Frugality is a virtue – but how many people can actually claim to possess it? Shopping can be a tempting pastime, especially with more and more people seeking refuge in retail therapy. During these economically trying times, however, keeping a lid on spending is a good idea. Here are a few tips for shopping on a budget.
Create a budget and stick to it.
It’s impossible to shop on a budget without creating one first. Though it may seem difficult at first, identifying the amount of money available for shopping is actually quite simple. To create a budget plan, start by listing all income revenue, and then subtract all expenses for the month. The remainder is the money earmarked for shopping. Of course, more important than the creation ofa budget is the ability to stick to it. Make sure you take note of the budget and avoid spending more than what is allotted.
Make a shopping list before heading out.
Staying frugal is easy when no distractions are present, but the moment you head to the mall or the grocery, all those flashing lights and “sale” signs could easily lead you astray. To prevent this from happening, never leave the house without a shopping list. Going into a store or the grocery with a clear plan minimizes the chance of you going off and making other unnecessary purchases.
Most people take this to mean avoiding the malls altogether, but temptation can come in other forms. Stop receiving product catalogs and stop visiting websites that constantly promote the products you might be interested in. Some companies now send emails about their latest products, sales, and more. Block these emails and protect yourself from temptation. You might even want to stop visiting forums about your favorite products.
Follow the 30-day rule.
Most financial experts recommend creating a wants versus needs list, but even then you may find it difficult to curb shopaholic tendencies. Create a 30-day list, wherein all your wants (and even needs, unless they are basic requirements) should be listed with the date included. You cannot buy any item on the list until after the thirty days are up; this is designed to prevent impulse purchases. Some people even discover that the urge to purchase the item is gone once the thirty days are up. It’s definitely a good way to stay within your budget.
Compare prices online.
With e-commerce growing daily, it is no longer a shock that there are more and more savings to be had by buying online. One thing that makes shopping online a lot more helpful is the ability to compare prices quickly and easily across different websites. In fact, you may even compare online prices with prices in brick and mortar stores.
Visit outlet stores.
Though not always an option, depending on what you’re shopping for, outlet stores can be a good way to save money and stay within your budget. Products are sold at a more affordable price, and so buyers can look for cheaper alternatives through these outlet stores.
Cut out coupons.
The popularity of coupons has gotten a good boost with the presence of shows focusing on coupon experts and how they manage to save a significant amount on their grocery shopping. For really tight budgets, shopping with the help of coupons can spell the difference between staying on track or going bust. You may also visit websites that specialize on coupon use for more tips and information.
Use cash instead of credit or debit cards.
There’s something about the use of cash that really grounds a shopper. Often times, swiping plastic makes the buyer feel like he or she isn’t really spending. Use cash and you’ll be able to stick to your budget a lot more easily. When using cash, you can actually see when the money runs out. This way, it becomes a lot more difficult to spend on impulse purchases or make unnecessary additions to your cart. Leave the credit and debit cards at home because having these at your beck and call can lead to temptation.
Save up for bigger purchases.
Events like weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays require gifts – and these gifts don’t always fit into your budget. Be ready for these additional expenses by saving a portion of your budget regularly. Then when the time comes, these unexpected expenses can be handled without taking a cut out of your budget.
Take note of seasonal changes.
When it comes to clothes, most stores will hold sales before the new season’s collection comes in. You can wait for these annual sales before purchasing any new clothes. The same tip can be applied to food. Buying seasonal fruits is cheaper and easier than looking for imported ones at the grocery.
Although these tips won’t necessarily fit into every lifestyle, you can tweak and adapt as necessary to make them work for you. The most important thing to remember is that shopping with a budget entails not just a lifestyle change, but also a mental adjustment. Focus on a financial goal and you’ll be motivated to stick to your budget.
About Author: Jamie Cody is a writer for centernetworks.comand often writes about technology and reviews on various services and products online like bluehost. And for those who are searching for hosting providers, they have shared hosting with free setup, unlimited disk space and domain included.