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The way we spend our money can quite literally shape our future. It might not seem as drastic as the ability to control our future, but that’s exactly what our expenditures are when we use them appropriately. If all of this power can be harnessed simply from intelligent and wise spending, it makes perfect sense to get as much out of our purchases as possible. These five tips should make it easy for anyone to get a better handle of their finances and financial future.

Shop Around

A great example of a simple way to dramatically improve our spending power is in carefully choosing the places that we shop. Some people spend years of their lives going to grocery stores and retail outlets out of sheer habit or undeserved preference. Searching from store to store for the best prices and quality will almost certainly create more spending power and greatly diversify our options. Having a deep understanding of what various stores have to offer is highly recommended.

The Price of Quality

In some instances, the cheapest option will be far from the best. A great example of this can be explained by cheap paintbrushes: Brushes that cost a little bit more tend to last longer, produce a more consistent effect and are overall more comfortable to hold and use. Buying a cheap brush might seem like a good idea, but a higher quality brush will usually outperform and outlast a cheap alternative. The same can be said of many foods, forms of clothing and household goods. Quality often pays for itself if it is carefully selected, and so it is highly advised to understand the various levels of quality in whatever it is that is being purchased. That cheap pair of headphones might only last a week, but a small upgrade could easily last two or three times as long with more comfort and sound quality.

Alternatives and Branding

One of the worst offenders of being overpriced is the name-brand item. They exist all over the world and admittedly have their place and purpose. However, branded items often cost more than their alternatives. A store-brand item costs less to produce when advertising and other expenses are taken out of the equation. If the name-brand option has no true advantage, it is a fool’s decision to purchase it over a lower priced alternative. While some name brands produce fantastic quality and are worth the extra money, these are often quite specific cases.

Discounts and Clearance

Discounts are a fantastic way of leveraging more spending power with minimal effort. Finding things that are on sale or have coupons available can save plenty of money, and focusing on discounted items can easily become a way of life. The same is true for clearance items and seasonal sales: There is often far more incentive in saving money through specific purchases than there is in shopping through impulse. Wisdom is its own reward.

Timing in the Long Run

What all of these tips tend to point to is an understand of long-term saving and a keen interest in timing purchases. If something is going to be on sale next month, waiting might not be an option if its important. But if it can wait, the habit of waiting can be worth a fortune if applied to many purchases over the span of a lifetime. Being financially wise is all about recognizing that next week and next month are connected, and the desire to utilize money in the most effective way possible is a step towards true financial savvy.