For many of us, juggling finances is no easy task. Keeping up with a mortgage or rent, family expenses, utility bills, while paying off school loans or car loans can leave our souls and bank accounts drained. The cost of living can be tough to manage, but there are ways to cut costs and become a more savvy shopper, leaving more dollars in our bank accounts and room to breathe at the end of every month. After all, isn’t the goal to live healthy, productive and enjoyable lives? Here a few tips that I’ve gathered together to shop smarter and make every dollar count.
Know what you want
Keeping a list of what you want is a great way to curb impulse buying. Keep a list on your fridge of what you need to buy. When you’re ready to go shopping, you’ll know exactly what to purchase and you won’t waste gas making multiple trips if you forget the items you need. Everything you need to buy will already be on your list.
Know what is a good price
Just because an item is on sale doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bargain. Check around and price shop at several stores. Conduct internet research and see if you can find a better deal online.
Stock up, but be selective about what you stock up on
If a product has a longer shelf life and you know you’re going to need it at some point and it’s on sale, stock up. Shampoo, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and food items such as rice, pastas, canned legumes, canned food items and oatmeal may be items you may want to stock up on if you have the shelf space.
Learn to recognize a sales pitch and resist it
If you’re prone to chasing shiny objects, the opportunity to buy whatever is being pitched at you will come around again. Wait to jump on your impulses to buy. Consult with family or friends first before making an emotional purchase and ask yourself if it is something you really need and would use.
Think through the lifetime of your purchase
Do you really need another pair of jeans? Do you really need another coffee maker or another pair of running shoes? A friend who is a millionaire and a retiree at the age of 39 is a minimalist. He has two pairs of shoes, five shirts, five pairs of pants, five sets of underwear and socks and lives in a home with no furniture. When he would hold gatherings in his home, he would ask friends to bring folding chairs. He travels the world and encourages others to experience the freedom of being a minimalist. If you’re going to use it, buy it. If it’s going to create more clutter in your home, don’t buy it.
Remember, not all purchases are objects
Comparison shop cell phone and other services. Instead of going with an expensive cell phone service, there are other wireless plans out there that may cost a lot less. Turn off extra services you may not necessarily need. If you have an extra landline that costs you $12 a month and you are managing just fine with your cell phone, discontinue the service. There may be additional features you may be paying for on your plan such as unlimited phone calls to Canada which you may not be using.
Ask for a better price
Many stores will offer a 10% discount on products with slight defects. Asking never hurts and you have everything to gain.
Last, but certainly not least, look for coupons and promotional codes before handing over your credit card. Coupons can be found on deal sites and many online stores.