Spring has sprung and we all know what that means — beautiful weather is right around the corner and there will be plenty of sales to tempt us into spending our hard earned money. Spring brings with it an urge to rejuvenate our lives and whether it be a new car or curtains, sometimes all it takes is a sale to make us head down a slippery slope that ultimately destroys our finances. Something about the season seems to make us lose our money management skills momentarily.
Just like the holiday season gives us many quick and easy ways to spend more of our money hard-earned money, you should know that spring is no different. Interested in learning how to avoid spring saving traps? Check out ten common problems below:
During the spring, one of the first things you will notice outside many of our favorite superstores are the beautiful outdoor furniture, grills, and other decorations that are on display. After an ugly cold winter, it can be very tempting to upgrade your backyard- especially if your neighbors are doing it as well.
To avoid this trap, stay away from these stores unless it’s absolutely necessary and only if you have a list in hand; this is a smart way to prevent unplanned purchases any time of year. If you find that the list isn’t working as well as you thought, ask yourself if you really need this item. Chances are, the answer will be no.
Also, if your outdoor furniture and other decorations are only a year or so old, consider doing a DIY project to spruce them up. Just like an old piece of furniture can be made to look like new, you’d be surprised what a can of metallic spray paint or a good scrubbing can do for your patio decor.
A new spring wardrobe
As spring approaches, it’s common for many of our favorite stores to roll out the latest fashions in all the hottest colors. The spring weather can seem like a siren song for those who want to spruce up their wardrobes and this can cause us to go overboard and buy things we don’t need.
To avoid this temptation, go over last spring’s wardrobe to see if there are any good pieces. You may also want to consider rotating your closet i.e. putting your warm water clothes away and placing your spring clothes on display. This will help you see the pieces that are already in position and may help stop the urge to shop.
Did you know that spring cleaning can cost you money? When most of us prepare to get down and dirty, we buy a ton of organizing products e.g. cute containers, bins, and baskets. But, in actuality, this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
Instead of buying more stuff to organize your stuff, go through the items you already own and decide what to keep, throw away, or donate. Once this is completed, consider selling some of your gently used items and donating the rest. Getting rid of these items will free up the storage containers already in your possession and you can use them to organize the rest of your stuff.
Giving too lavishly
Spring is an exercise in gift-giving. With high school and college graduations and holidays, like Easter and Mother’s Day, all taking place within 2 months, it can be easy to go overboard. For this reason, it’s essential you put some thought into your gifts before spring arrives.
For instance, although delivered flowers are cute, they can cost a pretty penny. Retailers know that you are looking for the best gifts for your loved ones and the law of supply and demand means that they are going to make you pay for it. To avoid spending too much, do your shopping early and purchase thoughtful and/or practical spring gifts.
Tax refunds are perhaps one of the worst spring saving traps out there because many of us look at them as if they are free money. But, this is the wrong perspective to have. Consider this: if someone robs you at gunpoint for $1,000 and gave it back to you the next day, would you look at it as if it was free money?
If you are in debt, your tax refund should be looked at as a tool to help you reduce it. If you still feel the urge to shop, consider spending a small portion, like 10%. This compromise should help you keep temptation at bay.
Gym memberships you won’t use
After spending the cold harsh winter under long sleeved sweaters, big jackets, and leggings, you may find out that bulge wasn’t caused by your clothing, but by a muffin top. And since summer is known as swimsuit season, many people look to spring as their last chance to get in shape.
The problem is that heading to the gym can be an expensive mistake; especially since there are ways to exercise that don’t cost a thing, like running, walking, or biking outside. .
Buying a new car
When the warm weather hits, the car dealerships put out all the stops in an attempt to get us to spend our money, like bounce houses for the kids and 84-month car loans. If you’re already in possession of a car that works well, resist all temptation. If this is something that you find hard to do. avoid them all together. They can’t tempt you if never given the opportunity.
Store credit cards
During the spring, you can find ads for store credit cards in virtually every store that you go to. While they are tempting and taking advantage of them makes sense — who doesn’t want to pay $50 for those shoes you’ve had your eye on instead of $150? And all you have to do is fill out a form? Sounds like a sweet deal.
One of the biggest problems with these deals is that your credit will be pulled each and every time you sign up. This will post an inquiry to your credit file and, if you get too many of these, it will hurt your credit score– even if you are a responsible bill payer. Secondly, if you are unable to pay off your purchase amount in full by the due date, interest will begin to accumulate — which will negate any initial savings that you’ve made.
When online shopping, free shipping deals are one of the most coveted promotions around. In fact, shoppers are known to increase their spending just to qualify for these discount. But, this is a common sales tactic used by online retailers. In fact, you may be surprised to learn retailers will increase the qualifying amount as much as 50% more than the average order value. In other words, you will end up spending more than you normally would to get this “discount.”
During the spring, retailers come up with all types of tactics to separate consumers from their money, like bounce-back offers. With this offer, if you spend a certain amount of money today, it will qualify you for a nice discount at a later date. For instance, if you spend $50 today, you’ll get a coupon for $25 off your next purchase of $100 or more. Although this sounds like a good deal, many consumers fail to redeem these discounts, making the amount spent a waste.
The bottom line
Spring is a time of renewal and, as such, is perfect for getting rid of bad habits and creating better new ones. If you want to stay on top of things this season, create a budget and stick to it. Don’t let the warm weather lull you into a false sense of security which causes you to spend more money than you need to. Although the temptation to keep up with the Joneses may remain, you have to gain control. Use the warm weather to renew your dedication to financial fitness, your older self will thank you. .