Shopping is one of the enjoyable moments in life as you can spend the money you earn. But shopping is stressful afterwards, especially if you look at your empty wallet or bank account. Therefore, you need to shop smart. These are the 10 tips of shopping budget that you can use.
1. Make a shopping list
Yes, I think everybody knows it. But how many actually sit and write it down? Look at your fridge. Find out what meal and drink are almost out and write it down. Make at least a week worth of stock.
Organize your list according to aisles in the supermarket. Food, Drinks, Spices, bathroom items, and so on. It will make you easily browsing the list as you stroll along the aisle and limit your back and forth trips that might just entice you to take something you don’t need.
Don’t forget to bring your pen to the supermarket. If your list if long enough, you prone to forget what are the things you have taken at the first round and maybe is at the bottom of your cart. You will end up forgetting it altogether and must return to the market the next day. That will give you another reason to shop things you don’t really need. Or you might buy two of those and spend out more than you planned.
Stick to your shopping list. If you see something interesting along the way, make a determination to finish the list first and look for it again. Usually if the stuff is not that important to you, you would forget it at the end of your shopping journey. This is a big task, especially if you are ‘helped’ by children. Bring a calculator if you need one.
When making a shopping list, don’t forget to make the shopping budget -- an estimate for the money spent. It is much easier now that we have a lot of online shops where we can find price range for each item. If you still have some money to stretch, then you can spend it to things that interest you in the shop. But stop if you have exceeded that amount.
2. Shop on a Full Stomach
Self-discipline needs an energy. That’s why when you are fasting, and nearing the end of the day, you will be very attractive to food near you.
So, shopping after you eat decrease the probability of you taking things you don’t really need. Make sure your children, if any, also go with full stomach. They are less likely to ask relentlessly for snacks or candies.
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If you can, don’t go shopping after a busy day. You will be likely to rationale your buying unnecessarily things with words like “I have worked hard; this is just a small reward for myself.” Well that reward can be very expensive.
Shopping on a full stomach also works when you are planning on opening your online shopping apps. Items in the apps list can appeal to you as much as if you see it yourself in the supermarket shelves.
3. Organize Your Inventories
Organize your food storage cupboards and drawers. If you don’t know what you have or can’t find what you bought, you’ll end up buying more of the same unnecessarily. Clean the fridge before you shop, so you can use up what you bought before buying more.
Organize your inventories according to the expiration date. Make sure that you use the ones with the shortest expiration date to avoid wasting it. Because you are shopping for an entire week, or even entire month, you should be careful with the expiry date. Choose only food that still has long expiration date. If you buy fresh food, then find life hacks to preserve the food longer.
4. Shop Strategically
Supermarkets often offer discounts for specific items. If the items can be stored for longer terms, and if you need it on a regular basis, you should buy more. But consider wisely. A discount still means that you spend money on it.
Sometimes buying in big bulks looks cheaper. But 3-for-1 offer is only a good deal if you can use three. Buying in small amount can be a more responsible way.
Compare the prices of an item with different brands. Sometimes no-name or store brands are cheaper for the same quality. Some store brands goods are even manufactured by the same manufacturers as the more expensive labelled products. So be meticulous about it.
Avoid going back and forth to the supermarket because you will end up more than less. Parking fee and fuel costs should be a consideration too. Don’t be swayed by multiple stores offering discounts on different items.
Stick to one supermarket and optimize its offering. The sum of discounts you get from multiple supermarkets eventually may be less than your expenses for parking fee and costs to switch supermarkets.
If you are shopping online, remember that packaging costs and delivery costs can be substantial too. You should first compare the offline supermarket price versus the online price after it is added with the delivery costs.
Photo by: freepik
5. Learn How to Cook
Buying canned or ready-to-eat meals are much more expensive than cooking on your own. Now there are so many tutorial videos on cooking meals that you can try. Push yourself to try it, and ask your family members to help you with it.
Don’t overinvest in your pantry. There are some basic ingredients that you would always use when you cook, such as oil, salt and pepper. Different kind of food needs different kind of pantry stock. For example, curry is essential for Indian food and shrimp paste for Indonesian dan Malaysian food. So, identify what kind of food you want to learn to cook first.
There is a range of food that you can stock for longer period of time or that you can repurpose into other kind of food. If you cook in the weekend, you can eat it the whole week.