Photo: charlesdeluvio / Unsplash
There are two types of people in this world: those who like to shop and those who do not. Regardless of which category you fall into, shopping can be a rewarding or frustrating experience – it all depends on how you approach it.
Shopping smart means you’ll save money and time, which benefits even the most enthusiastic shoppers among us. Below, we give you several tips to help you shop wisely, no matter what you’re in the market to acquire.
1. Comparison Shop
Let’s say you’re looking for some new pots and pans. You could buy the first pretty set that catches your eye – likely paying way too much for it – or you could take your time, compare cookware sets for price and features, and choose the one that meets your needs and budget best. It might take a little longer to find the right cookware set, but the monetary savings will be worth it.
2. Always Shop with a List
Never, ever go shopping without a list. Having a list in hand ensures you don’t forget the things you need and deters you from making impulse purchases you’ll regret later. When you shop with a list, you don’t have to stress about remembering everything, which enables you to concentrate on finding the best of each item on your list. You’ll save time because you won’t be wandering all over the store chasing forgotten items from aisles you already visited. You’ll also save money because your attention will be directed only to the things on your list.
3. Know Your Budget Before You Enter the Store
Set a budget before you enter the store. Knowing what you have to spend keeps you from buying things you don’t need and regretting the purchases later. Having a budget can be deflating, especially if you love to shop, but in today’s economy, where money is tight more often than not, having a budget in mind before a shopping trip can make the task a lot less stressful. Besides, it’s a rewarding experience when you realize you actually spent less than your budget and have a little extra money in your wallet.
4. Have a Plan
Shopping is a stressful task for many people, but having a plan in place beforehand can help reduce that stress. For example, if you need to visit multiple stores to complete your shopping trip, decide the order in which you’ll visit them all. That way, you won’t forget anything and end up backtracking.
If you’re walking to the store, consider the number and weight of the items you’ll be purchasing. Can you carry it all in bags, or should you have a cart to haul it? If you’re going to carry your bags, purchase the heaviest items last to avoid having to lug them around the store as you shop.
5. Don’t Shop in a Poor Frame of Mind
Shopping can be therapy for some people, but this is a bad habit to get into as it might cause you to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need just to feel better. A good rule is to never shop when you’re tired, hungry, sad, upset, lonely, bored, or otherwise attempting to escape a negative frame of mind. Your emotions are powerful, and they can cause you to justify the excess spending as necessary or “well deserved.” Retail therapy can be helpful, but don’t rely on it to solve your problems.
Whether you like to shop or not, the tips above should help you shop wisely.