of online resources that do it for you, such as ShopBot and PriceGrabber.

Look for Discounts and Coupons

Everyone is aware of the existence of discounts and coupons, but for various reasons not everyone takes advantage of them. The simplest reason is that there are far too many of them, which makes figuring out which deals are happening and when a very difficult process -- if you don't have the right tools. There are several online resources that can help you do it, such as Red Flag Deals, which shows discounts on all sorts of products, or Unhaggle, which provides information strictly on one product -- cars. It may also be a good idea to try out an Entertainment Book or good old-fashioned coupon books. You can learn more about hunting down discounts here.

Be Wary of Certain Deals

When you head over to a store, be aware that you may get a deal that's just too good to be true. A good retailer or salesperson would do everything within their power to force you into buying their product. Sometimes they may make a special limited-time offer just for you (that expires in the next few minutes) or argue that their price is the lowest there is. However, don't let them take advantage of your emotions and sucker you into a deal you know nothing about. If you've done your homework and you understand what they are peddling, then you can safely spend your money. Otherwise, be wary!

Get a Rewards Credit Card

A reward credit card wouldn't get you a discount on your purchase right away, so it may come off as useless at first. However, it would allow you to save money down the road in the form of cash back or reward points that you can redeem for gift cards, travel and certain merchandise. The only issue with these cards is that you have to pay off your balance in full each month, because the amount of interest can easily negate any potential rewards you may receive.

Don't Be Wasteful

You might be wasting your money on several little things without even realizing it. Things like utilities, groceries, transportation, entertainment and clothing could all be costing you more than they should. Ever wondered why your water bill is so high? Perhaps you should consider taking shorter showers or checking your faucets for leaks. Spending too much money on food? Then maybe it's time to bring your own lunch to work instead of buying one. Is your car draining you of every penny you got? Try walking when possible or even using public transportation instead. None of these little changes should impact your life significantly, especially if they are timed carefully.

Generally speaking, I suggest looking for an opportunity to save money in every possible situation. If you don't mind trimming a few insignificant aspects of your life so that you could enjoy the good stuff, then why not just do it?