Money Management

5 Ways To Shop Within Your Budget

The expression “shop till you drop” could mean two things: the exhaustion of a wild shopping adventure (window gazing or otherwise), or it could also mean that you were struck down by the weight of the bills you accumulated after emerging from a shopping trance.

Fret not, avoid falling victim to it again with these practical tips to help you shop within your budget:

1. Are branded goods… good?

Some people use brands to define their background, social status and lifestyle. However, in their quest to portray the desired image, it can result in a deep dent in their pockets.

However, if done right, going after branded goods can mean saving some money. A prudent shopper goes for quality, instead of falling for some overzealous advertisements.

By opting to buy a more expensive branded pair of shoes that offer better quality, you can save money for not having to buy a new pair again for a long time.

All the same, it doesn’t hurt to experiment with other brands in your search for better quality products in the market. You will never know until you try. Ultimately, it may be worth your time and money.

2. Make a list and stick to it

Focus! Don’t allow distractions to derail your shopping trip. Know what you need and don’t be sidetracked by other products.

Before you leave your home to replenish your groceries, it’s wise to make a list of the things you need to buy – and most importantly, stick to the list. Gauge how much you need to spend on based on the list and try not to divert too much from the set amount.

3. Check your receipt

The biggest mistake most shoppers make are failing to check on their purchases and bills before leaving the payment counter. This is an extremely bad habit that everyone should be rid of. You need to make sure that you got exactly what you paid for.

It is fine to challenge any discrepancies at the payment counter even when there are impatient shoppers behind you. Chances are, they are also listening to the discrepancy you are highlighting. You may even get some support from these weary co-shoppers. Matters can be sorted out cordially and while you save, the rest of the shoppers will be reminded on the importance of checking their receipts on the spot.

4. Shop alone

Shopping frugally is best done alone. Shopping in a group often results in impulse purchases, mostly due to peer pressure.

If you are just planning for a short shopping trip with a specific budget in mind, it is always best to go without anyone who’d take you down the shopaholic path.

5. Shop on a full stomach

Have you ever been tempted by various delicacies put on display as you make your way from the parking to the grocery store? No matter how hard you try to stick to your shopping list, you find yourself distracted by the newly launched cream puffs that are selling at a great promotional price. This is especially common when one goes shopping with a child. Children may be the culprit of last minute expenditures in your supposedly short shopping trip.

Being truly fulfilled gastronomically helps to reduce aromatic temptations from the food outlets and allow you and your family to focus on what is needed first.

Living frugally needs willpower and discipline. However, with a game plan in mind, it may not require Herculean strength to not overspend. These five practical tips will definitely help you stick to your plan a bit more easily.

Do you have other tips you can share to avoid overspending while shopping for essentials?

This article was first published in April 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
iMoney Editorial

iMoney Editorial Team is composed of 4 writers with wide-ranging interests and areas of expertise. Their primary responsibility is to write financial-related articles to share and educate Malaysians on how to save, make and grow their money.

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