Shopping is a part of our lives. Even those who are following a frugal lifestyle can only do so much with the DIY stuff. They need to buy raw materials and things in the thrift shops. They also need to go to the grocery to buy meat and produce to fee the whole family. Urban gardening can only do so much so they still need to go to the local grocery to buy the stuff that is needed around the house.
If you want to boost your savings, one of the things that you need to learn is smart spending. Whether you want to pay off your debts, want to save up for an expensive purchase or you simply just want to be more financially responsible, this is a must for you. Since there is no way you can eliminate shopping from your life, you should find out how you can maximize your expenses.
How to make smart spending choices
Making smart spending choices involve some planning. If you want to be smart about something, you naturally want to prepare for it. There are various ways to save money while shopping and you can start by following these steps.
Step 1: Create a budget.
The reason why you have to save on your shopping is because you want to live within your means. The best way to do that is to create a budget. You will get your income and make sure that your expenses can be met – especially your priority bills and payments.
Step 2: Know how much you are allowed to spend.
Through your budget, you should be able to identify how much you can save on various shopping lists. Whether it is for food, groceries, household items and clothing, you should put a limit to how much you can buy in a particular period.
Step 3: Make a list before a shopping errand.
Sticking to your budget is tough because all of us can easily succumb to the temptation of impulse buying. To make sure that you do not fall prey to it, make a list of things that you have to buy before you go to the mall, grocery or market. More importantly, make a list of what you need to buy.
Step 4: Research on the best deals.
There are websites where you can make product comparisons like Findthebest.com or Pricegrabber.com. Visit these sites to find the best deals for your purchases. This is most helpful for the one time purchases that you make. Take note that you should not concentrate on the cheapest product. Get the one with the best quality that your limited budget can afford.
Step 5: Think before you buy.
Despite all of these preparations, you have to make sure that you still think before you buy. When you get to the store, you could still find a better deal that you did not find in your research. It is alright to buy from new brands but make sure that you get only a trial product. Do not buy in bulk if you are not sure that you will like it.
Tips to shop and save smartly
Even when you follow the steps mentioned above, there are other tips that will help you save more on your shopping errands. Here are some of them.
Cut coupons. Some people do not want to burden themselves with coupons because they do not think it is worth it. Well here is the thing, any saving that you can get is always worth it. Even if you only get small discounts, coupons are still worth every effort that you will allot for it. If you use it often, the small amounts will add up and become a significant saving in the end.
Buy in bulk. Most frugal families buy in bulk then store them in freezers just to save. Not only will you get great discounts by buying in quantity, you will also save on gas because you need fewer trips to the store. Just store what you buy in the freezer and you can cut down your shopping down to two or once a month errand.
Do not be blinded by flashy sales and promotions. If you see sales and promotions, you need to think about it before you avail of the discount. Remember that buying something you do not need is still a waste – no matter how great the discount may be. If you do not need it, the sale should not matter to you.
Even if you can afford it, do not buy it. Some people mistake their ability to purchase something as the only factor to consider in smart spending. It is true that if you cannot afford it, you should not buy it. However, it is also wiser to not spend on something unnecessarily even when you can afford it. Just like in discounts, the small purchases that you waste can grow into a big amount in the long run.
Inquire about return and refund policies. This is very important because it will keep you from wasting money on purchases that do not have the quality that you need. Make sure you know the return and refund policies of the store that you buy from.