I was working on an article for today until I read a comment on one of my posts that had me switch gears. Long time Studenomics reader Craig made an interesting point:
“Good recommendation is not to go shopping when you are emotional, both happy or sad. Either way could lead to spending more, although sometimes hard to avoid.”
It may not have been his intention but Craig got me thinking about the topic of shopping and personal finance. It made me realize that I still haven’t provided you guys with some valuable tips for saving money on shopping around (groceries, gifts, necessities, etc.) As a result I have come up with a solid list of shopping advice that will save you tons of money:
Only go shopping in the morning
What many of us don’t realize is that by shopping in the evening time after a long day of school or work we are not as alert as we are at the beginning of the day. When you’re tired that’s when you make mistakes and believe me “shopping mistakes” could have you blowing money without even realizing it. Obviously this doesn’t mean that you should go shopping at 6 in the morning when your eyes are half open but at a time where you’re fairly alert.
Have a clear shopping list
I know I know this is a very elementary tip but you don’t understand how important it is until you walk out of a store with a bunch of random purchases in your shopping bag simply because you had no clear agenda. Think about all of the times you walked into a mall and had no clue where to start. If you had a clear list of what you needed to purchase then odds are you would have gone straight to the correct stores instead of aimlessly wandering around.
Do NOT wander around the store
I will let you guys in on a little secret; every single store is strategically planned out so that we spend more money than intended. Think about all of the times you walked into a grocery story just to purchase milk but ended up with a cart full of other items. Isn’t it kind of funny how the milk section is usually on the polar opposite side of the store entrance?
Watch out for the impulse section
What is the impulse section? It’s the little section right by the check out where the store has some “hot deals” or magazines. As you’re standing in line you get bored and then you see these items conveniently placed right beside you and next thing you know you’re going home with a couple of new magazines. Whatever trick you want to use is alright as long as you manage to get through the check out process without picking up any new items.
It’s only a deal if you need the product
Sure pillow cases or calendars may be on sale for 75% off but is that really a deal? 75% off seems like one amazing deal but if you don’t need the product then you’re not saving money at all. Unless you happen to find a product you will need in the near future do not purchase it no matter how much of a sale it is.