You took our quiz, and discovered you’re a deal-hunting expert who prides yourself on never, ever paying full price. You really know how to make your money go as far as possible. But even though you love a bargain, you aren’t the best saver. Your first challenge is learning when spending is actually worth it, versus when it’s best to keep your wallet closed. Meeting your short-term saving goals will set you up for success when you’re ready for bigger steps, like a down payment or a cross-country move.
Use your bargain-hunting skills for good.
You’ve already cultivated some very savvy shopping techniques. Focus on reining in your spending by writing out a grocery list before you shop — and sticking to it. You can still shop smart, but grab circulars and coupons ahead of time to help with your planning rather than bulk-buying the best deals you spot at the store that day. Plan ahead for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays by looking out for the perfect gifts year-round — you’ll find a good deal if you start early, and we know you love the thrill of the hunt. Allow yourself the occasional impulse buy, but make unplanned spending the exception rather than the norm.
Steel yourself and unsubscribe from all those deals newsletters. If you don’t hear about a sale, you won’t be tempted to shop it! If you’re a social shopper, ask your friends to go for a walk or check out a free local attraction rather than hitting up the boutiques. And try your hardest not to browse sales on your phone or computer during your downtime — you’ll only make yourself miserable.
Get rid of the things you don’t use or need.
Chances are, you have tons of new or like-new items around your home that could be put to good use elsewhere. You can donate housewares, or sell anything new on eBay. Be particularly brutal when it comes to your closet. Anything you haven’t worn in the last two years can likely go. Set up an account with an app like Tradesy or Poshmark and list the clothes and accessories you’re parting with to bring in a little cash. If you don’t have the time to juggle an e-commerce side hustle, see what you can get for your items from a local consignment store, or consider donating them. Getting rid of excess stuff will help you realize how much of it you were never using in the first place, curbing your temptation to buy more things.
Any store cards have got to go.
Pay off any outstanding balances, then close your credit cards affiliated with stores. Retail and department store cards often have crazy-high interest rates, and the “deals” associated with the card will keep you coming back out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.
Bear in mind that closing credit cards can harm your credit in a couple of ways — but the pain is usually short-lived if you work to offset it. Closing your older cards shortens your available credit history, but you can work to build that back up with other lines of credit. Closing cards will also decrease your total available credit. Remember: You only want to be using about 30% or less of your available credit at all times, which is easier to do when you have more credit available. If you’re worried, you can always ask for a credit increase on the cards you’re keeping to keep your utilization rate in check.