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13 Tips on how to save money and spend wisely

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Be patriotic: Spend!

President Obama believes we can stimulate the economy by spending. So, how do we do our part as Americans, yet protect our own financial interests?

Woman with Coupons

Americans are hooked on spending.

Naturally, we all want to be good Americans and help out by…spending! The fact is, Americans are already hooked on spending. That's what got us into this position in the first place. So, how do we help stimulate the economy, yet protect our own financial interests?

1. Think!
2. Budget carefully
3. Use cash whenever possible.
4. Spend wisely
If we use our heads and spend wisely, we can save money for ourselves, as well.

Tips on how to save money and spend wisely

1. Shop Generic labels

Most times, generics and store brands have exactly the same ingredients, but cost far less than name brands.

2. Clip Coupons

Coupons will save money on the brand names you insist on using. Take advantage of store double coupon days. Watch the stores' weekly ads for good prices and a chance to add your coupons to the sale prices for even more savings.

3. Comparison shop

This is especially important on big-ticket items like appliances, furniture and automobiles. Read product reviews to learn about quality and the best value.

4. Buy second hand

Whether it's a used car or books from your local library's used book sale, buy second hand! Yard sales and flea markets are great places to find deals.

5. Sales

Watch for sales on items big and small. Why pay full price for an item if you can get the same thing on sale. Stock up on smaller sale items from the grocery store and take advantage of the savings.

6. Magazine subscriptions

If you find yourself picking up the same magazine each month at the checkout line, subscribe to it instead. The per issue cost is lots less with a subscription than paying issue by issue.

7. Buy a freezer

It doesn't have to be a large one. Once you get beyond the initial cost of the freezer, you'll be saving a lot of money by bulk purchases of meats and other freezable items. (Of course, comparison-shop before you buy that freezer!)

8. Scratch & Dents

Often, appliances and other items are discounted if they have a slight scratch, dent or other flaw. Discounted seconds can also be of good quality, but slightly flawed. Sometimes these savings can be substantial and are certainly worth investigating.

9. Buy a crock-pot

An investment in this small appliance will help you save money on groceries. It's so easy to be creative on meals with economical meat cuts and vegetables in the fridge.

10. Purchase clothing after season

Fantastic end-of-season clothing sales can really save you a pretty penny, especially if you select non-trendy styles that will last a few seasons. Select separates that coordinate for more flexibility.

11. Restaurant coupons and early bird specials

You don't need to give up dining out just because things are tough. Select more economical restaurants and take advantage of half off coupons. Early bird specials will also save you money. Plus, skip dessert! You'll save on calories and money too.

12. Rebates

Remember to mail in all the required receipts and the money back rebate coupons on rebate items you've purchased. It's sure nice to find that check in the mail six weeks later.

13. Have a yard sale

It will give you a chance to clean out closets and shelves, as well as giving others an opportunity to find a bargain. Take those extra few dollars you make from the sale and recycle them into some wise spending from numbers 1 — 12 above!Spend wisely by trying some of these money savings tips. Not only will you be helping to stimulate the economy, but you'll save money for your own piggy bank, as well.

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