Self control. It can be one of the hardest rules to abide by when it comes to your purchasing behavior, but also the key to saving money and being better off financially. At a time when a newer version of a product is introduced on a constant basis, this can definitely be a difficult task to undertake. Marketers are working their magic to make you feel like you need the best of the best and the newest version of everything. But really, you don’t. You don’t have to have the newest version, the best version, or the most enhanced version of anything. Practicality is key, and we have created a list of the top items where the most expensive and best version is not always necessary.
- Smart Phone
Face it. That thin, electric box we all carry around has become the one item that many of us can’t live without. This of course is going to make it harder to resist a flashy new version of what you already have. In a lot of cases, the new version isn’t really all that new. Take the IPhone 7 for example. The difference from the 6 and 7 really came down to a slightly better camera. Being practical in the case of a smart phone is being happy with what you have and resisting the urge to do an expensive upgrade every time a newer version comes out. If your current phone serves its purpose, then the practical thing to do would not be getting a new one. Stay happy with what you have and try to make it to the 2-year mark before upgrading to a newer version.
There is one question that you need to ask yourself when purchasing a vehicle. What is going to be the purpose of this purchase? Do you run a handyman business and need to haul equipment to jobs? Is it to transport your kids to the many practices and school events they are involved in? Looking at a vehicle as a means of transportation is the practical way to buy one. Getting a brand new, expensive truck with all the bells and whistles yet never intending to actually use it to haul anything is probably not spending your money wisely. Of course, everyone has his or her personal preference when it comes to the size of a vehicle, but a vehicle is a major expense that can put you in a mound of debt. No matter which way you breakdown buying a vehicle, it is simply something to transport you from A to B. So save yourself a lot of money, and buy a vehicle, not a prized toy. It’s the practical thing to do.
Here is a little secret about most appliance brands. The exact same companies that manufacture the expensive brands usually manufacture the “off” brands as well. That means the warranties are usually just as good as well, so there really is nothing to fear with the cheaper options. You may not get the little extra add-ons that come with some of the more expensive fridges, stoves, and dishwashers, but remember the key word for this article – practical. Do you really need a fridge with an LCD screen that shows a slideshow of family pictures? The answer is no.
- TV Subscriptions
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, its pretty oblivious that streaming services like Netflix have been all the rage the last couple of years. So much so that a lot of people are ditching cable because of it. But if you really think about it, most of us don’t even watch the majority of the channels with cable or satellite. Instead of paying 100+ a month, switch over to a streaming service like Sling TV. The basic Sling TV package will allow you to stream roughly 20 channels, including ESPN, TBS and TNT, for a flat $20 a month. What’s even better is you get to choose the channels you want.
Let us preface this with saying that there are some brands you are going to be completely loyal to and can’t live without- JIF Peanut Butter for example. But for the majority of the groceries you buy, it’s a lot more practical and easier on your wallet to get the off brand products. Brands like Great Value from Wal-Mart, or Kroger Brand usually have all the same options, while tasting almost the same. And just like appliances, a lot of the “off” brands are actually manufactured by the exact same companies, so you’re not compromising on quality.