We all love shopping. The point of us earning money is to spend it right? I mean ultimately that is the goal. Even if you’re saving it today, for say something like retirement, your end goal is to spend it when you get there.
But sometimes we get a little bit out of control. Spending gets out of control and we get into the black hole we call debt. We don’t need to though, and I’m going to go over some tips you can take into the mall on your next trip to get you spending less, and getting more!
Here are 7 tips for your next shopping trip.
Spend cash, not credit, unless you get points
This has always been a rule for me. If you don’t have the cash to purchase an item, don’t buy it. If there is one method you can follow that will absolutely keep you out of debt, it is this. If you’re looking to go out and purchase a new television, don’t buy that $2500 one when you’ve only got $1500 in the bank.
We live in a buy buy buy society. The newest technology, the newest products. It makes you want to own it. And, for most people it comes at a cost. They can probably do just fine with a TV without the bells and whistles, but societies push to own the best of the best causes them to upgrade and place the remainder on their credit cards.
Before you know it, you’ve done this for 5 or 6 purchases and you’re thousands of dollars in debt.
However, if you have the cash and also something like a travel credit card in which you get points towards vacations, cash back etc, it may be wise to make the purchase on your credit card. However, be sure to have the money to pay it off immediately!
Wait for sales
I’ve often said I never buy anything at full price anymore. And it’s absolutely true. Whether it’s online or retail purchases, I always look for coupons or sales. Take advantage of common retail sale periods like Black Friday, Boxing Day, or Cyber Monday. Although in the case of the first two you’ll have to brave the retail stores, sometimes it’s worth it for the money you save. Keep a product you’d like in mind, put it on a mental watchlist and check up frequently on it and get to the store when the product has come on sale.
Price matching policies
Major outlets often deploy this tactic to get more sales, and it’s one you should utilize. Travel concerns are relevant when you’re shopping. If you’re from a smaller town, you may find it difficult to travel 30-45 minutes to get to a major outlet that has your item on sale. Head to your local shop, or if you have a major department store head there. See if they will match the price the particular store you are going to has for a product.
This can save you both time, and money as often these stores will beat your price and then some for a product.
Skip the stores
This is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, and for good reason. Online retailers like Amazon have taken the world by storm. Just this last year, I didn’t even need to leave my house for Christmas shopping. And the best part about it all, is you can get free shipping with their Amazon Prime platform for essentially a couple tanks of gas a year depending on what you drive. Typically companies like this have less overhead than an brick and mortar giants like Wal Mart, so products are cheaper.
Take a list!
This is more so for grocery shopping, but it is crucial you go to the store with a list. Compile everything you need at the house and head to the store on a mission. Browsing every isle and simply picking out things you “want” can lead to overspending. If you go to the store with a dedicated list, you’re likely to spend less, and survive just fine.
One thing I’ve found as well, and it seems quite humorous but it actually works. Don’t make your list when you’re hungry, at least if you’re shopping for food.
Shopping is supposed to be social! However, when we go with friends or family, they can influence our decisions to make purchases that we may not want to make. This is not their fault, it’s just when people aren’t spending their own money they are a lot more likely to recommend that someone else does.
When you shop alone, you have a clear mindset of what you need (if you followed the previous steps of course) and it is only your opinion that is taken into account.
Beware of “2 for 1” and freebie type deals
Often, retailers will combine products together to encourage shoppers to purchase both of them. The problem with this is, you may not really need the second item. A classic of this is “buy a pair of shoes and get the next pair half off.” Well, if you don’t need that second pair of shoes, you really don’t need the half off.
It makes people think they are missing out on a great deal. When really, they could buy the single pair and be done with it.
Overall, try to spend wisely
No matter how many tips I show you on making wise shopping decisions, if you don’t follow through with them they won’t be of much effect. Take these rules with you next time when you head to the mall or even sit on your computer. You’ll find, especially if you are a heavy shopper, you’re going to save a ton of money over the course of a couple months or a year. And in the end, that money can be parlayed into retirement savings, or even extra items on your next shopping trip.