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有道学堂 | 双语阅读

2014-08-01  白水神木...

Trying to cut costs in your daily budget is a valiant — and often necessary — practice. A few dollars saved here and there can amount to a sizeable sum over time, after all. But how you save can make a big difference in how much you save. Because when it comes down to it, not all “money-saving” tactics actually save you money.

削减日常开支是一种勇敢的行为,常常也是必要的行为。这里省几块,那里省几块,一定时间过后可以形成一笔可观的数目。但以怎样的方式省钱,可能会对你最终能省下多少钱造成很大的影响。因为细究起来的话,并不是所有“省钱”策略真的都会省钱。

Here are 11 common penny-pinching tactics that could actually cost you more in the long term — and smart money-saving moves you can make instead.

下文列举了11种常见的、从长远来讲反倒有可能让你损失更多的省钱策略,以及你可以取而代之的聪明省钱方法。

Buying Something Just Because It's on Sale

仅仅因为特价而买

"Sale is the most dangerous four-letter word," says personal finance blogger Zina Kumok. And with the rise of flash sales and coupon sites like RueLaLa and Groupon, the temptation to impulse-buy just to get a good deal is even higher, adds Ozeme J. Bonnette, author of “Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances.” "So often, we find a deal that is too good to pass up, yet we wouldn't have even bought the item or service if it had not been mentioned to us," she explains. (Guilty.)

个人理财博客写手齐娜·库莫克(Zina Kumok)说:“特价(sale)是最危险的四字单词。”《该是你的就是你的:一位基督徒的理财指南》(Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances)作者奥采姆·邦尼特(Ozeme J. Bonnette)指出,随着闪购和RueLaLa、Groupon等团购网站的兴起,仅以划算为目的的冲动性购物产生了越来越大的诱惑。她解释道:“我们经常发现某笔买卖太划算了,觉得不能错过,但如果没有人跟我们说起,我们根本就不会购买这件商品或服务。”(内疚中……)

Clothing sales can be especially tempting, as we justify buying items we don't need because they're half off or bargain with ourselves that we'll wear an item "someday." (Guilty and guilty!) Woroch suggests curbing the temptation to snatch up deals by unsubscribing from store e-newsletters, canceling snail mail catalogues by contacting Catalog Choice, and deleting any flash sale or daily deal apps that push tempting pop-up notifications on your mobile device. If all else fails, commit this mantra from Los Angeles-based financial expert Pegi Burdick to memory, "The most expensive thing in your closet is the item you don't wear."

服装特价可能尤其诱人:我们以半价为理由来为自己购买不需要的东西开脱,或者是自己跟自己说,“有朝一日”我们会穿那件衣服的。(内疚,内疚!)全美知名的消费与理财专家安德烈亚·沃罗奇(Andrea Woroch)建议我们退订商店电子通讯、联系Catalog Choice取消邮寄目录、从手机上删除任何推送诱人通知的闪购或团购应用,以控制争抢特价品的诱惑。实在没有办法了,那就把洛杉矶理财专家佩希·伯迪克(Pegi Burdick)的这句至理名言铭记在心吧:“衣柜里最贵的东西是你不穿的那一件。”

Opening a Store Credit Card to Get a Discount

为了打折而办商户信用卡

The offer seems like a no-brainer: Save 10-20 percent on your first purchase by opening a store credit card, but nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch says this practice can come back to bite you. "Store cards carry high interest rates, expensive late payments and usually tempt people into buying more than they would with cash or their debit card, especially to take advantage of that first-use discount," she says. Unless you plan to use the card one time on a huge purchase, pay it off, and then never use that card again, or if you open a card at a retailer you shop at often or exclusively, it's not worth that initial discount. Woroch suggests finding other ways to save with mobile coupons via a site like CouponSherpa.

面对这样一个条件,似乎不用多想:办一张商户信用卡,第一笔消费可以减掉10%到20%。但沃罗奇说,这种做法有可能得不偿失。她说:“商户信用卡利息很高,滞纳金很重,并且常常诱使人们比使用现金或借记卡购买更多的东西,特别是为了利用第一次使用享受的折扣。”除非你打算用这张卡一次性地进行大额采购、把账还清,之后再也不用那张卡,或者是在你经常去购物或只在那里购物的商户那里开卡,否则光为了第一笔的折扣而开卡就不值得。沃罗奇建议通过CouponSherpa之类的网站寻找其他利用手机优惠券省钱的办法。

Buying An Extended Warranty

购买延保服务

Woroch also warns against shelling out dough to protect a big-ticket purchase. “You don't get what you pay for because extended warranties aren't what they seem to be," she says. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, stores keep 50 percent of what they charge for an extended warranty plan so that’s why they pitch it. “The warranty may be rife with restrictions and exclusions and may not offer the coverage you expect,” she explains. “You often don’t get the full explanation of how it works either, nor do many people even think to ask. Often times, the store contracts a third-party service provider and you don’t know anything about this service provider, how reliable they are, the quality of their work, how long the service will take should something need fixing or replacement.”

沃罗奇还提醒大家不要花很多钱去保修一件大额物品。她说:“你花的钱并不值当,因为延长保修并不像表面看起来的那样。”事实上据《消费者报告》(Consumer Reports)报道,商户收取的延保费用有一半都放进了他们自己的口袋,所以他们才会大力推销延长保修。沃罗奇解释道:“延保可能有诸多限制和很多不属保修范围的情况,也许并没有提供你所期待的保障。你常常得不到有关具体怎样延保的充分解释,有很多人甚至也不会想到去问。商户经常是将延保业务外包给某家第三方服务提供商,而你对这家服务提供商却一无所知,也不知道他们有多可靠,工作质量如何,以及如果有东西需要维修或换货,多久才能享受到服务。”

Instead, Woroch says that you can use a credit card that doubles the manufacturer warranty for free for that added coverage. Your state may also offer consumer warranty rights and protect resident purchases within a given period against seriously defective items, she adds: For instance, The Maine Implied Warranty is a little known law that protects Maine consumers from being sold seriously defective items within a reasonable useful life.

沃罗奇说,你可以使用一张可免费延长厂家保修期一倍的信用卡。她补充说,你所在的州可能也有自己的消费者维权法,能在一定时间内为当地的消费行为维权,确保消费者不会买到存在严重缺陷的产品。比如《缅因默示保证法案》(Maine Implied Warranty)是一部很少有人知道的法案,它在产品的合理使用期内为缅因州的消费行为维权,确保消费者不会买到存在严重缺陷的产品。

Driving Out of the Way Just to Use a Coupon

开很远的车,只为用掉一张优惠券

Of all the money-saving tricks that end up being pitfalls for a lot of people, the main ones are usually when people perceive they'll get savings right away, says Erin Konrad, Content Developer at CouponPal, rather than thinking about the long-term savings. "For example, some people will drive out of their way if they have a coupon or hear about a discount at a store," she says. "They don't think about the gas money they waste by driving farther or to a bunch of different shops."

CouponPal的内容开发员艾琳·康拉德(Erin Konrad)说,在很多人都发现最后变成了陷阱的那些省钱技巧当中,主要的那些技巧常常都是让人觉得马上就可以省钱,而不是让人思考长远来看省不省钱。她说:“比如如果有一张优惠券或听说某家店打折,有些人会开很远的车过去。他们也不想一下开更远的车或开往一些不同商店所浪费的油钱。”

David Bakke, money saving expert at MoneyCrashers.com, agrees that being overly aggressive in your deal hunting efforts can cost you money in the end. "Taking a one hour round trip out to a retail store to save $5 on printer ink just isn't a good use of your time. You'd be better off using that hour in other ways to save more money or to generate it."

MoneyCrashers.com的省钱专家戴维·巴克(David Bakke)也认为,过于努力地寻找打折优惠到头来反倒有可能让你多花钱。“为了买打印机油墨能省下五美元而跑到一家来回需要一小时的零售店,就是没有很好地利用自己的时间。最好是把这一小时的时间用到其他方面省下更多的钱,或者是生钱。”

So, before hauling yourself all over town, consider if the item is really something you need or worth the cost when you add in what it will take to get you there. Also check to see if you can use the coupon on the retailer's website before driving to the storefront.

所以在开着车满城跑之前要想一想,那件东西是不是真的需要,或者说如果把一路上的花费加进去,你所花的钱是否值得。另外还要在驱车前往店铺之前在商家的网站上看看这张优惠券能不能使用。

Buying in Bulk

批量购买

Big box stores like Costco are great for large families, but the average person might not really benefit from shopping in mass quantities. "Before buying seventeen pounds of dried pasta, be sure to break down the per ounce price,” says certified credit counselor Michelle Kuehner. “Plus, keeping it on the shelf for too long could hinder the cooking outcome — it might be gummy or take longer to prepare." Not to mention it can spoil, meaning that you've actually lost money while trying to save.

好市多(Costco)等大型零售店很适合大家庭买东西,但一般的人可能不会因为大批量采购而真正受益。注册信用咨询师米歇尔·屈纳(Michelle Kuehner)说:“在购买17磅重的干通心粉之前,一定要算一下每盎司的价格。另外,搁太久也有可能会令烹调效果打折扣──可能变得很粘,或者是需要烹调更久的时间。”更不用说面条有可能变质,让你在想省钱的时候反倒亏了钱。

Shop smart when you're buying in big quantities, she advises. "Items like toilet paper, dishwashing [soap], laundry detergent and trash bags aren’t a problem, but they could be found cheaper by using a service like Amazon Subscribe and Save," she says. "It offers free shipping to your door, and I found is very competitive in price to the warehouse store. It also saves the membership fee." For perishables, Liz Dierking and Jenny Andrews of the tastytrade Financial Network suggest splitting your bulk shopping with a friend or family member so you won't end up tossing unused or expired items.

她建议在大批量采购的时候要好好挑选。“厕纸、洗洁精、洗衣粉和垃圾袋大批量购买都没有问题,但通过Amazon Subscribe and Save之类的服务可以找到更便宜的。它提供免费送货到门的服务,我觉得在价格上相比仓储式商店也非常有竞争力。它还节省了会员费。”对于容易腐败的物品,理财网络Tastytrade的莉兹·迪尔金(Liz Dierking)和珍妮·安德鲁斯(Jenny Andrews)建议跟朋友或家人合伙购买,免得最后不得不扔掉一些没有使用过的或过了期的物品。

Buying in Bulk

留出资金用于紧急情况或用于将来肯定是一个好主意,但你也得想办法让它升值(且长期升值速度要快于通货膨胀)。

Big box stores like Costco are great for large families, but the average person might not really benefit from shopping in mass quantities. "Before buying seventeen pounds of dried pasta, be sure to break down the per ounce price,” says certified credit counselor Michelle Kuehner. “Plus, keeping it on the shelf for too long could hinder the cooking outcome — it might be gummy or take longer to prepare." Not to mention it can spoil, meaning that you've actually lost money while trying to save.

在过去,定期存款账户(savings account)的利息率高于活期存款账户(checking account)。但现在不是这样了。对于应急储蓄,屈纳建议登陆DepositAccounts.com查看当前活期存款利率列表,以及获得更高利率需要存入的最低额度。

Shop smart when you're buying in big quantities, she advises. "Items like toilet paper, dishwashing [soap], laundry detergent and trash bags aren’t a problem, but they could be found cheaper by using a service like Amazon Subscribe and Save," she says. "It offers free shipping to your door, and I found is very competitive in price to the warehouse store. It also saves the membership fee." For perishables, Liz Dierking and Jenny Andrews of the tastytrade Financial Network suggest splitting your bulk shopping with a friend or family member so you won't end up tossing unused or expired items.

如果回报太低,迪尔金和安德鲁斯建议至少把一部分储蓄存入一个经纪账户(brokerage account)。如此你不仅可以把储蓄投进低风险基金,甚至根本就不必投资。迪尔金和安德鲁斯说:“经纪账户里没有投资的资金仍然会产生微薄的利息。真正的好处是你把资金放在那里随时都可以进行投资,拥有各种工具和灵活的投资选择,这些都是普通存款账户所没有的。”

Buying More Online to Qualify for Free Shipping

为了免运费,在网上购买更多东西

We've all been there: You're about to check out when you realize you need to spend $20 more to waive your shipping costs. "What happens is you often spend more than you originally planned just to save a few bucks on shipping," Konrad says.

我们都曾遇到过这样的情况:马上就要结账的时候,才发现需要再花20美元才能免掉运费。康拉德说:“结果是你常常为了省掉几块钱的运费而花了比最初计划更多的钱。”

Of course, if the retailer offers free return shipping, this isn't as big of an issue—just send back whatever extra items you bought to get the shipping fee waived. (We imagine this is pretty common practice—according to one 2011 study, 40 percent of clothing purchases made online are indeed returned.)

当然,如果商家提供免费返运服务,那么问题就没那么大了──把多买的东西寄回去,从而把运费免掉。(我们估计这是一个相当常见的做法──根据2011年的一次调查,网上购买的服装40%都被寄回。)

But, there is still a risk over overspending if you end up liking the extras you bought and keeping them, costing you more in the long run. So, it's safer for your budget (and better for keeping your closet clutter-free) to buy what you intended to and pay the $5 shipping fee. Also, always be sure to check a coupon site like RetailMeNot.com or Coupons.com before checking out to see if there are coupon codes or discounts you can use on your purchase.

但如果你到头来喜欢上了多买的东西并且保留下来,那就还是有多花钱的风险。所以仅仅购买你打算购买的东西并支付五美元的运费,对于你的预算更加安全(也更有利于防止衣柜塞不下)。另外,在结账之前一定要登陆RetailMeNot.com或Coupons.com之类的优惠券网站,看有没有可以使用的优惠码或折扣。

Buying the Cheapest of Everything

什么都买最便宜的

If your eye naturally gravitates to the lowest price of every item you buy, you'll end up spending more money over time, says Kyle James, owner and founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com. "Instead, develop the mindset of investing in certain high quality items and you’ll actually end up saving significant money," he says. "For example, every time I have skimped on a tool purchase — this goes for both power tools and hand tools — it has come back to haunt me."

Rather-Be-Shopping.com老板兼创始人凯尔·詹姆斯(Kyle James)说,如果你购买每一样东西都习惯性地瞄准最低价格,一定时间过后你可能反而会花更多的钱。他说:“相反,养成花钱买某些优质产品的心态,到时候你反倒能省下不少的钱。比如,每次我买工具(包括电动工具和手工工具)时如果舍不得多花钱,最后就只会让自己花掉更多的钱。”

He suggests doing your research before you buy big ticket items especially and make sure you're getting a quality product — it's definitely worth the extra money as you won’t have to replace the item anytime soon. This isn't to say that you can't buy the cheapest of anything, Bakke adds, rather it's important to know when it's okay to do so.

他建议,特别是在购买大额物品之前要先做好研究,并确保自己买的是一件优质产品──多花的钱绝对值得,因为你不需要很快就替换。巴克说,这并不是说任何东西都不能购买最便宜的,而是说一定要知道什么时候可以买最便宜的。

"It's OK to shop the dollar store for office supplies, for example, but when you're talking about a flat screen TV or a laptop, it pays to invest in quality," he says. "You don't have to get the most expensive product on the market, just don't go with the cheapest."

他说:“比如说,去一元店购买办公用品是没问题的,但如果是要买一台平板电视机或笔记本电脑,为高品质多花点钱是有好处的。你不一定要买市场上最贵的产品,只是不要去购买最便宜的。”

Overspending to Get Credit Card Rewards

为获得信用卡奖励而多花钱

While many of us know that having a credit card that offers rewards comes with perks like cash back, airline miles, and free hotel stays, that doesn't mean it's worth racking up a bigger monthly balance just to reap those benefits. "If you spend $50 on a credit card to get the three percent cash back, you're not saving any money," Kumok says.

虽然我们很多人都知道拥有一张提供奖励的信用卡可以享受返现、航班里程积累、免费酒店住宿等好处,但这并不意味着仅仅为了获得这些好处就值得增加每月的开销。库莫克说:“如果你为了获得3%的返现而用信用卡花了50美元,这根本就不是省钱。”

While she explains that, generally if you're redeeming for material goods, you're better off buying in cash than redeeming points, spending money on certain cards can indeed pay off. Kumok recommends Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard for travel deals, which gives you 10 percent of your miles back when you redeem them. But she says she personally likes to “churn” her awards-giving credit cards, which means that you sign up for different credit cards to get sign-up bonus offers, like 20,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in three months.

她解释,虽然一般情况下在你打算用积分兑换实物产品时,其实最好还是用现金购买而不是用积分兑换,但利用某些卡片付款确实有好处。库莫克推荐“Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard”用于旅行,兑换积分的时候它会返回10%的里程。但她说,她个人喜欢“开造”提供奖励的信用卡,也就是说申请不同的信用卡以获得开卡奖励,比如三个月花费3,000元的话就会获得两万英里的里程。

“That's where you get the most bang, especially if you were going to spend the money anyway on stuff like groceries, gas, and so on,” she says. “And it’s best way to get miles quickly and efficiently.” (However, those with low credit scores might not be able to do this without further damaging their credit, so talk to a financial advisor if you’re unsure.)

她说:“这才是重点所在,特别是如果你准备花钱买食杂品、汽油等东西的时候。而且最好是迅速而有效地获得里程。”(但信用记录较差的人可能无法在不进一步损害信用的情况下做到这一点,所以如果不确定的话,去找一位理财顾问谈谈吧。)

Buying Everything on Black Friday

所有的东西都在黑色星期五购买

Everyone knows that Black Friday is the day to score awesome deals, but frugal shopping expert Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot warns against holding out on making all of your big purchases that day. "While Black Friday is a great time to score deep discounts on electronics and entertainment items, other categories can be purchased during other times of the year at even better prices," she says. "Sales follow a seasonal calendar—as an example, spring is a great time to buy winter apparel because retailers are clearing inventory to make way for warm weather clothing."

大家都知道黑色星期五那天可以买到一些非常划算的东西,但节俭购物专家、RetailMeNot旗下网站The Real Deal高级编辑特雷·博吉(Trae Bodge)提醒,不要把所有重要采购都放到那一天。她说:“虽然黑色星期五那一天是享受电子产品和娱乐产品大幅折扣的大好时机,但其他门类产品可以在一年中的其他时段以更优惠的价格买到。特价是有季节性的,比如春季适合买冬装,因为那时候商家要清空库存,为暖和天的服装腾出地方。”

Taking Advantage of Loyalty Program Discounts

利用客户忠诚计划提供的折扣

Being a loyal customer can win your brownie points with major companies—or even give you a break on fees and services. However, not all of them will actually save you money, Kuehner says. "It’s the perception that loyalty gives you a better deal," she explains. "I was recently helping someone with their budget, and when I suggested shopping around for insurance, they axed the suggestion quickly, saying they get a discount for being a long-time customer, so it would be cheaper than anything around. They were wrong — they could get the same coverage elsewhere for almost $100 per month less." Her advice? "Shop around for insurance, and save the loyalty for your family and friends."

作为忠诚客户,你可以在大公司获得积分,甚至在手续费、服务方面享受价格减免。但屈纳说,并不是这一切都真的就会让你省钱。她说:“忠诚度让你获得更大优惠有时只是你的一厢情愿。最近我帮人制定预算,当我建议他们在选保险的时候货比三家时,他们打断话头,表示作为长期客户可以享受折扣,所以比其他家的都会便宜。他们错了,同样的保险在其他地方差不多一个月可以省下100美元。”她的建议?“选保险时货比三家,把忠诚留给家人和朋友吧。”

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