And because of this, efficient or smart shopping is one of the best ways to reign in our budget and save money. So in this article, I've compiled a list of shopping tips that can be useful for saving money.
- Have a check list of what to buy - Having a list is very important. For one, forgetting an item and having to go back to the store to buy it is very inconvenient. And we might end up having to buy it from a nearer store at a higher price.
- Know the monthly budget - We can't save if we don't know how much we can really afford to spend. The basic idea here is to take our monthly income and subtract all the bills we have to pay. What we're left with is the maximum we should spend on shopping and groceries.
- Separate wants from needs - chocolate, beer, junk food, as well as most snacks and all other luxury items aren't needs. We should buy them only if we have left over budget after buying necessities like food, toiletries, and other important household items.
- Price watch - Know which store offers the most affordable prices. But we should list down the prices of all the items we need. Each store has it's own pricing strategy, and may be able to offer better deals on some items. The key is to refer to our shopping list and determine which store will cost less overall.
- Consider the cost of transportation - A store might offer the lowest prices but if it's too far away or difficult to get to, the cost of transportation might be more than what we saved. And even if it doesn't, going to the second-most affordable store might end up saving us more over all.
- Watch out for sales and promos - But only for sales of everyday necessities and grocery items. They don't regularly go on sale (unlike clothes and gadgets, which can go on sale quarterly). Buying a luxury or non-essential item should be done only if there is left over budget - even if it's on sale.
- Be alert to price increases - Not all stores raise prices at the same time. Some may still be selling the older, lower-priced stock. If you have time, look at the other stores before buying if you notice a price increase.
- Buy out of season - If possible (Fiesta hams after Christmas, air-conditioners during cold months). But not for food items - they can actually cost more.
- Make sure the product meets our needs - If we buy a cheaper item and end up having to replace it more often, it might end up costing us more in the long run.
- Exercise discipline - saving is primarily a matter of discipline. Once we've found the most cost-efficient way to shop we should stick to it.
Hopefully this article helped you to save more or stretch your budget to meet your needs.
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photo credit: @Jyonnnn via photopin cc