Tag Archive for Shopping

Are Warehouse Club Memberships Worth the Cost?

Are Warehouse Club Memberships Worth the Cost?

Are Warehouse Club Memberships Worth the Cost?Generally speaking, you want to keep as many memberships off of your monthly budget as possible. Memberships are charged month after month, and businesses like that arrangement because they get to collect your dollars even if you didn?t use the service.

Gyms are notorious for being able to stay in business by collecting monthly membership fees from those who don?t actually go to the gym.

However, this rule of thumb doesn?t mean that you should automatically eliminate all memberships from your monthly expenses.

If something could potentially save you money ? like a membership to a warehouse club ? that would at least be worth considering. In the end, it all comes down to math.

How Much Does It Cost?

The first thing to think about is how much the membership costs per month. You may wind up paying annually for the membership, but it is still best to think about the cost on a per-month basis.

So, for example, if the membership is $60/year, that works out to be just $5/month. That probably doesn?t sound too bad, but there is a little more math to do.

How Much Will You Save?

This is where things can start to get tricky. When people shop at a warehouse club, they tend to overestimate their savings ? sometimes dramatically.

For instance, if you purchase a large package of soft drinks, you might save $5 over the cost of shopping at the grocery store. That?s great ? right? If you save $5 on the soda, you will have made back your investment for the month just with that one purchase. Or so you may think.

The hidden cost of a warehouse club is in the purchases that you didn?t need to make, and would not have made otherwise. Would you have purchased that much soda if you were just shopping at the grocery store? Maybe, maybe not.

If not, you would have actually saved more money by staying away from the warehouse club ? and you would have saved calories, as well. In some cases, warehouse clubs simply promote over-consumption, leading shoppers to actually spend and consume more in the long run than they would have otherwise.

Use Memberships Responsibly

We are not trying to argue that it is always a bad idea to join a warehouse club. In fact, these memberships can work out nicely ? as long as you use them responsibly. It is your job to shop with a plan, think about your needs, and not fall for the marketing tricks used by the store.

One way to get value in this situation is to use the warehouse club to purchase non-perishable staples and household goods rather than traditional groceries. Clubs like Costco have great deals on non-perishable items. Costco hours for their gas stations aren’t cut off either, so feel free to stop after the warehouse closes for the evening.

For example, you might decide to buy your toilet paper in bulk at the warehouse club. The paper is not going to go bad, so you don?t risk wasting it by not using it fast enough. Also, this is an item you were going to purchase anyway, so you haven?t increased your consumption.

When you apply critical thinking and common sense to warehouse club shopping, you can get your money?s worth in the end.

Do you shop at a warehouse club? Why or why not?

Photo courtesy of: tokaijru

3 Easy Ways to Avoid Emotional Spending

3 Easy Ways to Avoid Emotional Spending

3 Easy Ways to Avoid Emotional SpendingEmotional spending can ruin even the best budget. If you have spent time and effort putting together a logical budget to keep your financial life on track, it would be a shame to blow it by spending money on an emotional basis. It isn?t always easy to avoid emotional spending. But, you need to be disciplined if you want to see your financial goals realized down the line.

What is emotional spending? Any purchase you make which is based more on your emotions in the moment than on logic and reasoning can fall into this category. For instance, if you are sad or upset about something negative in your life, you might go shopping to make yourself feel better. Or, if you are excited about an event or other occasion, you may spend a lot of money when you are caught up in the thrill of the moment. Either way, spending your money in this manner will make it difficult to stay within your monthly budget.

To help you steer clear of emotional spending, we have compiled three tips below for avoiding this budgeting pitfall.

1. Wait a Day

This is a classic piece of financial advice. If you are thinking about purchasing something with a significant price tag, it is a good idea to wait a day or two before actually spending the money. This will help you to avoid buying on emotion or impulse.

If you wait a couple days and still think that the purchase is a good idea, it may be smart to fit it into your budget. However, there is a good chance that you will decide to save the money after you step back from the situation. It may be helpful to set a personal limit for spur-of-the-moment purchases. For instance, you could decide that you have to wait an extra day before buying anything which costs more than $100.

2. Ask a Friend

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when trying to make a financial decision is to consult a friend. If you are unsure as to whether or not you should buy a certain item, check in with one or two of your closest friends for advice. The ultimate decision will still be up to you. But, getting help is a smart way to see the purchase from a new perspective. If your friend seems to think that you would be spending too much money for the item, it may be worth second thought. It can also provide you with some extra accountability for your spending.

3. Try Other Forms of Therapy

If you are thinking about going shopping because you need something to lift your mood, try other options first. For instance, you could go for a nice walk in a pretty location to get out and clear your head. Or, you could schedule some exercise with a group of friend. Try taking a jog or going for a bike ride. Whatever your personal preference happens to be, doing something outdoors and active can be a great way to shake off your negative mood. When all is said and done, you may find that you are no longer in need of ?retail therapy?.


Have you ever dealt with emotional spending? How did you avoid it?


Photo courtesy of: Unsplash

4 Digital Savings Tools to Save Money When Shopping Online

4 Digital Savings Tools to Save Money When Shopping Online

4 Digital Savings Tools to Save Money When Shopping OnlineOnline shopping is growing more and more popular with each passing year. Where once people were slightly uncomfortable with the idea of making purchases online without visiting a physical store, today that kind of shopping is the norm.

Shopping online makes it easy to compare prices before purchasing to make sure you get a great deal. However, by using specific digital tools, you can make the prospect of saving money easier than ever before. Below is a list of four tools that you should consider putting to use as you browse the web for your next buy.

Amazon Prime Membership

Amazon is the undisputed king of online retail, so it only makes sense that a Prime membership is at the top of our list. Sometimes you have to spend a little money in order to save money, and that is exactly the case here.

An Amazon Prime membership usually will set you back $99 on an annual basis, but most people will make that money back (and then some) over the course of 12 months. Most of the products you buy on Amazon ? and they carry nearly everything you could imagine ? will be eligible for free two-day shipping when you are a Prime member. There are also other advantages, such as streaming music and video services, making this membership an easy choice.


This is a coupon site that has the potential to help you find great savings on your next purchase. Before you complete the checkout process for the item you are going to buy, check out RetailMeNot (and any other coupon sites you may wish to check) to see if any applicable coupons are available. This is a free service to use, and it only takes seconds to check for a coupon.


If you shop around the web in a variety of locations, you may wish to join the Ebates program to get cash back for some of your purchases. Ebates is relatively easy to use, it works with a long list of ecommerce sites, and the cash back rewards are generous in many cases. This is essentially free money on things you were going to purchase anyway, so it is another easy choice.


Okay ? so this isn?t technically a trick to save when shopping online, but it can save you money nonetheless. If you download the GasBuddy app to your phone, you can use it to track down the best deal on gas in your local area. You don?t really have much of a choice when it comes to needing to purchase gas for your vehicle, but you do have a choice on where you go for that gas. Rather than driving around hoping to find a low price, simply open the GasBuddy app and find out in just moments where you will get the best price on your fill-up.


Do you use any of these tools when shopping online? What other ways do you save money?


Photo courtesy of: WDnetStudio

5 Great Reasons Why You Should Stay Home on Black Friday

black friday

stay home on Black FridayBlack Friday ? the day after Thanksgiving ? has become incredibly popular for shoppers in recent years.

For many people, Black Friday has become a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving. People plan all year long to head out at midnight, or earlier, to look for deals at stores.

Recently, online retailers have gotten into the action as well. This means you can shop for Black Friday deals from the comfort of your couch.

Of course, as you probably already know, you should do your best to avoid the allure of Black Friday. If you would like to protect your budget and avoid wasting money, Black Friday is something that should largely be ignored. But just in case you need some extra encouragement to stay home on Black Friday this year, here are 5 great reasons to skip the fiasco.

Buying Things You Don?t Need

This is the biggest problem with a shopping day such as Black Friday ? you inevitably wind up buying things you don?t need. Sure, there might be great prices to be had, but do you actually need those items? Probably not. By staying away from the stores on Black Friday, you won?t even be tempted by what they have available.

Avoid the Crowds

Rarely is it fun to be crammed into a store with hundreds of other people all vying for the same few deals. If you stay home on Black Friday, you should be able to enjoy more time with your family and friends on the holiday weekend.

Every year there are stories of fights and other incidents breaking out on Black Friday. Stay home on Black Friday and steer clear of these situations for the safety of yourself and your family.

Plenty of Deals to Come

Do you think everything in the stores is going to go back to full price before?Christmas? Of course not. There will be plenty of great sales and deals to take advantage of between Black Friday and December 25th. Don?t force yourself to shop on this day which has been created by savvy marketing departments.

Don?t Waste Your Time Off

If you are like millions of other people across the country, you likely get Black Friday?off of work. Why would you want to waste the day shopping with countless other people at the mall? Stay away from the stores. Do something memorable that you wouldn?t be able to do if you were stuck in the office. We all have to work too much, so don?t waste the time that you get to spend away from your job.

It Isn?t in the Budget

Simply put, you probably haven?t budgeted for Black Friday spending. If this is true, stay home and keep your credit cards far away from the registers at your local stores. It only takes one or two trips out to quickly ruin weeks or even months of careful spending, therefore it is important that you resist the temptation to head out on Black Friday with everyone else. The stores and products aren?t going anywhere, so take your time and only make purchases when you are ready and have budgeted for them.


Do you plan to stay home on Black Friday? Why or why not.


Photo courtesy of: Andi_Graf

4 Ways to Deal with Spending Guilt from Family and Friends

spending guilt

spending guiltHave you ever been so excited about something you bought that you told a friend or family member? Sure you have. We all have.

But what?s difficult to deal with is how guilty some of them make you feel once they hear about or see what you purchased. So what can you do about it? Here are four ways you can deal with spending guilt from family and friends.

1. Is it in the budget?

If you are managing your monthly budget well and the item you purchased is in your budget, then you don?t have any reason to feel guilty. As long as you and your family?s needs are being met, it isn?t anyone else?s business how you spend your money.

It?s possible your friends feels jealous and are trying to make you feel guilty about what you bought simply so they will feel better themselves.

2. Did You Need It?

As time passes, our material items wear out and need to be replaced. This is true for clothing, household items, vehicles and many other things we use on a regular?basis.

Consider that we also change as the years go by, and that sometimes requires us to purchase new clothing or other items in order to keep up with those changes. If it is a necessary purchase it is not frivolous spending and you have no reason to feel badly about it.

3. Did You Use a Bonus or Gift Money?

A gift from a friend or family member that was used to obtain something others might view as frivolous is still not a reason to feel guilty. In fact, it is really quite the opposite. You should feel good about using it so you don?t diminish the gift that was given to you.

4. Did You Get Healthier?

Spending money on yourself to gain better health, such as going to a gym, or buying healthier foods, should not make you feel guilty if you can afford it. As long as you have the income to cover your needs first, do not let the opinions or comments of other people take the wind out of your sails. So go workout guilt free. It?s also an investment in your health.

The bottom line is you shouldn?t need to rationalize your purchases to prevent your family or friends from making you feel guilty.

Embrace the idea that the choices you make in life impact your ability to spend money the way you want to. This goes for your family and friends also.

In other words, if they want what you have, then they need to make different choices and stop making you feel guilty about your choices. Will they do this, even if you tell them to? They probably won?t, because you can?t force people to change how they feel about you. But you can change how you react to them. So turn off the guilt and enjoy what you have.


Can you think of other ideas of how to deal with spending guilt from family and friends? Have you used any of these ideas to deal with spending guilt?


Photo courtesy of: quinntheislander