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July 3, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Budgeting Made Simple: Tips for Better Spending

By Colleen Hammer More Blogs by This Author

College really opened my eyes on managing financial decisions. I can't go back in time to fix spending mistakes, but I can benefit my own future with better decisions.

Perhaps you are going through a time in your life where money is frustrating. I was there once too, and still somewhat am with college loans looming in the future. Here are some ways to fix your problems, and give yourself peace of mind.

Needs over Wants

About.com states in their Frugal Living section that a need is “something you would have to have”, and a want is “something you would like to have.” They also state that the basic needs are as follows:

  • A roof over your head 
  • Food and water to maintain your health 
  • Basic health care & hygiene products 
  • Clothing to be appropriately dressed 

Those are your basic needs, after that it's up to you to decide further from there on out.

Couponing and Samples

I often find myself looking for better deals with coupons. Also Meijer grocery stores offer mPerks, a website that offers free membership and weekly coupons that you can “clip” to use at the store. In other cases, I use sites that my fiancé's mother has provided me. Sites like WomanFreebies.com, which is not just limited to women, and contests on Facebook allow samples and coupons of their products.

Another helpful site is WheelofLevy.com, which offers a coupon for a free Pepsi Next 2-liter. Limit one per household. Great way to get some free soda!

Such examples are ways I have tried to live frugally, or at least try to give myself an easier time at the grocery store with my fiancé. These are simple changes that don't take a great deal of effort, and make couponing seem easy.

I take advantage of price-matching as well. Many stores offer price-matching, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Price matching is something that even Best Buy will do for a dollar difference. Taking advantage of these benefits of stores can help you spend less than you need to on a simple item.

Money Management

Mason Jar:

  • Keeping money in a mason jar, or any jar for that matter, can collect loose change and keep your counter clean and friendly

Shopping Lists:

  • Reduce spending when you are unsure of what to get. There are even mobile shopping list apps for smart phone users! 
  • Shop when you are not hungry, because you will grab everything on the shelves that looks good

Coupon Magazines:

  • Getting magazines delivered to your mailbox with coupons and deals inside

For more information on magazines such as this, visit: http://www.greatdealsmagazine.com/

More Money = Happiness

Over time, you will start to see the results of spending better, and it will leave you with less stress and a new-found respect to the dollar bill itself. Take time to look at the sites I have compiled, and see what works best for you.

Some sites to make your budgeting easier:

http://corporate.walmart.com/ad-match-guarantee – Wal-Mart's Price Match Guidelines
http://help.meijer.com/app/answers/list/search/1/kw/price%20match%20policy – Meijer's Price Match Guidelines for Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky residents
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/frugalliving101/qt/Wants_vs_Needs.htm – How to Distinguish Wants vs. Needs https://mperks.meijer.com/mperks (Free membership for awesome coupons!)

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