You know the feeling: You run into the store to get just one thing, and pretty soon you’re sitting in the car with $40 less in your pocket wondering what the heck happened.
Stores depend on you making impulse buys and work hard to make sure you spend lots of money. But there are some simple ways to spend less at stores. It is possible to get out of the store with your wallet intact.
7 Simple Ways to Spend Less At Stores
These tips will help you save money and spend less, and I promise you, you don’t have to clip a single coupon. (Although couponing certainly help you save money if done correctly!). The best part is that some of these tips will save you time, too!
Shop with a very detailed list.
The more you plan your trip ahead of time, the more money you’ll save. Use coupon websites that match the deals with coupons or use a shopping app like Favado to plan your shopping trips. Organize your shopping lists by where things are inside the store. Less wandering the aisles means less opportunity to impulse shop.
Shop with cash.
Swap that debit or credit card for cold hard cash and you’ll save money at the store. Using cash forces you to stick to exactly the amount you want to spend. You simply can’t spend what you don’t have, so you’ll have to make some choices when an impulse buy tries to come home with you.
Or shop with discounted gift cards.
Shopping with gift cards can also help you save. You can earn free gift cards to your favorite stores by using a site like Swagbucks. Or you can purchase gift cards at a reduced rate through sites like Raise. You’ll save money on your trip to the store with minimal effort. And like cash, you can’t overspend a gift card.
Skip the shopping cart.
Those shopping carts are huge because the stores want you to fill them up. Grab a basket instead of a shopping cart and you’ll find that you buy significantly fewer items. Skip the basket and buy only what you can carry in your arms and you’ll save even more.
Unless your friend or family member is a total tightwad, it is almost always less expensive for you to shop alone. Leave the kids at home and you won’t feel tempted to reward them for good behavior with a purchase. Leave your friend at home so you won’t hear, “You would look fabulous in that outfit!” Consider shopping at times when the stores are less busy, too. You will find that you can focus on your shopping task much easier without the crowds. And you’ll get through the store checkout faster, too.
Watch the clock.
The longer you spend inside a store, the more dangerous it is for your budget. Set a time limit for your shopping trip, and you won’t have time to peruse the end-caps and clearance aisles. Set the alarm or timer on your cell phone to alert you when it’s time to go and you’ll get your shopping done in less time and with less expense.
Use your smartphone.
Smartphones are amazing tools for helping save money. You can use the calculator to figure unit prices. You can find mobile coupons for your favorite stores. You can check reviews on products and price compare. You can earn cash back on your purchases. One of my favorite ways to resist impulse buys is to take a photo of the item and add it to my wishlist. Then I wait a while to see if it’s something I really want. It’s easier to erase a photo from my phone than a debt from my credit card.
These simple tips can help you save at the grocery store, the drug store, and the department stores by helping you be a smarter, more efficient shopper.
Your turn: What are some ways you save money in stores?
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