I noticed I started doing this terrible habit about the time my first child was born. In my sleep-deprived haze I realized I would throw completely random items in my shopping basket that SOUNDED like a good idea at the time, and then I’d get home and wonder why I thought I needed three cans of pomegranate-scented shaving gel to begin with. Sure, I’d eventually use them, but there was really no reason to have spent the money on three cans right then and there. So now, after I get everything on my list and have wandered through a few more aisles and am ready to go check out, I stop and go through every item in my basket and ask myself these questions:
Was this item on my list? Yes? Was it on the list because we needed it? Yes? We’re good.
Do I really need this? For example, sure, lipstick is on sale for a crazy deal right now but do I NEED a fourth shade of brown lipstick? It sounds thrifty to preemptively buy something when it’s on sale, but if I’m not going to run out of lipstick for another six months, do I need to buy it right now or can I wait for another sale in the future?
Is this something the kids randomly threw in the basket while I wasn’t looking? Back it goes.
If I’m buying this because I had coupons, did I bring the coupons with me? If I forgot the coupons, or if my infant ate the coupons when I wasn’t paying attention, is this something I really need right this moment or can I wait to buy it until next time, when I remember to bring my coupons?
If this is something I decided to buy because someone else (friend, family member) had it and it looked neat, can I borrow it from that person first to see if it even works for us before buying my own? Can I get a used one in good condition for cheaper elsewhere?
It’s amazing how much you can put back and never miss just by pausing to think for a moment before checking out! What other questions do you ask yourself that help keep your impulsive spending in check?
Spring is coming and that means that floral patterns and bright happy pastels are on their way to store racks everywhere. After a cold, bleak, winter a fun shopping trip is in order. Here are a few tips on how to keep your spring time shopping frenzy in check.
Know Your Sizes
If you know your clothing sizes before stepping into a store, you will spend less time in the fitting room. It is also unlikely that you will buy an item of clothing that is ill fitting. It’s also less likely you will fall in love with a purchase that isn’t in your size, because you will walk right by it on your way to finding your size.
It’s also helpful to have the sizes of your family members on hand. If you find something that they may like, you will know if it will fit them or not.
When shopping for clothes you want to make sure that nothing distracts you from the clothes you are considering buying. Noticing the forest growing from your legs or the squid you have in a head lock can and will distract from the clothes you are attempting to pick out. This is particularly true when you are trying to buy items such as swim suits, shorts, skirts, or tank tops. Nothing will look good if you are focused on hair being where it shouldn’t be.
Know Where You Are Going
Knowing which stores you want to peruse is key to a healthy shopping experience. If there are a number of stores you want to go to, is there a strip mall or shopping center that has them all in close location? Is it close to where you plan to eat lunch? At the very least you can map a driving route that will cost you less gas money.
I love to shop through Amazon.com. They have a wide selection of products to choose from. That said, I still don’t like to spend more than I have to. That’s why I have found a few tricks to saving money when shopping through Amazon.
Coupons are not just print outs for groceries anymore. Amazon.com has coupons available on their site. When you log in, go to the top of the page, and click on today’s deals. Not only will you find those things that are on sale by percentage, you will also find coupons for electronics, household items, and more. Take advantage of these tools. You may get what you want for less!
Build Up Gift Certificates
I love to get free Amazon gift cards. I have gotten them from Swagbucks.com , Zoombucks.com , 4loot.com , and Bing.com . Recently I found out that I don’t have to save the codes in my email account and only use them when checking out. Instead I go to my account, then to my payment information. After that I choose “Apply a gift card to your account” under gift cards and it’s saved into my account for future use. This way I know that the codes won’t get lost, deleted, or stolen because they are already applied to my account. It’s also a great way to save up for birthday or Christmas gifts.
Many products have a buy used option giving a description of the condition of the item you are looking at as well as cost and shipping and handling. Often in spite of the shipping and handling costs, the products I buy used through Amazon are just as good as a brand new counterpart and still the better deal.
Last, but not least, I look for items that have free shipping. Some items only give free shipping if you have spent a certain amount of money. You can also reduce the cost of shipping by choosing a less expensive shipping option. This usually means that you will be getting the item a little bit later, so give yourself plenty of time before important events to receive the item. Speaking of shipping, when sending a gift it’s cheapest to send the order directly to your friend or relative. Though back to free shipping, there is Amazon Prime (soon to be $99 a year) which buys you free shipping for the whole year (plus some other perks) but currently that’s out of my budget. With some careful online shopping I can skip Amazon Prime and still find free shipping.