Shopping is inevitable for everyone of us and can be a burden when overspending habits – consciously or not – happen. There are several ways of cutting down on additional costs when shopping. Here are a few tips to help you save money and relieve you from financial stress.
Plan Your Trips and Stick to a Budget
Know how many times you hit the shops within a month and set a routine as to what you purchase with each trip. You should also know how much you spend on these goods. So the next time you are at the shops, jot down prices to use to prepare your next prudent budget.
You may want to shop for non-perishable (eg, household cleaning agents, toiletries, stationery) items once a month and perishable (vegetables, meats, cold beverages) items once a week. With your established routine, set a budget with the cash you already have (for the month) and separate them into envelopes. Label your envelopes and use them as you go for your trips. This will help you stick to your budget.
Shop with a Shopping List
Take a quick inventory check around the house and list down your shopping list before you leave the house. Stick to the list and cross off the items that are in your trolley as you go along. This will curb you from wandering around aimlessly and picking up goods that you do not need.
Use Discounts and Coupons
Look out for good buys through discounts and coupons of the things that you do need. You may want to consider buying in bulk if prices are low. This will save you money in the future.
Compare Prices and Take a Look at Price per Unit
Sometimes your normal brands jack up prices but since you are so used to buying them, you do not realise. Take a look at alternate brands. You may find that they offer better/similar quality produce for lower prices.
In fact, packaging and branding often result in price increases, so take a look at less attractively packaged products. They may be cheaper not because they are of poor quality but just because the company does not indulge in extensive promotional material for its goods.
Also look at prices per unit instead of price per bag or package. This will help you calculate your real expenditure on your purchases.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can reduce price per unit, especially when there are offers. More importantly, it would save you time and petrol which is expensive. Stock up your kitchen to minimise shopping lists in the future.
Establish a Shopping Pool
Find friends or neighbours who share a the same schedule and budgeting sentiments with you. You may want to alternate trips to the shops and save on petrol. In fact, you may even find yourselves collectively buying in bulk and saving even more cash.
Shop After a Meal
Shop after you have eated. This way tidbits and other packed lunches would seen less enticing. This is better for your budget and for your health.
Shop During Non-Peak Times
Shop when the crowds are sparse so you do not end up wasting time waiting in line or roaming round and round in the congestion. Crowds can be stressful and you may end up shopping to release your irritation.
The longer you wait in the cashier’s line, the higher the the chance of you picking up last minute chocolate bars and candy stashed by the check out counter.
Shop without the Kids
Shopping with children can be frustrating when they know how to express their wants. You may end up buying plenty of treats that are not on your list. If you do have to bring your children along, set your ground rules and tell them in advance.
You may want to choose a no-treat trip or a budgeted-treat trip. Stick to your plan once you arrive at the shops.
It would be a good idea to teach your children about budgeting so they feel empathetic towards your spending habits and will eventually help you look out for good offers. Children often like to help and feel important in decision making. In the long run, you would also be cultivating healthy spending habits and curbing their own financial problems – something they would be grateful for when they grow up.
Pay with Cash or a Debit Card
Lastly, use the cash in your envelope to foot the bill. If you are not an envelope person, use your debit card. Do not use your credit card. You may swipe more than you realise and may even forget about making the payment. In the end, you will end up incurring interest, which will cause your budget to run haywire.
Take Shopping Seriously
Yes, shopping is fun, but it is also a serious issue when it comes to spending. Hopefully these tips will help alleviate financial burden when you hit the shops. With more less money spent while shopping, you would be able to save more for your children’s education or invest in profitable investment instruments.