From gas to groceries to clothes to electronic goods, it seems as if everything is getting more expensive these days. However, there are many easy ways to stretch your dollar especially if you have limited options. So here are some easy ways to shop smart.
1. Buy used
Buying previously enjoyed clothes, books and toys from garage sales and thrift stores are some easy ways to save money and shop smart. Visit goodwill stores and you will actually start enjoying the process when you see how far you can stretch your dollars and get a great bargain in the process.
2. Do your homework
An easy way to shop smart on small and large purchases is to compare prices at various retailers. These days, it is easy to do so, especially on big ticket items. You can also compare features and reviews before buying the item for less. Price comparison apps like ShopSavvy helps you know about every online sale there is.
3. Smart grocery shopping tip-use a weekly meal plan!
The easiest way to shop smart for groceries is to shop for them just once a week. This can help save time and gas but you need to be organized and make weekly meal plans. Meal plans can help you minimize food waste, reduce dinner time stress and also help you maintain a varied and a balanced diet. There are many online weekly meal planners which give awesome recipes and customized meal plans to suit your diet and lifestyle. Many of them also give you weekly grocery shopping lists to help you get ready for the week ahead.
4. Use grocery shopping lists
A shopping list helps prevent temptation of buying unnecessary items. But before you sit down to make grocery lists, take a look your pantry, freezer and refrigerator and make sure you use up all existing food items. This way, you can shop for the right quantities.
5. Share with neighbors/friends
If you have memberships to wholesale clubs like COSCO etc, you could consider sharing the grocery with family/ friends. Often, the items available in bulk are wasted so you can reduce this unnecessary waste by sharing them. Remember: buying in bulk is not always cheap especially if you end up throwing away half of the items each time. Sometimes, buying smaller quantities can actually be cheaper for certain items.
6. Buy local, seasonal items
Buying local, seasonal produce is not only a cheaper way of shopping; you are also assured of freshness. This practice ensures that your food travels a lot less to get to your plate and you also support local business. Shopping at local farmers markets also helps ensure that your food remains fresh longer and that can you save money.
7. Grow/make your own
If you have the time and inclination, you can have a kitchen garden and grow your own produce. This is a smart way of saving tons of money. If you are creative, you can also design and make your clothes, curtains, bags etc. These can help you save tons of money and who knows, you could even make money by selling the food/items you grow/make.
8. Don’ be fooled by sales
Often, the so called smart and savvy shoppers are fooled by annual sales where prices are actually jacked up tremendously and then marked down. So always ask yourself if you are going to need an item which is on sale and will be actually using it. Be it food, clothes or electronics; take a look at your existing items. Do avoid repeat purchases simply because an item is marked down.
9. Buy generic
Many things like food, medicines and cosmetics etc cost a lot less when you buy store/generic brands instead of national brands. You can save nearly 30% of money on generic brands, depending on what you buy.
10. Shop quickly-do not linger
When you linger in a grocery store or a mall, the chances of you spending more on unwanted items go up. Shop with a list and shop only those items you need. If you happen to shop in a favorite store, devote little time to it and spend that time for shopping only for the items you need.
11. Save for monthly splurges
When trying to save money, you need not deprive yourself. What you can do instead is put aside a small weekly fund for monthly splurges. For example, to go for movies or a dinner once a month, set aside a couple of dollars each day and soon you will have enough to have a nice evening out.
12. Avoid hasty purchases
In case you are not sure about a big ticket item, you need not decide immediately. Think about the purchase and do your homework, talk to friends if needed. Consider your long term goals aside from your needs and wants. For example, if you have been saving for a big screen TV, you need not buy a small music system in the mean time.
13. Consider your emotions and feelings
Often, how you feel makes you buy unwanted items. So consider your feelings and avoid shopping when you are feeling sad, hungry, irritated etc. If these feelings overwhelm you, consider talking to a friend or go for a long walk.
14. Smart shopping tips for the holidays
Shopping for the holidays can lead to a great deal of financial strain on one’s annual budget. The best way to shop smart for holidays is to make lists based per-person. You can also start shopping earlier during the year so as to avoid rushed decisions. Shopping after the holidays can also give you great deals.
15. Use your credit cards for purchases
Many credit cards offer attractive discounts and you can redeem rewards later on for attractive discounts and deals.
Try these 15 easy ways to shop smart on groceries, clothes and other purchases and save tons of money.