Saving money on every day items can be difficult. While some tackle this problem by budgeting for everything, an alternative option is to have a mental "frugal filter" that you run all purchases through.
Photo by Oxfordian
As finance blog Wise Bread suggests, this tactic can allow you to know fairly quickly whether or not you should spend money on a particular item. Does it pass your criteria? If so, go for it! If not, hold off for a while. Wise Bread shares some possible criteria, but you can adjust as necessary for your own needs:
For me, the Frugal Filter process sounds something like this:
- Do I really need it?
- Do I already have something that might suffice?
- If I really do need it, is there a way to get it cheaply (thrift store, yard sale) or even for free (Freecycle, borrowing from a friend)?
- If it's not available the cheap/free way, how else can I bring the price down?
If you're not the kind to budget for every purchase you make (and, realistically, even with a zero sum budget, it's hard to account for everything), the frugal filter is an excellent backup measure.