Due to a struggling economy and thousands upon thousands of job losses, it has become increasingly hard for families just to obtain the basic necessities in life.
With the incredible spike in gas and food prices, families can barely afford the roof over their family’s heads and the clothes on their family’s back.
In addition, if you fail to fit into a specific category, even the “safety-net” programs established by the government (such as food stamps, peach-care for kids, and medicaid or medicare) are off limits.
So what is one to do with the limited amount of funds they are forced to live with? Is there a secret to successful and thrifty shopping?
Many of us have heard of individuals who have been able to feed their families off of just $20 a week! I’m not one of those mothers however, but I have found a common sense system that has helped my family keep our heads above water.
* Five Tips To Being A Successful And Thrifty Shopper.
1.) Educate Yourself On The Value Of Things.
Whether you’re purchasing food, clothing, furniture, major appliances, or other big ticket items, a successful and thrifty shopper would first consider the value of the purchase.
Whatever condition it is in (whether it’s new or used) a thorough inspection will help you to determine: a.) if it’s well made, b.) will be used or go to waste, c.) will last for a long time, d.)how much will it cost to operate and maintain, e.) will it cost more to repair or just purchase brand new; and so forth.
Depending on what you’re purchasing, size, age, and efficiency needs to be factored in as well.
2.) Educate Yourself On When To Buy.
More often than not, knowing when to buy is much more efficient than knowing where to buy.
For instance, buying clothes out of season will help your dollar stretch much more than if you bought in season. Therefore, purchase summer clothes during winter, and buy winter clothes during summer, since the stores will mark the out of season remnants down considerably.
In addition, try purchasing clothing at the very end of the season, since stores will be preparing to stock clothing from the new season. This rule can be applied to cars as well.
Purchasing a new car toward the end of the year is financially sound, since the lots are being prepared to bring in the new year models. Don’t forget to inquire about any warranties and bonus services that may accompany your automobile purchase as well.
This tip can be helpful even when shopping for grocery items. Opting for fruits and vegetables in season will help you cut down cost even in the grocery stores.
3.) Purchase Only What You Need.
There’s absolutely no room for impulse shopping in this formula. When you make a shopping list – stick to it!
Just to show you how easy it is to go beyond your budget, numerous surveys have made the claim that women planning to purchase 3 items in a market – without a list – will end up with 8 to 10 items; a man with nearly 20! This is all due to the strategic placing of products in the grocery stores and supermarkets.
Necessities such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and diary products are usually stocked far from checkout counters, forcing consumers to pass a bevy of products that they may not necessarily need. Tempting many to fill their carts with non-essentials before they have even begun to place one item of necessity in their shopping cart.
In addition, taking advantage of the store’s fliers and sales to make your dollar stretch further.
If you have children (some parents opt to shop sans children); to help them stay focused on what’s at hand and prevent them from asking for everything under the sun; tell them that you are on a mission and that they are your little sidekicks.
Tell them that you need their help to stick to what is on the list. Turn shopping into a game. Thereby, helping them resist the “mommy I want that” urge.
4.) Do Some Comparison Shopping.
By the use of ads and television commercials, observe what stores are running what sales. Instead of running all over town looking for deals, get to know your local shops and it’s prices. Get to know how long each sale runs, and sign up for different savings programs offered at different stores such as coupons via mail and Internet, and discount savings cards.
In addition, don’t be afraid of “no frills”, or “off brand” items. Most of these work and taste just as well as the name brand ones.
5.) Avoid Sneaky Shopping Traps.
Stores endeavor to promote impulse shipping among consumers in general. Clever store layout (such as high-profit items and junk foods stocked at the end-of-aisle displays); attractive packaging (such as products wrapped in colorful packages with eye catching lettering pictures); and strategically placing the most expensive items at eye level (the least expensive items are on the top and bottom) are common practices.
Even pricing has a role in impulse buying. For many, if they see items that are advertised for three at $1, they may feel compelled to make a purchase even if they don’t need it.
In addition, although coupons save money, they also promote sales. Many persons will buy products simply because they have a coupon. The only time coupons equal savings, is when you redeem them for the products you really need and use on a regular basis. If you don’t need it, don’t purchase it.
In addition to swap meets, thrift stores, and hand-me-downs, using these five simple tips will help you become a successful and thrifty shopper for life.