saving tips

Save vs. Spend: Is This Purchase Necessary?

When it comes to spending and saving, it’s important to strike a balance. There are many factors to consider when trying to live more frugally. It can be helpful to know a few good money saving tips and to know when it’s okay to go ahead and spend.

Saving money and living within your means is all about balance. It’s nearly impossible to deny yourself of everything. But it’s also a bad idea to give in to every little impulse purchase.

But how can you know the difference? How do you know when it’s a good idea to save or if you should go ahead and make a purchase?

If you need a little advice when it comes to saving versus spending, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these helpful saving tips so you can save your money wisely and live a little, too.

Spending versus Saving

There’s a time to spend and a time to save. It’s easy to get the two confused, which is why financial balance can feel like such a moving target. Putting a few good saving tips into practice can really help, as well as knowing when you should spend and when you’re better off saving.


Spending can be very satisfying, bringing enjoyment to your life. Sometimes it can buy you experiences and items that can make life worthwhile. But it can also fill you with regret when you spend on something you’ll soon forget or something that costs too much. It’s also regrettable when you spend money that was needed for something else on an impulse purchase.


Saving can also be very satisfying in its own way. When you can pass on frivolous purchases or overly expensive items, it feels good to know you’re in control of your financial behavior.

Also, saving ensures that you’ll always have money for emergencies or unexpected events or expenses.

On the flip side, always trying to save a buck can make you miss out on some of life’s pleasures.

A balance comes when you understand what it’s okay to spend and splurge on and what you should just walk away from. If a purchase is absolutely necessary, it’s good to know how you should approach an essential purchase.

Necessities: When to Spend, When to Save

When trying to save money, it can be tempting to buy the cheapest version of almost everything. With some things, this turns out okay. There are other times, though, when spending a little more money on higher quality items will save you money in the long run.

Sometimes cheaper purchases will be of low quality or will wear out more quickly than a more expensive purchase, leaving you paying for repairs or having to buy a new item entirely. To avoid this trap, be careful when making these important purchases:

  • Modes of transportation, such as cars or bicycles
  • Homes
  • Carry items such as everyday bags, purses, wallets, and luggage
  • Kitchen and household appliances

Saving in the short term with these purchases may lead to extra spending in the future when they give out. Most of these purchases are used every day and must be able to withstand wear and tear. Also, these are generally necessary purchases, so it’s worth spending money for good quality.

Money Saving Tips: Impulse versus Consideration

Most bad purchases are impulse buys. These are items you buy on the spur of the moment with very little thought or consideration.

Spending money impulsively often leads to buying things that cost too much, things you don’t really need, or things that aren’t even memorable. When you find yourself about to give in to the temptation to satisfy a desire or want right away, it’s better to step back and reconsider.

When you’re able to postpone purchasing, you give yourself more time to:

  • Know whether or not you really want to make the purchase
  • Find out if you can buy the same thing for less
  • Examine your budget to see if the purchase is appropriate

Once you’ve given yourself some time to regroup, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not a purchase is truly necessary or desired. If it was important, you’ll still be interested. If you find your interest fading away, you’ll know you’ve avoided indulging a momentary urge that won’t benefit you much.

Giving yourself extra time also allows you to shop around for lower prices or cheaper alternatives if you decide you still really want something. This helps you save while still getting what you want.

Thoughtful Spending Is Best

Of all the complicated saving tips you’ll encounter, thoughtful spending is one of the most simple but effective ideas around. Spending money on purchases you’ve put a lot of thought in is always the better bet.

If in time you find that your desire for an item or experience has not gone away, it’s probably something you really need or would truly enjoy. It’s less likely that the purchase will be forgettable or regrettable.

Reflect on the reasons you’re interested in making certain purchases before you go through with them. You’ll be surprised at how many times you realize that you didn’t want something as badly as you initially thought.

Thinking before you buy is one of those simple saving tips that many miss. Don’t jump in. Choose to wait it out a bit.

Little Things Add Up

Many people looking for money saving tips are surprised to find out just how much money they regularly spend on small, forgettable purchases. These add up fast and are forgotten nearly as quickly. This is especially the case with smaller consumable items.

Consumable items are those little purchases that accumulate over time to build a hefty sum. Examples of consumable items would include coffees, sodas, vending machine items, and other small food and drink purchases.

These items are usually purchased on a whim, with little consideration of the matter before or after. You decide on impulse you’d like to have something, buy it, consume it, and then forget about it. If such purchases become part of your daily routine, they’ll really add up by the time you get your credit card or bank statement.

It’s important to understand when consumable items are worth the splurge. Special dinners and outings with friends or family are quite different from daily unnecessary splurges. Such purchases are usually the result of consideration and planning. They’re special and will be a memorable event.

Memories Are Better Than Stuff

Having stuff that you want can be fun, but often these things just pile up over time. The satisfaction you got from purchasing these items eventually fades and you’re off to purchase the next item. Spending money on experiences is a better investment, even if they are more expensive.

Experiences provide lasting memories for everyone involved. They also usually require quite a bit of planning. Spending money in this way ensures that you’re not lugging around another purchase that could possibly end up as an unused item.

Saving Tips for Knowing What to Pass Up

Some of the best saving tips you’ll hear are the ones where you can learn what is worth purchasing and what you really could live without. Here’s a quick rundown of purchases you can pass up without missing out.

Trendy Clothing

Clothing styles change every year. While it’s okay to spend some cash on a few solid pieces, avoid the urge to buy up a new wardrobe each year. You’ll have less clutter and more money in the end.

Pricey Beauty Products

These can be hard to walk away from because their promises are so big. Many beauty products are mostly hype. You’ll end up impulsively spending a ton of money on products that won’t really improve your life in any significant way.

Small Decorative Items

Home decor adds charm and warmth to a living space. But it’s easy to go overboard with smaller purchases, especially if you get in the habit of buying these items at first sight just because they appeal to you. Not only will their costs add up in time, but they’ll also stuff a space and distract from other more important design elements.

The Latest Technology

It’s understandable to want to replace obsolete or poorly functioning smartphones, computers, and similar items. However, always being first in line for the latest technology is sometimes very unnecessary and expensive.

If you really need a new device, by all means buy one that fits your needs and budget. But if you’re just taken by something because it’s the latest version, save your money. Unless a device is a significant improvement over your previous one or offers a service or function that you absolutely need, it’s best to pass.

Money Saving Tips for a Better Life

Living with regret from unnecessary spending can be stressful. However, you don’t want to give up everything you enjoy. Following these basic guidelines can help you spend more wisely so you get what you need and leave behind what you don’t.

For more great tips on managing your money and being financially healthy, please check out our other blog posts.