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accent pieces
clean clothes
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office politics
wardrobe
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holiday season
debit card
The Joys Of Budgeting
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Money does not grow on trees and budgeting it can be a task.

Examine how many hours you work per week and calculate the hourly rate. If you make $40.00 per hour and you want to purchase goods that will cost $60.00, you will have to work 1.5 hours to pay for those goods. Before you make a non-essential purchase, I appeal to you to view the cost in terms of the time you had to work in order to pay for that item. Once you calculate the cost in terms of your time, take it back a step further and recall what occurred at the office in the 1.5 hours. Was it pleasant? Was it productive? Was it satisfying? Was it engaging? You will have not only have had to produce results, but you will have to tolerate the office politics. That treat may not be such a treat.

I love to shop. Shopping is an expensive hobby but I also like to watch my money. Interest rates are out of control. When I shop, I use cash or a debit card. One of the easiest ways to update your wardrobe is to accessorize with stunning accent pieces such as scarves, jewelry, an impressive handbag, shoes, boots and stockings. I shop retail but with a keen eye for a bargain. End of season sales are always a great way to add to your wardrobe. These days more retailers are offering more sale days with more incentives to shoppers. If you must shop look at your daily newspapers for sales and sample sales. Even better, go to a store after the holiday season because most retailers offer 40%-60% reductions on brand names.

You have your wardrobe but you have to care for it. Colors fade and fabric gets limp from machine washing. Washing garments by hand is great but if you live in an apartment than drying them is problematic. Machine washing eventually kills the look and feel of new outfits. Dry cleaning is costly. If you must launder; then use the delicate cycle of a washer followed by the low cycle of a dryer. You can also dry clean clothes in your dryer. You can purchase these ‘dry clean’ towelettes at any drug store. I occasionally use these towelettes for sweaters and trousers. The results are excellent – they look like they just came out of the cleaners. Fabrics such as wool tend to absorb odors so eventually you will have to pay a professional. My local dry cleaners average cost per garment is $10.00. However, if I walk three blocks west, I found another cleaner, and his average cost per garment is $4.50. This is a huge savings.

Personal grooming is expensive. Weekly manicures, pedicures, waxing and threading add up. There are ways to save money at the salon especially on Monday and Tuesday. You can get a manicure-pedicure at a fraction of the cost. Waxing and threading are also discounted. The savings can be as much as 1/3 off the cost of the services during the weekend. Hair salons are offer the same incentives. As we know, our hair is important ─ the wrong cut or color is disastrous. I have shopped locally for less expensive stylists and colorists. These salons are 25% - 30% cheaper than a high-end city salon but what about quality. I suggest that you visit a salon and observe and make your decision. You know what you want. If the salon wants your business, they will not take issue with you observing their staff in real time.

Be creative about shopping. Have you ever considered second hand shops – there are plenty of these shops that sell high-end clothing at deep discounts. I have purchased second hand clothes,but avoid used shoes. You will need patience and may have to make a few visits during a season. I found a designer coat that retailed for $400 but was selling for less than $90.00. The one drawback is that the style may be a season old.

Budgeting is never-ending. I suggest taking a look weekly at your expenses. The practice will help you avoid many pitfalls. There are plenty of ways to save money and you do not have to give up everything.


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