Shopping. Some people love it, some people hate it, but the outcome – something new to wear, play with, watch, or eat – is what we all like. While spending a little money here and there is okay, if you make a lot of impulse purchases while you shop, it can be a big time budget buster. So here are tips to save while you shop:
1. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it
The heading was originally going to be ‘Make a list and stick to it’, but I think this one is more clear. Don’t purchase an item if you don’t need it. And remember, even if something is on sale, it’s not a good deal if you’re spending money on something you don’t need!
2. Use coupons / promo codes
Couponing is getting easier and easier these days. Sure, you can still clip paper coupons if you want to. But there are other more efficient options now: coupon apps, websites with coupons, and promo codes for first-time or specific types of purchases. My grocery store also offers a rewards card that can be scanned and provides coupon savings, instead of having to search through paper flyers and cut out coupons. Not to mention, just by using the free rewards program, I can get gas cheaper at a certain gas station. Every little bit helps when trying to save money!
3. Pay with cash
If you are easily tempted while you shop, leave your credit or debt card at home. Determine what you can afford to spend and withdraw that amount in cash. When it’s gone, you’re done shopping.
4. Compare prices
If you have a smart phone, the easiest way to compare prices is with a QR or bar code scanning app. Otherwise, check websites or stores for the best prices. If you and your partner have the time, you could always go to different stores and compare prices the old fashioned way – calling each other. Doing your price research can save you a significant amount of money.
5. Practice avoidance
Don’t tempt yourself by going to stores where you know you don’t need anything, but just like to shop there. Avoid end caps at grocery stores, along with paying inside the gas station (pay at the pump instead). Doing so will help you reduce nickel and diming your wallet to death with things you don’t need or can buy somewhere else in bulk for less.
6. Unsubscribe or delete
If you receive constant emails from department or other stores marketing their amazing “deals”, unsubscribe asap. Or, is there an app that your credit card is attached to that makes it too easy for you to shop or spend money? Delete the app and/or remove your card from the app.
Remember, it doesn’t take major lifestyle changes to save money; just make sure you have a plan to avoid overspending while you shop.
If you are still trying to pay off credit cards from previous purchases, a Debt Management Plan may be your answer. A DMP can help you save money by paying off your debt faster and typically reduced interest rates. Call us for your FREE financial counseling session at 888.577.2227 or click to GET STARTED ONLINE.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.