‘To Buy Or Not To Buy’ ~ 8 Tips For Smarter Spending

Shopping ListImage by misswired via Flickr

‘To buy or not to buy, that is the question’.

Step Away From The Item
Research shows that by holding an item we are more likely to purchase it. So when deciding to buy or not, look with your eyes. Once you are more certain, then go ahead and touch it.

Where will this go & what will it do ?
When considering buying an item, ask yourself where it will go and the specific function it will play. For example, if you can visualize the beautiful dish that is beckoning you from the clearance aisle on the shelf in the dining room , that may indeed be a wise purchase. If you love an item in a store and want to upgrade an item you have an home, then go ahead, just make sure the old item gets given away before it has time to morph into clutter.

Can something else be used in it’s place ?
Make sure that something you already own can’t fill that niche. You might be so intent on making a purchase that you forget that you have 3 other dishes that could be used instead of buying a new one.

Would I buy this at regular price ?
Sometimes a reduced price can sway our purchase decision. I am not minimizing the thrill of getting a great deal, however you want to make sure that the deal isn’t clouding your vision. I once saw with my own eyes an entire pile of unworn clothing with tags on that were being given away by the owner, she had never really liked them but ‘ they were on clearance’.

Recheck the cart

At the checkout you might want to consider re-checking your choices as you hand your items over to buy. It’s more efficient to tell the cashier that you changed your mind than you come back a few days later to return it.

Clearanced beyond belief ?

Once in a while the planets align and we find a slew of clearanced item with such greatly reduced items that our hearts literally skip a beat. If there is no way you can use them and no way you can walk by the items then scoop them into your cart and as you skip to the checkout think of who the lucky recipient will be and drop it off on the way home.

Why Am I Shopping ?
If you ever find yourself asking yourself why you are shopping then you may have stopped at your local store as a default behavior not because you need something. So you might want to consider other ways to spend time.

Enter store with specific goals and go to that section first & budget time accordingly
Forget what you came in for (but know it was important )? Write down a handful of items that you don’t want to leave the store without and head to those sections at the beginning of your trip.

At the end of the day remember that less is really more and it’s not about getting the deal of the day, it’s about surrounding yourself with items you love.

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Never buy unwanted items again

Next time you go shopping follow these essential tips:

On the photo you may see Santoni Rose collecti...Image via Wikipedia

1) Don’t touch the item (there’s a much higher chance of purchasing when we touch it)
2) Ask yourself when would I wear this? What particular void will it fill?
3) If you are being beckoned exclusively by its price then walk away or if it’s a deal you cannot step away from then buy it for a friend.
4) Ask yourself why you are shopping – Are you there for a particular item? If you’re just filling up a time block consider skipping the stores altogether and go for a walk around the block or local park.

Do you have clothing with tags on in your closet…..still?

Sale In A Sale Shop Selling Sale SignsImage by the justified sinner via Flickr

I see items with tags hanging unworn in client’s closets all the time. I believe there are two main reasons why.

A) Us women are optimistic/unrealistic – we KNOW we are going to shed a few pounds by next month, it doesn’t always happen and voila!

B) I always hear women justify the unworn item with “It was on such a great sale!”. Only buy on sale when you LOVE the item and would have bought it at full price anyway.

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Cute Kids Snack Idea

It’s tough to compete with Laffy Taffy’s and Fruit Roll Ups for snacks at school. Consider bringing humour to snack time and write a message or add a quick illustration to the banana skin.

In the photo my daughter drew phone symbols on her banana.

It was adorable, her friends deemed it ‘cool’ and whats more – she ate it !

Ways To End The Nightly Homework Battle

Here’s a great article from Rachael Ray’s website that I was honored to be a part of.

Ways To End The Nightly Homework Battle
Katia Hetter

Where is your son’s book report? Did your daughter remember her cleats for soccer practice? And whose permission slip were you supposed to sign?

Parents fight the battle to get homework done every night, and the next morning children often forget to pack it (and everything else they need) in their bags. The mad dash can mean someone gets to school late, and that can affect your kid’s attendance record. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Organizers from around the country have easy-to-implement solutions to make your children’s homework easier for them to do — and easier on your nightly and morning routines.

Create a homework station. Pick a spot where homework gets done, whether it’s a desk, the dining room table or even the living room floor, says Brooklyn, New York organizer Amanda Wiss (http://www.urbanclarity.net). Stock the right supplies for your children to complete their homework, and store them in a drawer or a homework caddy, and make sure to replenish supplies. (Wiss likes the Fiskcars Art Caddy available at Amazon for $13.95, and a tray you can get from The Container Store for $9.99. A simple Office Depot caddy also does the trick). Then monitor your child’s progress to ensure the location and supplies work for him. He may need adult supervision to avoid getting caught up playing with Legos at his desk. Or your child may need to be in the dining room near you cooking dinner, just because he missed you all day.

Check it off! Wiss likes checklists for children listing what they need to do and what they have to take to school each day, knowing that it can vary with the day. It can be as simple as a laminated list on the refrigerator that includes lunch, homework for that day, sports equipment, musical instruments, Girl Scouts or religious school. Little kids (and maybe some big ones too) like to check off things they’ve accomplished, and having it on the refrigerator for everyone to see adds to the fun. Older kids can use planners they get from school or cell phone calendars with alarms for due dates. Costa Mesa, California organizer Gail Gray likes the $5 planners at Agenda Works for children in 5th grade or higher grades.

Where is that spelling list? Have a home for the weekly “study to do’s.” Omaha, Nebraska organizer Amy Tokos (http://www.freshlyorganized.com) suggests a magnetic clip on the refrigerator or bulletin board for each child to hold the spelling list, the list of states and capitols or ongoing book report projects. Kids are using these things daily and sometimes taking them back and forth from home to school. “This is also helpful for party invites and other info that the kids need to hold on to for a temporary period of time,” she says. Older kids may need more extensive “to do” lists to handle research papers and studying for big exams that must be accomplished over time.

Start young. Good habits will help children handle more complex homework assignments as they grow older. Gray, who blogs about kids’ homework, has a “Five Things” system that works for some younger kids: “If children always have five things they are supposed to bring home, they count the items and verify there are five packed up. Like if they have a reading book (1), lunch box (2), notebook (3), homework folder (4), sweatshirt (5). ” She finds even young kids can get into the habit of remembering without needing lists.

Watch for meltdowns! Younger children often have just a little homework, but it needs to get done early before they get too tired to think and get stressed. And some kids have no sense of time and believe you’re going to make them do homework forever. Key Biscayne, Florida organizer Rivka Caroline (www.sobeorganized.blogspot.com) finds a timer helps to convince worried children that homework time will end and fun will follow–provided they use the time to do their work.

Give kids choices. When given the chance, Caroline finds that some elementary school-aged children can make their own after-school schedules. She suggests presenting them with categories of work that have to get done–such as homework, book report, review for test work, supper and free time–and ask them how to arrange them. “Kids can get really creative,” she says. “Once one junior client of mine realized that he could get more play time decided on his own to begin flashcard review work in the car. He gained 10 extra minutes a night on his DS and was thrilled.”

Get ready for tomorrow. Before evening free time begins, everyone should get his or her bags ready for the next day. That’s another time when you can discover permission slips to sign or books needed for the next day. Then pick a location by the front door or mudroom where backpacks, briefcases and purses — yes, you can model good behavior by getting your bags ready — are stored.

Stand back. Organizing can just be a matter of good habits, so give your children the chance to learn them. As your children get older, that means you can remind them less. They need to learn from their mistakes, Gray says, or they will have a hard time being self sufficient in college. Gray tells her kids to always put things back where they came from to help them from forgetting where they put stuff. They learn something when they forget. “My son recently switched where he put his protractor and thought he left it at school,” says Gray. “It turns out he put it in a different pocket than usual, and found it the next morning when putting his lunch in his backpack. He learned that if he keeps it in one spot, he would be able to find it every time!”

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Spring Cleaning 2010

Spring cleaning used to be about performing an annual scrubbing down of the home. Nowadays thanks to the proliferation of clearance items and low price bargains our primary job is to regain that feeling of an organized home once again.

Huisvrouw met schoonmaakattributen / A housewi...Image by Nationaal Archief via Flickr

Here are the key steps to follow :

Find a charity of choice that has a pick up service or a drop off near you.
Get some big boxes from a local store
Whether you choose to spring clean for a full day or in little chunks simply divide your time between cleaning and organizing.
Start the process of going through your home and look at all you own.
Every item you own should be highly useful or be an item that you LOVE.
Start with the area that you see when you first enter the home. Be brutal. Keep those give away boxes and a big garbage can near you.
Organizing a home may take longer than spring cleaning, don’t be disheartened.
Every 5 minutes you spend decluttering will be time invested in your sense of empowerment in your home.

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