The problem isn’t that we don’t make enough money, it’s that we spend too much money.
That is so easy to say, but I know that many people struggle with shopping. I know that I do. It is so easy to try to forget for a while and just buy everything that you want. I do it when I am stressed or upset. I understand.
However, I know that it causes financial trouble. So I remind myself all the time of our financial goals. What is really important: shopping or retirement?
One of the top keys to my successful rehabilitation from overspending is planning. You have to plan your spending. This will keep you from making those costly impulse decisions. If you don’t need something specific from a store, don’t go in it!
In planning your shopping, make lists. Remember, when you are going through the grocery ads, that sales items are not always the cheapest. With a little time and some directed shopping, you will begin to recognize a good deal when you see it.
Shopping can be stressful. You are better off if you plan your shopping for times when the stores are virtually empty. This may mean doing your grocery shopping at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. Don’t go just before holidays or on paydays. It’s always crowded then.
Plan your buying so that you replace items when you run out of them. You don’t necessarily have to buy bulk to save money. Look at it this way. Yes, you may use the gallon of peanut butter. But you might not have $10 for it right now. Buy the $3 jar if that is all you can really afford.
When it comes to sales, you have to have control. Don’t buy things just because they are a good deal or are on sale. If you won’t use it, don’t buy it. This is often cemented when you clean out your closet. What is a three dollar shirt worth if you’ve never worn it? That’s three dollars out the window. After a while, the sale items add up. They cost money too.
Keep in mind that larger isn’t cheaper and smaller isn’t cheaper. Often, you have to look at the unit prices if you are concerned with getting the most for your money. Many stores have the unit price on the shelf sticker.
When shopping on sale, you need to watch the clerk ring up your purchases. Don’t be afraid to say something. And no matter what, always check your receipt. I once had a clerk charge me for 23 loaves of bread instead of 2. I’m glad I checked the receipt.
And finally, to keep from spending too much money, you should leave your checks and cards in the car or at home. Only take the amount of cash you can spend with you. That way, you won’t be tempted to write a check or charge.
There are many ways to save money when shopping. Start with a plan, don’t go into stores you don’t need to and only take cash. Be wise and keep your goals in mind when you are facing temptation. Good Luck.