Shop for Success
We all want to get more for less, right? But do you realize that certain shopping behaviours and practices may be major contributors to self-sabotage, and may be consistently keeping your shopping tallies a little higher than you’d like to see?
Here are some behaviours to adopt (or to correct) to make yourself a successful (and budget-friendly) shopper.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Did I mention you need to plan prior to a shopping trip? Planning is time-consuming, yes, but it also a bare necessity when it comes to setting and keeping a budget. Planning involves a myriad of steps too, including menu planning, researching flyers and sales and preparing lists.
A detailed planner will even consider things like times of day to visit stores, where to park and other things that can help to make their shopping experience more streamlined and accurate in terms of spending.
Set a Budget
This seems like an obvious step, but make sure that your budget is comprehensive. Include the items to purchase, but also cover things like gas, child care (if necessary) and travel time (if that factors into it).
Carry a Calculator
Are you like me, in the sense that mental math in the aisles has posed a major problem since about grade four?
Being able to measure where you are in the midst of the current act vs. what your allocated spending is can be a major contributor to staying on track. It is far easier to put things back on the shelves when you are at the store, rather than make another trip to return
This falls under planning, in a sense, but make sure to do a regular practice of conducting a home inventory, so that you can anticipate running out of things before you actually do.
Those last minute dashes out to the store can pave the way to unnecessary spending as you are in the store more often than you need to be. Similarly, you are likely shopping based on convenience at that point, as opposed to best price, which can also put a dent in your budget.
Never go Shopping on an Empty Stomach
Don’t underestimate the power of hunger when you are surrounded by food. You are only human, and wafting sights and smells of tempting food around you when you are vulnerable is only going to result in you spending more than you need to on unnecessary items.
Think of your list as your anchor. Use it as your guiding force through the aisles. Your budget has been allocated most likely based on the items on your list, so your best chance to staying on budgetary track is to follow that list exactly.
Cross items off as you get them, and make notes of sales, promotions or new items for sales etc. when you are in a store, so as to take advantage for next time.
Where is your Stop Sign?
There is shopping and there is browsing; be aware of the difference. Not only do you have to make a conscious decision before hitting the store about what you will take and what you leave on the shelves, you also need to decide at what point your shopping is done (hint, it’s not when you arrive in the parking lot).
Store checkouts (grocery and department stores in particular) pave the way to the checkout with oodles of temptation, from treats, to convenience items to glossy magazines.
Pick a physical point in the store when you no longer will add to your cart, and signal to yourself that your shopping and your spending are done.