These basic shopping tips are just timeless…
My wife is an avid shopper; she is also a very smart shopper. Some would call her thrifty, though the term nowadays is not always considered a desirable trait (confused with cheap). Without her spending wisdom, we would have wasted thousands of family dollars throughout the years.*
* Consumer Report Money Lab reports (July 24, 2008) that a family of 4 can save up to$190 a month on food by shifting to a lower cost mix of foods.
Before You Buy, Arm Yourself With These Shopping Tips
She taught me 5 things that we should never do when going to the supermarket:
1. Don’t go into a store hungry!
If you and/or your husband go shopping for groceries while hungry, you are going to snap up the tempting goodies. You are using your stomach to guide your decisions instead of your head. It is estimated that families will spend up to 15% more when they go shopping just before lunch or dinner.
2. Don’t bring the kids to the store.
How often have you observed harried mothers with 2 or 3 children in tow at the local supermarket? These perpetually hungry mouths will bully their way to sugary treats; the mother will agree just to keep them quiet. These modern stores will also carry aisles full of toys; what child can resist the temptation to handle them and eventually scream his way into convincing his mom to add it to the cart?
3. Prepare a preestablished list and check it twice!
Again, the temptations are everywhere, aisle by wonderful aisle. Some shoppers simply grab whatever their fancy dictates at that moment, not realizing that the merchandise has been designed and placed strategically by marketing experts.
You must make a list at home and stick to it no matter what. Do not give in to the demands of your husband if he is with you; guys tend to favor impulse buying and they don’t know much about expensive vs. cheaper brands. Grab the local store brand whenever possible; it is usually cheaper than the better known national brands (For example Wal-Mart).
4. Know where you’re going and plan ahead.
Leaving the house without planning the route when you are going to several stores means more gas wasted. Think ahead and imagine the best way to get to your destinations. The freeway may not be the better option if you have to face bumper to bumper traffic. Crawling and idling will eventually waste more gas than finding back roads to the stores.
5. Become a member! Visit those discount stores.
Plan to shop at membership shopping clubs like Costco and Sam’s. You will recoup your annual fee very easily by buying staple items in bulk or when you need some expensive items such as desks, clothing, and computers. My wife buys all her frozen chicken and fish at Sam’s once a month (we don’t eat red meat, which means saving a good chunk of money). She says buying large bags (2 or 3 lbs.) is much cheaper than buying individual pieces at the local market.
Final word of wisdom:
Take advantage of special sales and buy several items at once. For example, toothpaste that normally costs $2.70 can be purchased for less than $1.00 each. School binders and notebooks could be bought for $0.25 each a month before school started at Wal-Mart. Seasonal clothes normally go on sale at the end of the season, so watch for special sales, then buy things in the off-season such as summer stuff in the winter and vice versa.
Image credit by She Knows. Please visit their site for more great tips!