Mind over Money

November 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Quick Tip # 11 – Frugal Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I am not too keen on the idea of shopping in any form.  Yes, I’m an odd bird, but my aversion is generally because I spend too much.  Do I need it?  Is it a good deal?  Did I pay too much?  Sometimes I get home and I’m not sure I even like what I bought.  I sense some stomach upset with the knowledge I will have to go back for exchange.  Even if I feel good about my purchases (aka grocery shopping) I am afraid there is nothing in the fridge to eat when I get home.  Most people like shopping.  There is a word for my kind of infirmity.  Agoraphobia.  It is a Latin word meaning “fear of the marketplace”.

The holidays are coming.  All over the media right now, people are talking about their debt.  They want out.  I feel warm and fuzzy when I see single mom Suzy Q talking about her three teenagers and how she is going to cut down for Christmas this year. “The economy is my opportunity to show my kids that Christmas is more about giving and family, than stuff”.  You go, girl!

It is a high when we save a lot.  There is nothing better than to find a jackpot of 75% off and look at a receipt that shows a savings of $800!  But that is not real.  Being on a budget is sometimes like being on a no-carb diet.  Your intentions are good, but your house is worth less than you paid for it and you are still starving for something tasty.   I’m here to tell you, you can spend less.  You just need to sharpen your tools, refresh your resolve, love your family, and feel the power!

Here are some of my recent gleanings for your inspection:

  • Shop the ads from the paper, but take a list and adhere to it.  It is cheap entertainment to picture a crowd cheering as you walk out with ONLY the listed items.  Take the ad with you just in case.  There are places that price match (Walmart) saving you the headache of running around.
  • Consider time and fuel when shopping store to store.  Are you juggling kids in and out of the car every stop?  Will you save more by buying at a reasonable price now or driving 7 miles down busy streets or all they way downtown just to save 25 cents?  On the other hand, if you are having quality family sing-a-long time, maybe it is worth it after all.  You get to decide.
  • Use coupons carefully.  If you have a buy one get one free, and don’t need the item or love it, (as a friend) it really isn’t a good deal regardless of the advertising.  I have done this, specifically with clothing.  The result is several months in the closet, to appear later, brand new, in the Goodwill donation.
  • Set an approximate limit on how much you will spend for each person.  The word “limit” means limit.  The word approximate keeps you free from that no-carb diet thing.  The important thing is not to go overboard.  Make an exchange if you find something better later on.  The good news is, there will be many merchants motivated to move sales this year with the economical downturn.  You may find more items per amount spent.
  • Use good old fashoned cash.  When you set up your expenses with real money, you realize how fast money is spent.  Keeping a spending journal keeps you real on how much is going out of your wallet.  Credit cards, on the other hand, well… you know.  It didn’t feel like you spent that much this billing cycle.
  • Don’t make eye contact with items at the impulse isle.  It’s a trap!  Store owners carefully plan that spot just between your cart and cash register.  They know you may have to wait in line.  It is a conspiracy that they also know your kids will be there waiting.  Remembr that it is perfectly all right to pass on buying kids something every time you pass through.  Trinkets add up.  Proof of that is the forgotten quick buy under the seat of your car that never even made it in the house.  Save them for surprises.
  • Shop online.  If you don’t go to the mall, you won’t buy as much.  Or if you find it at a store, and it seems high, compare online.  Some sites have “web only” deals that beat all.  Many places are offering free shipping right now, so hasten to your computer with a cup of cocoa and go for it.  In addition, it already feels like Christmas every time the UPS man comes to my door.
  • Finally, many food storage items are at their peak of savings this time of year.  Baking items, crackers, and olives are at their lowest during November and December.  When you get a turkey at peak savings, buy two.  You can pressure can it for your pantry.  Real butter is my weakness, so I have saved room in my freezer while it is low.  Even whipping cream can be frozen.  It might not look the same, but it whips just fine when thawed.

Ideas of your own?  let’s hear it.

LINKS:
Shopping tips from the federal trade commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt082.shtm
Reader’s Digest has tips in both October and November issues about shopping.  This five star article will connect you to links that pay off big.  These are just what I am looking for and my favorite shopping tips of all time.
http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/best-deals-and-bargains-on-gas-cars-and-more/article99717.html

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Entry filed under: Budgeting, Common Sense, Comparison Shopping, credit card debt, Debt, Debt Reducton, Economics, finances, Food Storage, Frugal Living, Home Storage, making ends meet, money management, Needs and Wants, needs vs. wants, personal finance, recession, self control, Self Discipline, Self Reliance, Self Sufficiency, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

In A Nut Shell Half Full or Half Empty?

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