Being a Smart Shopper

31
May

Shopping is a hard class to pass. Its curriculum is almost impossible at times, as it requires a delicate balancing act between wants, needs, and the money that makes it all available. The easiest way to fail the class is the hardest lesson of the class. It can be summed up in one word: Overspending. In a world that offers consumers everything they want and need, it’s difficult to pass up the offers that lurk around every corner of every isle. Out of control spending can easily turn product availability into a curse that drains the budget and leaves many people in danger of missing bill payments.

Intelligence saves money. Here are a few techniques I’ve learned to shop smarter and make sure that I give my family everything it needs to function properly and be happy. Every family is different.

Distinguish between a want and a need

I’ve made shopping mistakes in my life. Some of those mistakes were made because I began my shopping trips with the false assumption that a bargain is always a need. This deadly shopping assumption reads like this: If a product is on sale, my family needs it. If I were taking a multiple choice quiz and marked this statement true, I would be wrong. Many bargains are marked down to entice shoppers to make impulse buys without thinking through the actual necessity of the product. It’s amazing how much a person “needs” when the price is low enough. In the past I’ve purchased items that I never knew I needed until I saw the price tag. The fact is that life is very pleasant when just the basics are available. Many of my needs are actually wants. Realizing this simple principle has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years

No impulse buys

If it’s not on my grocery list, I don’t buy it. I might go home, discuss the bargain or product with my family, and then go back to the store to take advantage of a deal, but I always consult someone else before buying a product that I think is a great deal. The watchful eye of my family keeps me wise and unselfish.

Carry only the amount you plan to spend

I don’t take excess cash to the grocery store and I never take a credit card to the grocery store anymore. It’s easy to make impulse buys or overstep my budget when I have excess cash. I work out a grocery list before I go to the store and this allows me to have an organized, well-thought out budget for every shopping trip. It means I never have to worry about going off the deep end and buying things that aren’t on the list. To shop smarter, I estimate my grocery bill and take that amount on my shopping trip.

Buy generic

Generic isn’t always better, but it’s always cheaper. In a tough economic climate, I’m going to buy generic products instead of brand name products in order to save money. To me this is smart. Most of the time generic products work well enough to save money. That’s my goal.

Buy in bulk

If your family used a lot of one item, it is cheaper to buy in bulk. A bulk buy is cheaper than smaller purchases. Examples of items that I buy in bulk are paper towels and toilet paper. Those items are always going to be necessary in my home and if there’s a bigger package of either available, I grab the big package every time.

Good Luck

Shopping is a tough class to pass. It takes careful study and many hours of testing to get it right. Along the way, bad purchases will be made and money will be wasted. The key is to continue researching ways to save money and improve judgment. Eventually we all graduate and become masters at what we do. Even a seasoned shopping veteran can learn a thing or two, though, so it’s best to continuously find new ways to save. In recent years the internet has become a new outlet for coupons and tips on saving. You never know where your next valuable lesson will come from, so keep your eyes and mind open. The truly smart student never stops looking for knowledge.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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