From when you wake up in the morning, to when you go to sleep at night, you are overloaded with hundreds of advertisements, flashy products, and other more subtle marketing techniques. When you’re trying to live on a budget, these things are your enemy.
Here are some tips to avoid the urge to overspend.
- Make a list. And stick to it. Many times when we intend to make a shopping list, we end up getting in a rush and running out the door. And we also end up buying a lot of stuff we didn’t intend to and probably don’t need. The easiest way to write a list is to keep a notepad in your house and write and item down when you run out or realize you need it. Then, when you get to the store, only buy what’s on the list. If you want to try new things, search for freebies online to find out if you need it without paying for it.
- Never shop hungry…or sad, or angry. We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t shop hungry. And if you’ve ever decided to hold off eating to go food shopping, you know why. But hunger isn’t the only thing that can alter your spending habits. Many people are more likely to spend money when they are emotional as a compensation to make themselves feel better. While you can’t always control when you need to go shopping, try to hold off on your trip if you’re having a really bad day or are just really emotional. And always remember to eat a snack before heading into the grocery store.
- Never buy a product simply because it’s on sale. If you can get virtually the same product for a lower price tag, go ahead and do it. But if you never buy frozen dinners, don’t buy one just because it’s on sale. You end up leaving with a lot more than you meant and increase your spending.
- Buy only what you need, especially if it’s perishable. Often, stores offer sales only if you buy larger amounts of a product. Sure you get each one cheaper, but you end up spending more money in the end. And if the item is perishable, it may end up going to waste. If the item isn’t perishable, you still need to look at how the extra purchase will affect your budget. Saving a few dollars may not be worth it if you have to go without something else you really need or overdraft your checking account.
- Also, take a closer look at the policies of the stores you shop at. Stores like Wal-mart may put up at “2 for $10”, but if you only buy one, you still get the $5 price tag.
- Prioritize. Occasionally, even people on a budget can spoil themselves with little treats or even a large splurge, the key is not doing it all the time so you can stay within your budget. Make a list of all your expenses and prioritize them based on your wants and needs. Take care of each need in order. If you have money to spoil yourself when you get near the bottom of the list, then you know you can afford an extra purchase. Just remember to include a savings account near the top of your list in case of emergencies.
By watching yourself and using a little control, you can keep yourself from going overboard.