Shopping has become an art form and seasoned practitioners know how to parlay those skills into juicy finds to make their lives easier, better, or more fulfilled. Let’s go shopping and ease the recession’s impact on our pocketbooks.
I know it sounds crazy for a personal finance writer to advocate shopping in the midst of a recession, but it really CAN ease your financial stress if you buy the right items with the right information. Which items and what information? Here you go:
Go shopping for a better savings rate
Great rates on savings accounts are getting more and more difficult to find, BUT they are out there. Since I just want to “park” money for my emergency fund in these accounts, I prefer to use ING or HSBC. ING’s rate has dipped plummeted as has HSBC’s but they are still better than putting money in my mattress (and a whole lot more comfortable).
Currently, the HSBC rate is better than ING’s but I still have some ING referrals so if you’d like a $25 bonus on any savings account you open with them, send me a note via my contact form.
Go shopping for a better cell provider
We live in a wireless world, interconnected to each other by electromagnetic wavelengths we cannot see but CAN hear. The cellular world has become much more commoditized and as a result, the different provider’s offerings are getting more and more similar. By using a service like LetsTalk, you and I can easily compare rates between the different providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc) and see if we’re really getting the best deal for our usage levels. LetsTalk even has deals to get free cell phones, even a new Blackberry Pearl with ANY of the major carriers.
Go shopping for energy savings
Whether you’re shopping for full spectrum daylight earth bulbs or for a smart power strip or a 7 day programmable thermostat, shopping for energy saving items is a no brainer. Be sure and figure your break-even point, though. If you can save just $1 per month, in electricity, a CFL bulb is worth it after 2-3 months, the power strip after 36 and the thermostat after 43, but I’d be willing to bet you’ll save a lot more than just one dollar.
Go shopping for a better credit card rate
I’m not a big fan of credit cards but I do understand their necessity and the incredible convenience they provide. I personally advocate paying 100 percent of your balance each and every month. If you’ve made the commitment to get your credit card balance to zero, you can pay it down MUCH faster with a better rate. Just be extra vigilant that you don’t run up more debt just because you now have an old card with nothing on it.
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If you pay off your credit card balance in full each month and don’t need to transfer a balance, you may find that a rewards card is much better. In those cases, a “charge” card that pays rewards may be the best bet.
We’ve spent the past two decades learning how to shop so we might as well use those skills to help us ease our recession worries and save some cash in the process! Shopping can be fun when you’re shopping to save money. What you do with your savings is up to you, but I’d recommend putting it into an emergency fund, saving for your retirement, or for your children’s college education if it were me.