Welcome to my 5-part series: The Five W’s of How I Shop. As a former newspaper reporter, I often focused on the Five W’s of writing – Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Since I often get asked about how I shop, and I’ve decided to share this series with you in the hopes that it will make you think about how you shop. Consider your own five W’s and it will help you become a better frugal shopper.
When I Shop
As the old saying goes, “Timing is everything,” so goes shopping. Shopping at the right times can save you money. Here are some tips I use to time my shopping.
Shop in the early morning or late at night. You’ll find there are less crowds and more products on the shelves at these times.. You’ll have time to do price checks and find coupons for items on clearance without feeling rushed. If you’re planning a coupon heavy trip, go during the store’s less busy times. Cashiers are less likely to make mistakes, and you’ll have time to make sure every coupon rang up. Shopping during the early hours or late at night is a good strategy for shopping online as well. Many sites, especially photo sites, slow down during peak traffic times, meaning it will take you longer to find what you want and check out.
Shop when you’re full. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. You’ll end up with lots of impulse buys if you’re grocery shopping. And if you’re not shopping for groceries, you’ll feel grouchy and rushed. The only exception to this is on stores that offer free food sample days. Then skip lunch and nibble on freebies at the store. Just sample, take the coupons, and don’t feel pressure to buy.
Shop when you have the money. This can be difficult, especially during the holidays, but if you’re determined to get out of debt and live a frugal life, you must avoid the stores when you’re broke.
Shop when you’re happy. Emotional spending is just as unhealthy as emotional eating. Don’t shop angry, and don’t shop sad. Try to find a time when you’re in a good mood and feeling energized.
Shop at the end of the season. End-of-the-season clearances are my favorite types of sales. It’s a great time to stock up on clothing for the next year or holiday decor. We’ve gotten great deals on winter clothing for my three boys and I got Valentine’s Day cards for my son for next year for only 17 cents by waiting until the clearance sale.
Shop when you have the time to shop. I know that this isn’t always possible, but it can help you save a lot of money. When you’re rushed your more likely to impulse buy or make simple couponing mistakes. You can always find a few extra minutes to save a little money when shopping.
Please share your thoughts on when you shop and check out my other posts in The Five W’s of How I Shop series.