It can be a little tricky to manage your budget, especially if you have a big family or if you’ve recently experienced financial troubles. Fortunately, with a little bit of maneuvering and some practical advice, you can make the most of your hard-earned money—all without compromising on the quality of your purchases!
Here are some simple, effective shopping tips to maximize your budget…
Start with a List
Everyone, no matter their financial status, should get in the habit of shopping with a list. This not only prevents you from going over your budget, but it also prevents you from becoming wasteful.
For those who aren’t used to shopping with a list, here’s a tip: don’t think of what you don’t have but rather check what’s already at home. Take a look at your pantry and see what’s in stock. The same goes for the cupboards under the sink, the toiletry rack in the bathroom, and your stash of personal hygiene items. Doing this will give you a better idea of what you still have to buy instead of just making wild guesses.
Take Advantage of Sales and Promos
One of the best ways to save money is to shop when there’s a sale. Most stores conduct multiple sales and special promotions every so often; thus, you’ll always have the opportunity to purchase your needs (and sometimes wants) at a discount.
The key is to know what to buy at different kinds of sales. For example, it’s a good idea to purchase goods like dry cereal, biscuits, and noodles at a buy one get one free sale. These “BOGO” sales are also perfect for purchasing a lot of non-perishables like toilet paper, dish detergent, and other supplies.
Meanwhile, if you’re planning on buying new curtains, bed sheets, towels, clothes, appliances, and furniture, it’s probably best to wait for percent-discount sales. With enough patience, you can get these products at 50% off or even lower. For seasonal clothes, however, try buying them off-season, i.e., buy swimsuits when it’s no longer beach-going season. This can net you some serious discounts.
Sign Up for Email or Text Alerts
Speaking of sales and promos, most shops have mailing lists where you can sign up to receive newsletters and other alerts through email, text, or even social media messages. This is a great way to stay updated about the latest deals. Not to mention, signing up for these notifications also doesn’t result in an ocean of paper flyers and brochures—much more eco-friendly!
What’s even better is that signing up for these alerts will usually entitle you to exclusive discounts and offers. Some stores, for example, give their customers extra points in their loyalty program if they order online or an additional discount for their first purchase.
Do Your Research
More often than not, if you’ve been used to a certain product, then that’s what you automatically put in your shopping cart. Whether it’s canned goods or paper towels, you probably have a preferred brand that you always buy. However, you can actually save a lot of money by switching brands. This is particularly true for things like bath soap, household cleaners, and similar goods. Review the products you use at home and research alternative brands so you can shave off some extra bucks when you shop.
Another thing you have to research? The original prices of the products you buy. This way, you know how much you’re saving when you purchase them on sale. Finally, be aware of the return and exchange policies of the places where you shop. Some products are obviously non-returnable or exchangeable, but for those that are, it pays to know the conditions.
Take Note of Free Shipping Offers
Nowadays, it’s more convenient to shop for everything online. From groceries to cosmetics, consumers literally have an entire world of choices for all their needs. Before you click that “Checkout” button, however, check if there are any free shipping offers. Usually, online stores give away coupons for free shipping; there are also those that don’t charge a delivery fee as long as you meet a minimum amount for your order.
Of course, a free shipping coupon doesn’t mean that you have to shop just to avail of the offer. In the same way, don’t force yourself to meet the minimum amount just for the sake of free delivery. If the minimum amount is Rs 3,000 and what you’re buying is only worth Rs 2,500, don’t spend an extra Rs 500! The extra expense usually isn’t worth it. Be smart about your shopping to save.
As you can see, saving money and stretching your budget isn’t all that complicated as long as you’re strategic about your shopping. Hopefully, these tips can help you manage your budget well and get you to a better financial state.