Smart Spending

11 Useful Shopping Tips To Help You Save Money, Time, and Frustration

Whether you’re heading to the grocery store or going to the mall, temptations can be everywhere. For instance, you might be hungry and end up overspending on food you normally wouldn’t buy. These tips can help you save extra money and take a more focused approach to shopping.

Create a Shopping List

Having a list of what you plan to buy can save you time and money. For one, when you get to the store, you won’t have to search around to figure out what you want or need. Instead, you’ll be able to prevent making excessive purchases for fun. And you won’t be able to justify making excuses for buying items you don’t need at all.

Try the Pickup Option

If going into the store only makes you want to grab everything in sight, then the pickup option could fit your preferences. One store that offers this option is Wal-Mart. The idea is simple. Just order online and pick up your groceries at a store near you. Be sure to follow the pickup instructions when you go.

Avoid Using Credit Cards

Once you make one purchase with a credit card, it can become an addictive habit. For example, you may tell yourself you’re only going to pay for one grocery store trip. But then you could start doing this too regularly. Instead, try paying with cash. Or you can set aside money each week or month specifically for groceries, clothes, and other wants and needs.

Buy What You’ll Actually Eat

At first glance, you may think you’ll eat whatever you buy. But something can look delicious at the grocery store and when you get home you realize something’s wrong. Maybe you don’t want to cook it or it might look less appealing in your pantry than it does on grocery store shelves. Or maybe you bought ingredients to cook a meal only to realize you don’t enjoy cooking. No matter the reason, when you buy items you actually want to eat, are healthy, and that fill you up, you won’t feel as though something is lacking. If you do feel like you’re lacking nutrition or taste, you’ll be more likely to go back to the grocery store to buy food that does have the nutrition and taste you’re looking for. This means spending extra money. And this was the problem in the first place.

Shop Alone

The person you shop with can be your partner in crime. Although this buddy may be fun to spend time with, this person won’t inspire you to reach your shopping goals. Rather than put yourself in a financial place you’ll likely regret later on, it may be best to go it alone. This can encourage you to keep your mind on the task at hand and stay responsible.

Bring a Buddy if Necessary

On the other hand, you might have a problem with shopping alone. In particular, you might be the type of person who can benefit from having a responsible shopper watch you. All you have to do is think of someone who fits this description and ask them to come with you. This person can put anything back that isn’t on your list so you don’t overspend.

Clip Coupons

Coupons may seem like an old-fashioned method of saving money but they can help. You can clip coupons when you buy online or try finding some by looking through the newspaper. According to a study, a typical household can save anywhere from $122 per month to $1,465 annually. While you may only notice you’re saving a few dollars at a time, it all adds up. Not only this, you can educate yourself on how to coupon by reading finance and coupon blogs and potentially save additional money.

Go at a Comfortable Time

If you go shopping at a time when you’re feeling stressed, you might grab whatever you see without thinking. This means you might have just wasted your money. And this will probably cause you to be in a worse mood later on. Alternatively, try going at a time when you have peace of mind and you can think clearly.

Don’t Shop When Hungry

Going grocery shopping while hungry can become one of your biggest regrets. Consequently, when you see anything that looks tasty to you, you’ll be much more likely to grab it. In lieu of this, making sure you’re full when you grocery shop can be a smart way to avoid impulse purchases.

Buy Sale Items

Becoming more observant, you may start to notice that stores offer customers some great sales. If you see something that’s on sale and you can use it, then this could be a smart buy. For example, everyone can benefit from eating healthy food items that are on sale such as fruits and vegetables. As long as they’re not overly ripe or unappealing, then be sure to make the best decision for you. Besides this, you could be shopping for casual or work clothes. In this case, you’re shopping for more practical reasons so you might not want to be too picky. This can be a time to make a wise decision and choose the sale item.

Resist Temptations

Having extra money to spend can make you want to buy whatever you feel like buying at the moment. Rather than make impulsive decisions, try finding ways to deal with this problem. For instance, you can choose to only bring a certain amount of cash with you so you don’t overspend. If you do overspend, you may regret this decision. This can lead to frustration and many sleepless nights. Making poor shopping decisions and worrying about money isn’t worth all of this trouble.

Given these points, shopping can be easier when you know how to control yourself in a way that’s not overly strict. Instead of giving up on buying your favorite items, try saving up for what you really want. To get started, try sending money to a savings account on a regular basis.