Tag Archives: Shopping

Why We’re So Materialistic – Even Though We Know It’s Dumb

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

Flickr/Leo Reynolds

I recently came across a photographic essay that showed the bedrooms of dozens of children around the world. It’s beautiful and interesting, but what stands out the most is how much stuffsome of these kids have — closets bursting with toys and other possessions, while others have so little — a straw mat, a cup, a threadbare shirt.

Of course, my instinct is to feel sorry for the little girl with only one doll, or the little boy who sleeps on a wooden pallet and proudly displays a few tattered books. Then again, that might just be materialism talking. After all, the photographs reveal nothing else about these children; whether they get enough food to eat, a safe, warm place to live, and parents who take good care of them. It’s just so easy to assume that they are disadvantaged because they don’t have a television and a mountain of toys.

The truth is that most us (myself included) have way more than what’s required to meet our basic needs, more than is required to make our lives more convenient and comfortable, and even more than what we need to keep us happy. Check out a few reasons why in my new post on WiseBread.

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How to Flex Your Discipline Muscle

Flickr/LyndaSanchez

Flickr/LyndaSanchez

I won’t buy this, I can’t afford it…

I won’t buy it…

I just won’t buy it. I can’t… I won’t…

And then, of course, you do.

When it comes to curbing spending, saving more, and doing all those financial good deeds that we know we should do – and that maybe, deep down, we even really want to do – we’re dealing with some pretty powerful psychological forces. And while we often hear that better financial habits are a matter of discipline, we all know that putting mind over matter is easier said than done.

Feel like your willpower’s weak? We dug into science for some tips on how to flex that mental muscle and push your financial discipline to a whole new level. Check it out in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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5 Things You’re Paying Too Much For (and One You Probably Aren’t)

Flickr/Diego3336

Flickr/Diego3336

We all know we should be saving money, but sometimes it seems like the retail world is working against us.

All the beautiful goods out there are designed to pull on our very heartstrings (pursestrings!) and make us feel not just that we want them, but that somehow, we can’t live without them. The reality, however, is that we often end up paying way too much for things that really only satisfy our desire for acquisition for a very short time, if at all. Check out some of the things that many of us pay way too much for – and the one thing we expect to get for way too little. Read more in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Why You Pay More at the Grocery Store (and How to Save)

Flickr/malloreigh

Flickr/malloreigh

Many of us don’t think too much about what we throw into our grocery carts — or how much it all costs. After all, we have to eat! But for most Americans, food makes up one of the largest expenses in the budget, right after paying for housing and transportation. If you can trim just $20 off your monthly grocery bill, it can save you $1,000 per year; saving $60 per week could put more than $3,000 extra in your pocket.

Believe it or not, those kinds of savings aren’t unrealistic, and you don’t have to starve to death to achieve them. All you have to do is look at where grocery stores make their money and where you may have some bad shopping habits. Learn more in my article on WiseBread.com.

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The 5 Things You’re Guilty of That Make You Spend More

Flickr/amysphere

Flickr/amysphere

The holidays can really make a girl’s spending senses tingle; there are great deals, twinkly lights and beautiful things as far as the eye can see – and they’re all aiming to wreak havoc on your best budgetary intentions. But as if that weren’t enough, there are a lot of less obvious things that help to sabotage our self control when we hit the shops. The worst part is – we actually set a lot of these traps for ourselves. Looking to stick to your list and steer clear of impulse buys? Check out a few common behaviors to avoid in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/VqvtYz

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The 5 Commandments of Seasonal Spending

Flickr/alliecreative

When Shoppers Drug Mart turned up the Christmas tunes the very day the calendar flipped to November, a few people went a little, well, ballistic…or at least they showed enough consumer vehemence that Shoppers canned the music “until further notice.” But while thousands of indignant customers complained on Shoppers’ Facebook wall about Christmas creep and commercialism, the reality is that Christmas music or not, many of us overspend. According to the Bank of Montreal’s 2012 Holiday Spending outlook, survey respondents plan to spend an average of $1,610 dollars (each!) this holiday season, 15 percent more than last year.

But while a better economy has left many Canadians feeling more flush than in years past, our debt levels are at an eight-year high, standing at more than $26,000 per person (and that doesn’t include the mortgage). For many of us, this means that when it comes to holiday shopping, we probably can’t afford nearly as much as we’d like to be able to spend. The question is, how to side-step the sweet seduction of holiday shops? You can start by following these five commandments for fiscally responsible holiday spending in my new post on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/UYfvT3

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Canadians: How to Shop Like an American – Without Getting Trampled

Flickr/o5com

For Canadians, Thanksgiving already seems like a long way off, but if you have cable TV, you’re probably aware that the American version of Turkey Day is right around the corner. And as with most things, Americans do it bigger – and they totally outdo us by capping it all off with an extra indulgence. First, they stuff themselves with turkey and root vegetables (we seem to have that part covered) and then, they shop like their lives depended on it.

But then, if you’ve been seeing ads from American retailers on TV, it’s easy to see why: door crashers, limited-time offers and the deepest discounts you’ll see all year – on everything. What’s changed from years past is that American retailers are spreading these deals south of the border – so much so that Canadian retailers are increasingly following their lead.

Want to slash your holiday spending? Get some tips on how do it, Yankee style, in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/Te2FTL

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5 Bulk Buying Traps to Watch Out For

Flickr/sampitech

If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, bulk stores like Costco, Wholesale Club and even Walmart can be hard to avoid. They have a knack at pulling at our desire to bring home a hatchback-busting pile of goods…and our need to justify that behavior (c’mon, it was a good deal!).

The truth is, bulk stores often have some seriously low prices. Unfortunately, crossing one of their ultra-wide thresholds doesn’t automatically protect your pocketbook.

If you’re heading out for a “big shop,” check out some surprising bulk buying traps in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/R2PCUv

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Top 7 Most Dangerous Products to Buy Used

Flickr/Alan Stanton

For bargain shoppers, hitting up secondhand stores, garage sales and online resellers can be a no-brainer. Actually, in most cases it is a no-brainer. But while buying used is a great way to save money and ease our savings accounts – and score some unique items – there are some things that are best purchased brand-spanking new. Forget infamous online sales like a half-eaten piece of toast or pair of dirty socks; there are some cases where buying second hand isn’t just gross, it can be downright dangerousLearn more in my article on GoBankingRates.com: http://bit.ly/I1384M

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