Shopping on a budget can be a really tricky thing to master. Once you do wrap your head around it and view it as more of a lifestyle choice than a boring restriction, however, it can be a very useful life skill to have. But how can shopping on a budget be made simple? Here are my 3 top tips!
Be honest with yourself
Personally I think that the simplest way to stick within a budget is to ask yourself this simple question, “Is this something that I need or is it something that I want?” Answering this one question honestly can help to keep a few more pennies in your pocket rather than in somebody else’s.
For example, let’s say that it’s the January sales and you head down to your local supermarket to do your weekly food shop, only to be hit with the biggest sale in clothes and homeware that you’ve ever seen! You’re instantly drawn to a pair of brown leather boots with a big SALE sticker on them. What do you do? Do you walk straight past and head to the frozen food section to distract yourself with something very boring, or, do you try them on, taking the risk that you might fall head over heels in love? I think that making the decision between walking away from something or not is the result of that well used question, “do I need this or do I want it?” If this is answered honestly you could save yourself a lot of heartache as well as money. Of course, we are allowed to treat ourselves to something that we want every now and then but that is what it should be, a treat, not something that happens every time we walk into a shop.
Another way of sticking to a budget is to write lists. These can be grocery lists that are great for stopping you from picking up those impulse buys that are conveniently placed all around the supermarket, or, they might be lists for other shops too. Perhaps you’re in need of some things for the house, for example, so you head off to Ikea. Now, this can be a very risky thing to do without a list because we all know that you can walk into Ikea with one item in mind, and walk out with about 20!
Writing a list of what it is that you need should make it easier to resist any unnecessary impulse buys. I know that taking lists everywhere seems like a really boring thing to do, but it’s crazy how easy it is to stay focused on what you need when you have them written down in front of you. I should confess here that I LOVE LISTS!
Leave your bank card at home
If you know exactly what it is that you are needing to buy, why not take enough cash out to the shops to cover your purchase and leave your bank card or credit card at home? This way, you are guaranteed to stay within your budget and the thought of wandering down the clothes and shoes aisle just seems completely pointless. However, if you don’t feel comfortable going out without your bank card, you could always leave it in the car while you go shopping so if there is some form of emergency, you’re not stranded without any money.
So there we are, some easy ways to make sticking to your budget that bit easier. Like I said, budgeting can be one of the most difficult (and annoying) things that we may have to do, but hopefully by using some of these simple tips it can become so easy that we don’t even have to think about it. We all deserve a treat every now and then, but treats do seem to feel much more well deserved when you know how hard you’ve have been working to live within your means.
Do you have any tips on how to live within a budget?