Other than health issues, finances are at the top of most people’s resolutions and goals for the new year. I’m no different, because this is the second year that I’ve decided that I want to work on my finances. Last year, for the most part, I did pretty good. I was very proactive in saving more money. Unfortunately, I had to reach into my savings stash more than I would like to have done. However, I only reached in for absolute emergencies, which was mainly car related. This year, aside from continuing to grow my savings, I want to be more conscious about my spending habits. Over the past couple of months, I became obsessed with learning to shop smarter. I formed a few habits that allowed me make better decisions when shopping.
If one of your goals this year is to get smarter with saving your money, learning to make smarter shopping is good stepping stone. If you’re interested in improving your shopping, keep reading for some of my favorite tips.
Shop Smarter: Can’t Buy 2?
Last summer, I was pondering buying the most outrageous bag that my bank account had ever seen. I got a nice bonus check from work and realized that I had just enough to get this ‘it’ bag of the moment. However, right before I was about to order it , Myleik of Curl Box tweeted a gem. If you can’t buy two, then you can’t afford it. If it’s a struggle to get and you barely have enough money to buy it, then don’t buy it. It made sense, but it also struck me at my paranoia. I imagined spending an insane amount of money for bag and then the next day a emergency comes up that I can’t afford. I pictured how stupid I would look exclaiming I’m broke with a $2000 purse on my arm. Since then, I use this simple shopping equation whenever I want to “treat myself”.
Shop Smarter: Only Buy What You Need
Every other Saturday when I got paid, I used to make a Target run to get my daily essentials such as soap, detergent, and paper goods. A simple list that should add to less than $20. However, by the time I left, I walked out with bags full of stuff that totaled over a $100. To help ensure that I only bought what I needed, I started writing a list and only brought enough money to get what I needed. Also, don’t bring your debit cards or credit cards. Using plastic tends to make to so much easier to buy more.
Shop Smarter: Stop Swiping Your Cards
Well, let’s talk about cards some more. I have only one credit card and one debit card and I try to use both sparingly. Actually, I’m currently trying to pay off my credit card and no longer carry it in my wallet to avoid using it. When I go shopping, I only take cash and estimate the amount that I need. If I don’t have enough, I remove something from my cart. Luckily, I’ve gotten pretty at staying under budget.
Shop Smarter: Coupons and Apps
Coupons are bomb! Paper coupons can be a little tedious, but once you learn how to use them and work them, it can become fun and competitive. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of Facebook groups, blogs, and even social media accounts dedicated to the art of couponing. Actually, searching for #couponing on Instagram and Twitter will produce the latest coupons out there. So, search the next time your timeline feels a little blah.
Actually, most coupons are starting to create their own coupons that are only exclusive to their apps. I love digital coupons, because you can add and use them via an app. Not to mention, there are apps that can find a coupon for almost anything you need. One of favorite coupon websites and apps is from Retail Me Not, because they have a vast database of coupons and discount codes for almost every store. You just can’t wrong with them!