shopping lists http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9854/all en-US The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_christmas_50816262.jpg" alt="Following a simple holiday budget anyone can follow" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Promised yourself that you'd finally make a solid budgeting plan this holiday season &mdash; and stick to it? We've got your covered with these simple steps anyone can follow to stay in the black when the red and green take over.</p> <h2>1. Set Aside Only the Amount You Can Afford</h2> <p>So many people start the New Year in debt solely because of overspending during the holidays. You don't want that burden on your back. Rather, when planning your budget, allot only an amount you can actually afford, preferably in cash already saved, to the gifts you'd like to buy.</p> <p>&quot;Do not go into debt with holiday spending,&quot; warns consumer expert Kevin Gallegos. &quot;Making that commitment means changing your mindset. It may be telling yourself that giving people what they think they deserve is a mistake. You'll also want to avoid the trap of feeling you must give a gift equal to what someone gave you last year, or creating a perfect ski slope of presents under the tree. Chances are that your family and friends really don't want you to suffer financially in order to give them bigger gifts.&quot;</p> <p>It also stands to reason that they may not have returned the gesture in kind, either. So there's that.</p> <h2>2. Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending</h2> <p>Before you ever leave the house &mdash; or turn on the computer to shop online &mdash; you should establish how much you plan to spend this season and perhaps even on each person on your list. Having a specific number in mind will not only provide a guide as to what your limit is, but it will also help you choose the perfect gift for everyone based on how much money you've assigned to them.</p> <p>Alexis Nido-Russo is the owner of Chicago-based online jewelry store Local Eclectic, and she offers a very specific way on how to break down your holiday budget.</p> <p>&quot;Determine what your total budget for the holidays is, then map out who you have to buy for and assign percentages to each person or category,&quot; she says.</p> <p>For example, if there are six people on your list and your total budget is $1,000, perhaps your percentage breakdown looks something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Husband: 20% or $200</li> <li>Daughter: 30% or $300</li> <li>Mother: 15% or $150</li> <li>Sister: 15% or $150</li> <li>Mother-in-law: 10% or $100</li> <li>Best Friend: 10% or $100</li> </ul> <p>Of course, your specific budget and who appears on the list will vary. You also can shift numbers around if you find the right gift at a lower cost, or you can send that money back to your savings account where it'll better serve you. Also remember to factor in ancillary holiday expenses too, which can absolutely decimate your budget if you're not careful; things like holiday cards and postage, teacher gifts, travel costs, and food and drinks for entertaining.</p> <h2>3. Gather Your Coupons and Discounts</h2> <p>Go through your favorite circulars, emails, and apps to scrounge up all the deals and savings you can &mdash; then start to map out a plan of attack. For example, I'm on the email lists of many of my favorite retailers who send me a seemingly never-ending stream of promotional messages throughout the year, but especially around holiday time. (I recommend <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-email-trick-will-save-you-big-on-shopping">creating a dummy email account</a> for this to preserve your sanity, by the way.) Because I'm privy to insider information, I try to schedule my shopping around their biggest sales and pair them with additional saving that I may have from mailers, previous shopping trips, or in my text messages &mdash; all of which are excellent ways to receive additional discounts.</p> <h2>4. Make Cuts to Your Gift-Giving List</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd buy presents for everyone we know during the holidays &mdash; but that's just not feasible. So instead of trying to sneak everyone in because you feel obligated to purchase something, stick to those closest to you.</p> <p>&quot;If your shopping list includes more than five people outside of your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your gift list,&quot; suggests Rachel Namoff, managing partner of Denver-based asset management firm Arapaho Asset Management. &quot;Then, make a homemade gift, like cookies, to give to all the people you snipped from your original gift list. Ensure you spread the holiday cheer without looking like a Scrooge while enjoying a fun activity with the family.&quot;</p> <p>If you still feel like you may be blindsided by a rogue gift for which you have a return gift, there are a few things you can do:</p> <ul> <li>Update your status on social media that details your holiday shopping plan and who's on the list. Remember, there's no shame in being on a budget, especially if money is already tight.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Contact people directly and let them know that you won't be able to exchange this year if gift giving to one another was established in the past.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Keep your unwanted gifts in storage to have at the ready so you can provide something in return if you feel so obligated.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Enlist the Help of Budgeting Apps</h2> <p>If you're not particularly financial or budget savvy, you can find help online. In fact, there are plenty of mobile apps that'll keep your holiday budget just a few taps of the finger away so you can access it while in real time while you're shopping. Gallegos recommends apps from Mint or Quicken to simplify the process, but there are plenty of others available &mdash; and we've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">detailed them in abundance here on Wise Bread</a> &mdash; that will track your spending down to the cent.</p> <h2>6. Thoughtful Homemade Gifts Are Cherished and Inexpensive</h2> <p>Namoff suggested baking cookies for those you're trimming from your main list this year, but there's no reason you can't extend this homemade concept to the more important people in your life. I'm admittedly materialistic &mdash; I love my stuff &mdash; but I'm not devoid of sentiment, thus I prefer thoughtful, handmade items over anything store-bought because I know what kind of time and effort goes into a gift like that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso">You Can Make These 23 Delicious Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <p>Another argument for going this route is that most people in your life rarely need anything that they don't already buy themselves. Personally, if I want something, I save for it and buy it; I don't wait to pawn it off on someone else at Christmas. Certainly I have provided a list of items to my family in the past, but those are merely suggestions and nothing that I need. What I need to know is that you care, and the best way to do that is to sit down and think about how to put a smile on my face at holiday time, and you'll get that reaction from me if you spent more time than money on my gift.</p> <h2>7. Stop Waiting Until the Last Minute to Do Your Shopping</h2> <p>They say the early bird gets the worm, and that's completely true at holiday time. While there are plenty of arguments on why Black Friday isn't necessarily the day you'll get the best deals &mdash; there are amazing offers all times of year and even between Thanksgiving and Christmas &mdash; but you will absolutely do yourself a disservice by waiting until Christmas Eve to buy presents.</p> <p>For starters, by then the pickins will be slim, and you're probably going to disappoint your loved ones with your laziness. Secondly, if you're an online shopper, you will often spend an incredible amount of money on shipping charges the last couple days before the big day, and even then you're not guaranteed that it'll arrive on time in some cases. Save yourself the headache, heartbreak, and surcharges by scheduling your shopping at least a couple weeks before the holiday.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping apps Christmas coupons discounts gifts Holidays homemade gifts presents saving shopping lists Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:31:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1815065 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money by Trusting Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-trusting-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-by-trusting-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-4385889-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every day I hear about people contorting their finances because they don't trust themselves to be responsible. Avoid the contortions. You can save a lot by trusting yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-all-your-money">It's All Your Money</a>)</p> <p>Of course, there's a second step. You have to be worthy of that trust.</p> <h2>Trust Yourself in the Grocery Store</h2> <p>I wrote about one small version on this a while ago, in a post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Buying Groceries European-Style</a>. It was a reaction against the idea that <em>sticking to your list</em> was the only way to avoid making budget-destroying impulse buys. My point was that if it keeps you from buying stuff cheap when there's an unadvertised sale, sticking to your list <em>costs</em> you money. Much better is to trust yourself to make the right decision there in the grocery store.</p> <p>Of course then you have to be worthy of that trust. Going off your list to buy asparagus because it's fresh and cheap, or to buy a roast for 75% off because it's almost at its sell-by date are great ideas. Going off your list because they put a new flavor of pretzels near the checkout line is a bad idea. (Which is not to say that you can't put pretzels on your list.)</p> <h2>Trust Yourself With Credit</h2> <p>A much bigger deal is using credit safely. Especially if you don't have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">a proper emergency fund</a>, a judicious use of credit can save you a lot of money.</p> <p>The specific example that prompted this post was a radio story about how the rent-to-own model had moved into the tire business. A woman interviewed for the story was making weekly payments to rent tires. If she made all the weekly payments she'd own the tires, but she'd have paid double what they would have cost if she'd just charged them on a credit card. The woman explained that she didn't have access to credit &mdash; and further, that she didn't <em>want</em> access to credit, because she couldn't be trusted with credit.</p> <p>If you can trust yourself to use credit only when it saves you money &mdash; to avoid having the power turned off, costing you a reconnect fee (plus the contents of your refrigerator), to avoid having your car insurance canceled, costing you your drivers license (plus all the money you'll ever earn, if you're in an accident) &mdash; you can save thousands of dollars a year.</p> <p>If you're not worthy of that trust &mdash; if you use credit to live beyond your means &mdash; you can very quickly ruin your life.</p> <h2>Trust Yourself With Cash</h2> <p>Probably the first story I wrote on this topic was a short bit from back in 2007, in which I recommended that people <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carry-some-cash">carry some cash</a>. I got a lot of comments from people who couldn't trust themselves with cash &mdash; if they had money in their pocket, they spent it.</p> <p>My point was that, even in this age of debit cards and online payments, there are still some problems that are most easily solved with actual cash money. If you can trust yourself with cash, you're in a position to solve those problems in the easiest way.</p> <p>It is entirely possible to <em>decide</em> how much you want to spend and what you want to spend it on &mdash; and then actually spend <em>exactly that much</em> to buy <em>exactly those things</em>. And if you can do that, it doesn't make any difference whether you have cash or plastic in your wallet, or both.</p> <h2>Trust Yourself to Be Productive</h2> <p>As a personal example, when I quit working a regular job I had to trust myself to be productive without a manager to monitor my productivity. This was a big deal for me, because I'd always thought of myself as a fundamentally lazy person. I thought there was a real danger that, having no boss to check up on whether I was getting stuff done, I might not get anything done.</p> <p>Instead, it turned out to unleash my productivity. I've written over four hundred Wise Bread posts, other writing assignments here and there, and continued with my fiction writing. I've done it while helping my wife run our household, improving my diet, and greatly improving my exercise regime (to the point that I'm in the best shape of my life).</p> <p>It was a great insight to realize that, all those years I thought I was lazy, I just didn't want to do stuff that wasn't what I wanted to do. Once I trusted myself to be productive at the stuff I did want to do, I was able to improve practically everything about my life.</p> <p>Trusting myself turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.</p> <h2>Trust Yourself &mdash; and Be Worthy of That Trust</h2> <p>The key, of course, is that trusting yourself only saves you money if you're worthy of that trust.</p> <p>Can you trust yourself to make the right decision on the spur of the moment? I think anybody &mdash; no matter how easily swayed by advertising, no matter how susceptible to the lure of shiny things &mdash; can develop the ability to make the right decision about small matters. Getting it right in the grocery store is not hard, and if you make the occasional mistake (and come home with a bag of expensive pretzels in the latest flavor) your actual loss is small.</p> <p>With big decisions the stakes are higher. It's worth creating some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">structure to support making wise decisions</a>. The most basic structure, of course, is a budget &mdash; think about what you want and arrange your finances so that you get as much of what you want as possible. (Budgeting is <em>not</em> about denying yourself stuff. Budgeting is about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">getting what you want most</a>.) By deciding in advance, you reduce the chance that you'll see something that's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/needs-wants-and-not-even-wants">so, so shiny</a> that you simply must have it now, only to realize only later that there's other stuff you'd rather have.</p> <p>A budget is a tool. So is a shopping list &mdash; it's another useful tool. Of course, there's a difference between having a shopping list so that you don't forget something you need and having a shopping list that you won't deviate from, even if you see something fresh and cheap that you want. The former is a tool. The latter is a shackle that you're locking yourself into.</p> <p>To my mind, creating a budget is the ultimate expression of self-trust &mdash; it's a concrete step that you've taken to empower smart decision making.</p> <p>When I talk about &quot;contorting your finances,&quot; I'm taking about something different. I'm taking about concrete steps taken to disempower stupid decision making. For example, many people put a physical obstacle in the way of making poor decisions &mdash; only carry a few dollars in your wallet, keep your credit cards locked in your desk, etc. If you want to spend more than you've budgeted, you have to make a special ATM visit. If you want to charge something on a credit card, you have to home and get the card. (An extreme version of that I've seen is to freeze your credit cards in a block of ice, so as to put it that many more minutes away from use.)</p> <p>These sorts of tricks are generally harmless, but I tend not to recommend them. Like a crutch, some people may find them indispensable. But also like a crutch, it's better to develop the strength and balance you need to get along without it if you possibly can.</p> <p>More drastic measures, such as not having credit cards at all, can do real harm to your finances &mdash; as in the case of the woman renting-to-own her car tires. That's a lifestyle choice beyond merely using a crutch; it's more like using a leg brace. Again, if you really need it, it's better than having to do without it. But if you can develop trust in yourself &mdash; and then be worthy of that trust &mdash; you're ahead of the game.</p> <p>I recommend it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-trusting-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth">Has Cash Become More Trouble Than It&#039;s Worth?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-disgusting-fake-game-show-asks-what-would-you-do-for-money">My disgusting fake game show asks &quot;What would you do for money?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle cash shopping lists trust Tue, 18 Jun 2013 09:36:34 +0000 Philip Brewer 978189 at http://www.wisebread.com Buy Your Groceries European-Style http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buy-your-groceries-european-style" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-cold-meats-fruit.jpg" alt="Groceries Cold Meats Fruit" title="Groceries Cold Meats Fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make a grocery list and stick to it? That's a piece of advice that'll cost you a lot of money. The theory, I guess, is that you're so terribly prone to impulse buying that you can't be trusted to wander free in a grocery store. The reality, though, is that you can save a lot of money if you can make yourself trustworthy.</p> <p>I was actually taught to make a shopping list in school. I think it was part of the health curriculum &mdash; the same unit where we learned the four food groups. It came as part of a whole scheme that involved checking the grocery store ads, basing a menu around what was cheap, and then creating a shopping list for the week. It's an adequate shopping strategy, not so unreasonable for someone who works full time and can barely fit in a once-a-week trip to the grocery store. But it means that you're both <strong>paying more</strong> and <strong>missing out on the freshest, best-looking food</strong>.</p> <p>I think of the alternative as &quot;European-style&quot; shopping, although it was perfectly ordinary in the United States as well, back in the days when people shopped at grocery stores, back before the invention of the supermarket. It still works fine, though, even in a supermarket.</p> <p>When I'm buying groceries for the household, I shop almost every day. Instead of planning a menu in advance, I go to the store and look around to see what looks good. That way, I can get whatever's fresh and cheap.</p> <p>Meat in particular gets marked down as it approaches its sell-by date. You can't do much with that sort of deal if you only shop once a week, because you won't want to be cooking meat a week after its sell-by date. However, since I'm going to cook it that same day, I'm perfectly happy buying something on its sell-by date &mdash; at which point it's often been marked down to a fraction of its regular price.</p> <p>I rarely find such great deals in produce, but whatever's local and in-season is usually cheap, and there's no substitute for browsing in person for finding what looks best.</p> <p>So, that's what I do. I may make a list to remind me of any regular items that I need to get, but then I look to see what looks good and what's cheap. Since I know I have a pantry full of staples, I'm confident that I can make a meal out of whatever I find. (I talk about those skills in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugalize-any-recipe">Frugalize Any Recipe</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>.)</p> <p>It may seem like a lot of effort to go shopping every day, but it's actually a quick and easy trip. Since I'm only getting a few items, it doesn't take very long and I can do it on foot.</p> <p>It's easy to do &mdash; in fact, you can even combine buying cheap and fresh food with weekly shopping (although you wouldn't want to stock up on meat close to its sell-by date). All you have to do is trust yourself to go for good deals on real food instead of making impulse buys of stuff you shouldn't be eating anyway &mdash; and then be worthy of that trust.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-your-groceries-european-style">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-on-budget-while-eating-paleo">How to Stay on Budget While Eating Paleo</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youll-waste-money-on-this-thanksgiving">10 Things You&#039;ll Waste Money on This Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping cheap groceries groceries shopping lists Mon, 22 Mar 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Philip Brewer 5949 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 C's to Keep You Frugal While Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/6-cs-to-keep-you-frugal-while-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-cs-to-keep-you-frugal-while-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5898105155_7e39e82a86_z.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We can all relate to going into a store for &ldquo;just a few things&rdquo; and wheeling out a shopping cart loaded to the brim of things you really didn't need but called to you all the same - &ldquo;BUY ME!&rdquo; Each of us may have fallen victim to an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap">impulse buy</a> (or many) over their lifetime but fear not &ndash; those stores pay marketing gurus top dollar to make sure you can't resist those buys so it's not entirely your fault. But there are some things you can do to fight back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-really-save-money-when-you-shop">How to Really Save Money When You Shop</a>)</p> <p>When you prepare to go on a shopping trip, there are certain things, 6 in fact, that you should equip yourself with before heading out. By ensuring the following 6 C's are in your wallet, you might stand a better chance of remaining frugal and leaving with only what you have gone in to buy.</p> <p><em><strong>May I present the 6 C's:</strong></em></p> <h2>Cash</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to overspend is to bring your credit cards to the store with you. Many people get into credit card debt by considering it to be extra income instead of something that needs to be paid off each month. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">Bringing cash</a> with you will limit the amount you can actual spend to what you are able to spend according to your budget. Some will argue about missing out on credit card rewards such as cash back deals but if you are strong enough in your willpower, you can predetermine the amount you can afford to spend and tuck that amount of cash into an envelope at home to ensure you can pay off your credit card debt in full each month. This way you get cash back and still maintain great credit, all the while not going over your spending budget. If you can't be trusted with credit cards, stick with cash.</p> <h2>Concise Shopping List</h2> <p>Never just &ldquo;run in for a few things&rdquo;. Instead, have a plan. Keep a notepad on the refrigerator and add to it throughout the week so you will always know what you need for each trip. Limit your trips to once a week and take the shopping list with you. Stick to buying only what is on the list. This helps you focus on only what you needs, avoid the temptations, and gives you more time to comparison shop for quality and price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list">7 Tips for Streamlining Your Shopping List</a>)</p> <h2>Coupons</h2> <p>In addition to your shopping list, prepare before you leave home by sorting through the coupons relevant to the things on your list. If you have less to struggle with and make a point to bring the coupons you can actually use with you each time, you are more inclined to use them and actually remember to take them with you. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-great-coupon-debate">Coupons aren't as great </a>as they used to be but hey- savings is savings. Get the most out of the time you have spend clipping, sorting and storing each week.</p> <h2>Calculator</h2> <p>If you have never taken a calculator with you to the store, it is likely you've underestimated your shopping total at the register from time to time. Instead of the surprise, you will need to ensure you are staying on or under budget, especially if you plan to pay with cash. Keep tabs on your spending by calculating all of the items you put into your cart. You'll never go over budget in the cashier's line again.</p> <h2>Candy</h2> <p>It's true what they say &ndash; Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You will likely buy way more &ldquo;wants&rdquo; rather than &ldquo;needs&rdquo; to satisfy your rumbling tummy. If you haven't time to grab something before hitting the aisles, make a habit of keeping some candy, gum or even a bottle of water, in your bag to keep your mouth occupied during your shopping excursion.</p> <h2>Children's Picture</h2> <p>For shoppers with kids, keep a picture of their sweet faces in front of your credit card or in the money holder part of your wallet. Let their picture serve as a reminder of why it is important to save (emergencies, college, retirement) money each month. Switching your money priorities can be a strong motivator to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-savings" title="Supermarket Savings Guide">save more</a> and ignore impulsive buys more often.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cs-to-keep-you-frugal-while-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity">Can I Conquer My Vanity for the Sake of My Sanity?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-you-might-not-know-about-your-local-thrift-store">Things You Might Not Know About Your Local Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance frugality impulse buys saving money shopping shopping lists Thu, 14 May 2009 18:50:58 +0000 Tisha Tolar 3163 at http://www.wisebread.com Supermarket Shopping for Savers: 6 Ways to Avoid Their Tricky Traps http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-shopping-for-savers-6-ways-to-avoid-their-tricky-traps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/supermarket-shopping-for-savers-6-ways-to-avoid-their-tricky-traps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/supafry.jpg" alt="market displays" title="market displays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Going to the supermarket and sticking to a list is an exercise in discipline and requires fortitude and resilience of epic proportions. Employing tips like <em>&ldquo;don&rsquo;t shop when you&rsquo;re hungry&rdquo;</em>, <em>&ldquo;look for the no-name brand&rdquo;</em>, and <em>&ldquo;avoid the checkout counter displays&rdquo;</em> are simply damage control for an experience that (if you are like me) categorically breaks the budget.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But most of us still need to shop, and supermarkets often offer the best prices and selection. In some cases, the supermarket is all we have. <strong>Here are six tips on how to get in and get out without going over your budget:</strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Put Blinders On</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Staple foods (like eggs and milk) are often located at the back of the store. And for good reason: the only way to get there is to walk through aisles upon aisles of temptation. If all you need is a quart of milk, then do not allow yourself to get sidetracked by an &ldquo;amazing deal&rdquo; (see below) on something you don&rsquo;t really need.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Be Wary of Amazing Deals</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Many people (myself included) look for sales, and will often formulate the week&rsquo;s menu accordingly. However the supermarket marketing gurus are on to us: when your eyes scan the shelves looking for the sale stickers, take a peek at the original price before you decide that it&rsquo;s a steal; you may find that the amazing deal is a discount of a whole whopping 8 cents. Now I&rsquo;m all for a deal, but 8 cents is not enough incentive to buy that can of corn for a dish I may not have otherwise used the corn for.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">That Special Display is Just for Show</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">The gondolas (displays at the end of each aisle, and racks of product hung where shelves join) and other special displays - be they seasonal promotions or just a mountain of cases of pop in the middle of the floor - are also tricky traps. You may automatically assume that they are featuring sale items, since they are prominently displayed and have a neon sign highlighting the price. Again, buyer beware: check the original price and compare it to other similar products. Often the items displayed on gondolas are actually more expensive, be they on sale or not. Only after some due diligence should you decide if that pretty pyramid of product is really meant to compliment your shopping cart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">&ldquo;Complimentation&rdquo; &ndash; the Ultimate Distraction</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Coffee or tea is on your list. And before you know it, a package of yummy-looking biscuits that are temptingly displayed next to the coffee and tea is also in your cart. Then you head for the pasta aisle, and walk out with an over-priced pesto sauce that simply looked too good to resist. Be wary of items which compliment each other that are positioned near one another in the supermarket. If you aren&rsquo;t the sort to rigidly stick to a list, complimentary items will jump off the shelves and into your cart before you know what happened.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Watch the Checkout Like a Hawk</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">You may not remember the exact prices for everything that is in your cart, but you likely have a good idea of what you will be charged, especially if you picked up a few sale items and are proud of it. But upon reaching the checkout, you could well discover that those items you thought were on sale are not scanning through as such &ndash; either because the actual sale item was next to or below the one you picked up (a very sly maneuver on the part of grocery stores), or because the scanner codes were &ldquo;accidentally&rdquo; never adjusted.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If there is a huge line up behind you and you don&rsquo;t want to cause a stir with the check-out clerk (who will likely have to call for assistance and stare belligerently at you while you both wait for somebody to run around the store doing price checks), then simply march your items and receipt up to customer service and politely point out the discrepancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Try a Cupboard Special</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">After reading this, are you angry at supermarkets for their little ploys and marketing decoys? Great! Skip your next scheduled trip to the supermarket! See what you can scrounge up from the dark corners of your cupboards or frost-bitten freezer, and get creative. Some of my best meals have been dubbed &ldquo;cupboard specials&rdquo;, making use of what I have on hand when supplies start to dwindle.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Does anybody have some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-savings" title="Supermarket Savings Guide">supermarket saving tips</a> of their own? Let&rsquo;s beat sneaky stores at their own game!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-shopping-for-savers-6-ways-to-avoid-their-tricky-traps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff">Never Order Fish on Mondays and 7 Other Bad Days to Buy Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-ive-learned-from-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget">10 Things I&#039;ve Learned From Grocery Shopping on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Shopping budget grocery shopping grocery stores impulse shopping shopping lists supermarkets Mon, 29 Sep 2008 22:10:17 +0000 Nora Dunn 2470 at http://www.wisebread.com