The More You Plan Ahead, The More You Can Save
Although I fully believe that life is best lived in the moment, when it comes to your finances, the opposite is true. You've probably heard many times that the earlier you start saving for your retirement, or for your kids' college, the better off you will all be. If we apply this thinking to other things in our lives, it works too. Here are some great ways to do this on a smaller, regular scale, that will help you save tons of money just by taking the time to plan ahead.
1) Clothes: Kids grow and grow, for years. Even if you have just one kid, as I do, and even if you get and use lots of hand-me-downs, as I do, you will spend a boat-load of money on clothing for your kid before they even turn 5 or 10-years-old. So how can planning ahead help you save some of this money for college, or a for a great family vacation? Each 4th of July or Labor, for instance, when you hit the sales racks, don't just look at back-to-school clothes for that fall. Grab a bunch of great deals for next summer. I've done that since I was pregnant, and each year, I've been able to buy an entire summer and spring wardrobe for my growing kid for the FOLLOWING year very economically. (At big sales events, items can be as low as $2.99, even at The Gap!)
2) Travel: Plan trips way ahead, and consider bringing along other families for extra fun, and extra savings. The larger a house you rent, and the larger a group you have, the less you pay per bedroom. By renting a home instead of staying in hotels you also get to enjoy a lot more privacy, and more space, and save a ton on food since you can cook what you want, when you want it, without having to go to restaurants for every meal. And, if you have any free miles to use, planning ahead is the best way to use those free flights to go where you really want to go, when you want to go.
3) Take advantage of ALL sales: This might mean buying things ahead of time, even if you have not run out of something, and even if you're already at a discount store. A lot of people figure that when they are buying bulk, they are already getting the best deal. But if you keep an eye out for when your most-used household items are on sale, in the bulk isle, that's when you'll really start to see the savings add up for you.
How does planning ahead help you save?