Shopping is a must, and some of us can get carried away if we’re not careful.
Then again, most of us don’t even realize what we are doing until it comes down to the last few days before our next payday, and you’re scratching your head.
“What in the world did we buy?!”
That’s usually a very common question in our household, and nothing has changed for years.
Same old question and same old shopping habits, with the wallet taking the same old beating along with the same old unnecessary stress that comes with penny-pinching.
You can continue on that dreadful journey of what is actually “normal” and live that paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, or you can check out these simple tips that I’m sure will help you more than you think.
Be stubborn and think changing your shopping habits won’t help but at the very least, try using some of the advice shared in this post.
So before you head out on that next shopping adventure, here are some things that will save more money each month and also some time.
Shop Smarter, or You’ll Always Be Broke
Shopping is something I don’t enjoy, but I’m probably the better person to do the job in my family.
It’s needed for us to stay alive, and it’s something that needs a lot more thought than we think.
Smart shopping is a must whether to save more money or cut down on unnecessary expenses.
So, here are many awesome ways to be a smarter shopper so that you can save more money and win in life.
Shopping and stress?
How can that even be in the same sentence?
You probably never saw this coming, but that’s okay.
Shopping (especially for groceries) can be really stressful, especially if you are on a budget.
This is something we almost have no control over unless we actually sit down and try to understand what is really happening, and that is why I put it right up here at the top.
As a stressed shopper, you are more likely to make purchases that you didn’t want to and only because you were trying to rush.
Forget about everyone around you, take a deep breath, and shop like you are the only one in the store.
Trust me, it works.
2. Shop Within Your Means
If you want to know how to be a smarter shopper, check this out:
Let’s say you have $300 to buy groceries, so be it.
The biggest mistake you can make is using that budget and going all out.
Get what you NEED and get what you can afford.
Understand that most of the items you buy at the beginning of the month (or your payday) will be gone just in time for you to be broke once again.
To fix this, simply buy cheaper products and put some of that budget towards the end of the month.
No one plans for this, and most will never fix the problem.
Get off that train and take away the stress that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
3. Act Your Wage
I love this little meme as it can help you see things differently.
As humans, most especially as members of today’s modern Western society, we are inclined to live for others.
We go and buy things we don’t need just because others in our network are getting that specific thing.
Take a step back, and know that you all are making around the same type of money (usually pennies), and trying to impress someone with the same salary will do nothing for you.
That’s not smart shopping, so put that Pepsi down and settle for something a little more affordable.
Better yet, put that soda down and drink some water, even if you should consider saving on your water bill.
4. Look For Deals
They are all over the place, and most will never take advantage of them.
The obvious deals will be found in your local paper and posted somewhere in the store but those are about where most shoppers stop.
When it comes to getting the best of the best deals, it will usually require some research on your part.
Take things to Google and even ask the cashier if there are any specials going on in the future.
Most of the time, you will miss a sale by a day or two, so keep those dates in mind before heading out to the grocery store for that stick of butter that could’ve waited.
5. Clearance/Soon-to-Be Outdated Items
Most stores have this section, and this is one that I frequent the most.
This is the best section for my family and me for things we consume daily.
Pizza Rolls for $1?
Just because it expires tomorrow or even if it is already expired does not mean that it isn’t good anymore.
If it is in the frozen section, you can bet that those items are just as good as the ones that expire the following week.
If you haven’t already done this, try doing it on your next trip to the grocery store, and you will thank me later.
6. Be Patient
How badly do you need that loaf of bread?
Just because something runs out does not mean you need it right away.
I used to make this same mistake, but I literally had to sit down and try to figure out this whole shopping formula, and this was one that needed attention.
So rather than hitting panic every time it comes down to the last egg, I put it off until the following day when I’m taking the kids to school, and boy, do I save a whole lot of money by doing so.
Gas money is saved along with trips to the store as I figured out that we needed other things anyways.
7. Every Cent Counts
Savings is savings, and if you think that you can skip the $.50 off that bottle of ketchup, then you aren’t applying smart shopping.
Every type of savings that you can get is better than nothing.
Saving a couple of cents here and there will add up big time, especially if it is one of those days when you need to restock everything.
You just have to love the feeling when you look at the bottom of your receipt, which says, “You saved $27”.
Imagine what you can do with that money and the type of savings you will have acquired in a year.
That’s smart shopping!
8. Shop Early (or Late)
Whether it be early or late, the main point behind this tip is to shop at a time when hardly anyone is in the store.
Since I work from home, I do have the luxury of shopping at odd times of the day, but you can still do the same if you want to.
Not all of you but almost all of you.
Doing this helps relieve stress, especially if you’re like me and you don’t like crowds.
Forget about crowds, forget about standing in line, and get your butt to the store when no one else is shopping but you and the rest of the early birds.
9. Coupons – Use Them
This is one thing I rarely use, but it is one that I am trying to do more of.
Partly because it takes time and mainly because it does take a lot of getting used to.
Depending on your lifestyle and the available time, “couponing” can be something to consider, but I don’t think you need to be that extreme.
Before you make your way to the grocery store, get online and see what coupons are available, as just because they aren’t available at the exact store, you can get coupons directly from the company itself.
Coupons are a great way to save a lot of money, so get into the habit of using them.
10. Shop Around
Seems like a no-brainer, but most of the time, we just get things because we have to, and/or we just don’t want to deal with it later.
Just like tip #6, you need to try and be patient, or it will not help at all.
Some stores might have this on sale, while others might have something else.
Do find the best deals but consider the drive while doing so as sometimes it might be a better deal but not worth it at the same time.
And that’s another way to be a smarter shopper.
11. Shop Online
Things have definitely changed, and much shopping is being done online.
With Amazon constantly improving its service, you can get items delivered in two days or less, and as an Amazon Prime member, you can even get them delivered that same day.
Groceries and the internet are a thing, and you should do your research as there might be a store in your area ready for you to take advantage of.
Now, if you simply want them delivered to you, you might want to check out Amazon Prime Pantry, as I’m sure they have what you are looking for, and yes, this is another of the many ways to be a smart online shopper.
12. Understand “Sales”
Sales are awesome, but they can be very misleading.
Just because something is on sale does not mean it is the best deal.
I am guilty of this, too, but if you do some thinking, you can see that something is clearly not the best deal.
I go about these sales by usually looking at the regular price that they compare it to.
If you don’t see the little comparison, you might want to skip that item as it might just be a way to get you to throw that item into your cart.
Also, remember these same products and pricing as time goes on, and you will see and remember what truly is a sale and what isn’t.
13. Don’t Give Into the Fast Food Tactic
Every fast food joint has some kind of value menu.
For a lot of normal folks, this is where they turn to budget, but this is something I look at as a nice little bait.
Get you in the door and hope that you start buying anything and everything.
That same tactic is done by almost every store you shop at, so be mindful of this the next time you find yourself going in for some kind of sale.
Get that sale item and whatever you feel you NEED but don’t get carried away, or you will find yourself leaving the store with a cart full of nonsense.
14. Shop on an Empty Stomach
If you are thinking about doing some grocery shopping, please feed your face before doing so.
What seemed like an outing for the bare necessities will turn into a bunch of hot pockets and many items that should not have been purchased in the first place.
Your stomach will have you getting things that you felt like eating at that moment, which will only lead to more spending.
Do yourself a favor and shop with a full tummy.
Not only will you save some money, but you will help your non-healthy lifestyle as well.
15. Buy in Bulk
Buying more of something is usually the best option, especially regarding groceries.
This can be confusing at times, but at the very least, you know you will be able to save some money by buying those 24 rolls or paper towels rather than just one.
If you are constantly buying that one necessary item over and over again, knowing that you are not getting the best deal, you need to stop.
Get that case of juice and stop buying them one at a time.
Some might argue that the store is taking more of your money, but I beg to differ.
Sure they get that extra $1 by having you buy more of something, but who really cares?
The fact that you will be using that same product regardless is enough reason for you to buy in bulk.
The store wins, and so do you; there is nothing wrong with that.
They do have a business to run, and you will shop there regardless of what kinds of profits they make, so there is nothing wrong with buying in bulk.
16. Understand What You Are Buying
This is especially for tissues and other household items that require measuring, like detergent.
For this example, I will be using toilet tissue as it is one that can be really confusing.
When getting such a product, you need to really think before buying.
Think, but also give a bunch of them a try before settling on the same brand you are most comfortable with.
You will mostly find many brand X toilet paper brands to be on sale, but sometimes spending less can mean more.
Is the roll 2-ply or 3-ply?
Is the roll a lot thinner than others?
Thinking about these will help you save a lot of money and will have a lot of you think twice about settling for the cheapest roll.
17. Make Fewer Trips
I am very much guilty of this, and sometimes it’s not really my fault.
At least, that’s what I think, but the next tip should also help with this.
Whatever you feel you need at that moment can wait unless it is absolutely, positively necessary.
Which is about 1% of the time.
Shopping takes some learning and experience but going back and forth does nothing to help.
This is where the money starts flowing out of your gas tank and will result in you saving less money.
In most cases, a lot of you will actually do more spending than saving by taking those extra, unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
Use this and what I am about to get into next, and you will be one saving pro.
18. Make a Fricken Shopping List
Most of you will do this but only when it comes time to reload the bare necessities.
Remember when you thought you were going to the store to get some eggs and got home, forgetting that you actually needed some bath soap?
It happens, but it can be prevented.
Have a seat, relax, and think about what else you need but most especially, WRITE IT DOWN!
And don’t forget to bring that list with you… LOL
19. Figure Out What Works For YOU
Making that shopping list is a great idea, but sometimes technology doesn’t always work best.
For me, I use the old pen and paper trick as it not only helps me to remember what I need but it kind of drills it into my head so that I can remember it without even looking at my list.
Just like how it works for studying, writing down what you need does exactly that.
I have like three different shopping apps on my phone right now, and although I have paid for some of them, I find that I do better doing it the old-school way.
Not to say that you can’t use an app but just use what is most convenient and what will actually work for you.
And don’t you just love that Blackberry in the image above?
I can’t believe they aren’t used anymore!
Now, if you don’t know about them, you might just be too young.
20. Price Matching
Stores are always competing, and price matching is huge these days.
“We will match the competitor’s price.”
This is true and will definitely help with savings.
Show that store that you can get it cheaper at another store, and it is like magic.
Here you go, sir. Take that $40 item and get it for $35.
Just like that, you just saved $5 and that’s smart shopping!
21. Shop Alone
I find shopping to be stressful when I have the whole family.
Mom seems to enjoy such an outing, but I like the total opposite.
This goes hand in hand with shopping in the morning and has more than one benefit.
First, you don’t have to deal with the stress of taking kids down, and second, you don’t have to deal with the many wants they think they need.
Lastly, you are most efficient and will take a lot less time to get things done compared to having the whole fam with you.
Conclusion – Ways to be a smarter shopper
Always try to find a way to save.
I don’t care how rich you think you are or how much money you have after you are done shopping; remember those days when you struggled, and it will make all the difference.
Sorry if it seems as if I got carried away with this post, but I do love to save some money, and I love helping others do the same.
I hope you learned something from these tips to become a smart shopper.
I definitely did not mention them all, but I’m sure you guys have some of your own, so please do share them as I’m sure we can all benefit from them.
Until next time, remember to apply these smart shopping tips, and don’t make purchases that you don’t have to.
Thanks for reading, and happy shopping!