Everyone is feeling the pinch these days with everything rising in price almost weekly. Whether it is the cost of fuel, the rising cost of the weekly food shop or the increasing mortgage repayments, it is something that will affect all of us at some point. We can’t however stop these increases from happening and for most of us it is impossible to ask for a pay rise to help us cover these extra costs, so what can we do?
Being a frugal shopper could be the answer but to be able to do it successfully you have to ask your self why you want to change your spending habits in the first place. Having a clear goal in mind will help to make sure that your spending stays within your new frugal budget plan. A few of the most common goals and reasons for becoming a frugal shopper are:
To reduce existing debt.
To prevent debt from building up in the first place.
To be able to save for the future i.e. retirement, a new home or even a holiday.
To be less wasteful in general.
Many of us may think that frugal shopping is not for us, as we already spend our money wisely. To double check that this is actually true, ask yourself these few questions:
Do you like to buy all the latest gadgets but never seem to have any spare cash for basic home maintenance?
You eat takeaways several times a week and often complain about how much your weekly food spending is, blaming it on the supermarkets rather than yourself.
You have some debts but can’t resist buying expensive label clothes
Do you complain about the clutter in your home but just can’t resist buying things for it all the time?
If you recognise any of the descriptions above in yourself, you may just have to reconsider and perhaps a little frugal shopping could be for you after all.
To be a good frugal shopper you will have to have a completely different way of thinking about what is good and what is not. For many, buying cheap means buying inferior. This is simply not true and by changing your opinion of so called generic cheap goods verses brand names, will allow you to shop frugally much easier.
There are six main rules to successful frugal shopping and if you stick to these golden rules you will soon notice a difference in your regular spending amounts.
Credit cards should only be carried with you when you plan to make a specific large purchase. By keeping them at home during normal spending trips you will not be tempted by impulse buys. Similarly, know what you want to buy before you go shopping and only carry enough cash for that purpose.
Give yourself time to make a decision about a purchase. For instance if something catches your eye and you are tempted to buy it, don’t, instead tell yourself that you will think about it over night first. It is amazing just how many things loss their appeal over night.
Collect and use coupons whenever possible. Coupons are available everywhere from newspapers and magazines to downloadable ones online. However be sure to only collect coupons for things that you need, you won’t save money if you use coupons to buy things that you wouldn’t normally use.
Bulk buying can be a great saver if you have enough storage space and you know you will be able to use the goods in time. Those three for two items look great but if the product will be stale before you get around to eating or using it, you will be wasting money.
Check out your local second-hand shops and garage sales when you can. Again don’t buy for the sake of it but seek out items that you can either use yourself or give as little gifts. Children’s toys and clothes can often be found at a fraction of the cost and when you consider how quickly they get bored with or grow out of such items, it really isn’t worth spending a fortune on them.
Lastly, shop around a little. You will soon get to know where shops are that are cheaper on certain items than others. It may mean a little extra legwork but can save you plenty of money in the long run.
With these few simple rules under your belt, frugal shopping becomes, not only easy, but can also be quite fun, after all there’s nothing like finding a bargain.
About the Author
Kate and her partner co-write http://www.frugal-living-tips.com a site all about living simply and frugally in the modern world. Their second site http://www.our-happy-cat.com is a cat friendly site full of cat health and cat care advice.
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