Most people enjoy shopping, even if it’s just to pick up a few things they need. Some actually love the experience, savoring every moment in a store or favorite boutique. No matter how you shop, it is easy to overspend. To avoid stretching your budget to the breaking point, take a few precautionary steps to keep spending within limits and escape the common pitfalls of crafty marketing ploys and attractive store displays.
Plan your Purchase
If you don’t need an actual list, at least clarify in your mind what you are shopping for. If you plan to go to the supermarket for milk and eggs, avoid browsing other aisles for products you don’t need. When shopping at the mall, don’t window shop if you’re prone to temptation. Stick to the goal, and you can leave the store with what you came for.
Pay with Cash
Although we are getting closer to becoming a cashless society, many people still carry cash and prefer to shop that way. To limit spending, take just the amount of cash you will need for a specific store or vendor. Don’t carry credit cards or a debit card with you except for use in an emergency.
Avoid Shopping when Moody
Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry, thirsty, or bored. Emotional spending can take a big bite out of your budget, leaving you with later regrets. Some people shop when they get anxious or upset, as shopping can restore a sense of control and relaxation. Instead, plan your shopping trips at times when you are calm and have no special needs. You will be more likely to stick to your mental or physical shopping list and avoid overspending on spontaneous or mood-related purchases.
Don’t Make Shopping Social
It’s fun to shop with friends, but sometimes a well-intended shopping trip can become competitive or careless when you go with other people. Chances are you could spend more than you intended. If you want to make it a group event, remind yourself and possibly those with you of your shopping goals so you won’t be tempted or persuaded to buy additional items. Shopping with others can also lead to further driving time if they want to shop a more distant location or spending extra for a spa visit or pedicure.
Limit Luxury Purchases
To reduce unnecessary spending, review prior purchases to see where you can cut back. If you notice you’re buying lunch out or having gourmet coffee while shopping, stop doing those things to relieve pressure on the budget. Consider buying lower-cost items on staples like laundry soap or cooking oil to save money, and use restraint when purchasing non-essentials like snacks.
Whether electronic on your phone or paper in your wallet, coupons can save a bundle when you maximize usage. For example, some supermarkets pay double or triple discounts on certain coupons, so look for these in your area. Other stores give fuel perks for spending a certain amount on groceries. Switching prescriptions from a drugstore to a supermarket pharmacy may also render savings or discounts.
Take an eco-friendly shopping bag.
If you don’t already have a personal canvas shopping bag, consider getting one, and take it with you when you go shopping. Knowing that you have limited space in which to place the items you buy will help to control your selections. Taking just one bag, or two at the most, will ensure that you don’t overdo it at the store.
Shopping can be a fun and relaxing event. But it loses the enjoyment factor when you realize you have overspent. Start planning ahead and try steps like these to keep your budget under control.