There comes a time when you just need to tighten those purse strings for a moment and to be more considerate of your spending. It’s important to have a budget that helps you live within your means and keep your finances in order. But having a budget doesn’t mean you don’t need to go shopping, whether for groceries or clothing. So, how can you shop when on a budget? Here are some of the best tips to make findings without damaging your bank account.
Always assess your needs
It might sound obvious, but most people still don’t follow the rule: buy only what you need. If you are on a tight budget, you can’t waste money on buying items you don’t have an actual need for. Instead of getting that new swimming suit to replace the one you bought just a week ago, you should spend the money on a cardigan you need but don’t currently own.
When you are thinking of buying something – anything from food items to household goods – take a moment and ask yourself why you want to buy it? Think about the reasons behind the shopping decisions and the functions you would use it for. Is it a one of need or will you be using it on a daily basis? Does it have any advantages, perhaps over other products?
Plan for your shopping
Whether you are thinking about buying groceries for the next week or adding a new TV to your home, planning is the key for budget-friendly shopping. If you plan what you are going to shop and how much you are able to spend, you are less likely to end up buying something you don’t even need or which costs much more than you wanted it to cost. Planning your shopping beforehand can help you identify a real need from an impulse shopping decision. It forces you to stop and think if you really need the item, the amount it will cost and most importantly if you can truly afford it.
Favour quality over quantity and price
It’s easy to fall for the thinking where you try to find the cheapest items you can get. When you are on a tight budget, spending as little as possible can seem like a great idea and buying in bulk might be tempting. But quality usually trumps quantity and spending just a bit more first can be cheaper in the long run.
If you are looking for quality clothing that will be in constant use, such as jeans, outdoor wear and work clothing, you might want to buy quality products. Shopping from retailers like Banana Republic and GAP can be a much better long-term investment to buying cheap from Primark. What’s more, if you plan your shopping well, you can use voucher codes and savings campaigns to cut the cost of those Banana Republic items!
But remember, there’s always a catch. There are certain things, which you should get in bulk or buy for cheaper. Things like underwear and socks, in addition to certain grocery stables, are not worth spending a fortune on, as they won’t last long anyway and are under heavy use.
Pick the right time to shop
You should also be smart about when you shop for certain items, as this can cut down your costs by a big margin. Groceries tend to be cheaper when bought in season. Therefore, you want to shop for vegetables and berries, which are currently produced in abundance and avoid using them outside of this. On the other hand, you will find clothing to be cheaper during so-called off-season. Summer clothing, for instance, will cost more if bought right before the season instead of the final days of the summer. So, if you can, always pick your seasonal clothing towards the end of the season.
Look for discounts
Always check if there are discounts available before you purchase an item. You shouldn’t just walk into a shop or click the ‘checkout’ button online before doing a bit of research. You can find plenty of discounts online from vouchering sites and even the stores themselves. Furthermore, don’t be brand elitist, but look around if a similar item is cheaper or on sale from a different retailer or brand.
Related to the above point about picking the right time to shop, you should also consider saving your major purchases to big sale periods such as the Boxing Day sales or Summer Clearances. Waiting to buy that new 4k TV at Currys can wait a bit longer if it means the purchase will better fit your budget.
Shopping doesn’t need to end when you are faced with a limited budget. In fact, having a budget can help you make better shopping decisions, especially if you follow the above tips. Saving money while spending money is possible – you just need to plan and focus!