Smart shoppers usually establish a monthly purchasing budget, which helps avoid overspending. Yet, despite efforts to keep groceries and miscellaneous shopping within a certain dollar amount, people have a tendency of spending more than necessary. Consider the following tips for smart shopping and staying within an allotted budget.
• Plan Spending – Shopping with a list in-hand is great for staying within budget. Prior to leaving the house, jot down the items you intend to buy. Once you arrive at the store, only purchase items on the list. Avoid splurging or impulse buying. On average, this can increase the grocery bill $20 – $50.
• Beware of Clearance Sales – Even though storewide sales and clearances offer great deals on merchandise, sales may also prompt over-spending. Some shoppers cannot pass on a good sale. On the other hand, stores have sales practically every other weekend. If you begin a habit of shopping every single sale, you will spend a ton of money on frivolous or unnecessary items.
• Buy Generic – Buying generic grocery items is perfect for saving a few extra bucks. Some buyers believe that name brand is better. Yet, this is not always the case. For the most part, both products are quality. The only difference is that shoppers pay more for a brand name product. Accept the challenge of buying all generic products on your next grocery shopping trip, and compare the bill to previous grocery bills.
• Shop Discount Stores – Some shoppers attach a negative stigma to secondhand shopping. Before discounting the ideal of buying merchandise from a consignment shop or thrift shop, browse the selections available. In some cases, you may find a nice buy with the original price tag still attached. Yard sales and flea markets may also offer great deals on household items, electronics, etc.
• Avoid Emotional Shopping – When emotionally upset, some people make a beeline to the mall or nearest shopping center. Emotionally shopping is just as destructive as emotional eating. Overeating when upset may leave you feeling physically uncomfortable, but overspending when upset can greatly impact finances.
• Shop Alone – Shoppers generally shop with other people in tow – children, spouses, friends, etc. If possible, leave children at home while grocery shopping. Children will ask for every sweat treat and expensive toy imaginable. Furthermore, if shopping with a girlfriend, the temptation to “keep up” will result in spending more than your budget.
• Bring Cash Only – Shopping with a credit card, debit card, or checkbook makes overspending easy because these payment methods serve as backup. On the other hand, use cash for purchases, and leave additional payment methods at home.