3 min read
smart shopping

With the uncertainty of the economy, we must remember to purchase the things we need first. Needs are a necessity. It is okay to buy some of the things you want. However, you should never take the money you have set aside for your needs to purchase things that you want. Some people are experts at spending money and enjoy it. However, few people are experts at saving money.

Create a Spending Plan

In order to keep from overspending, be wise and create a spending plan (budget). Creating a spending plan will help you stay on track and meet your financial goals. Whether you are a spender or a saver, creating a spending plan has proven to be the best tool to keep track of your money.

Do not spend more money than you have in your account. Try to spend less than you earn. It will be very difficult to spend less if you do not have a spending plan. People who do not plan how they are going to spend their money are not successful at managing it. Remember, if you do not have a plan, you are more likely not to reach a goal.

Holiday Planning

As you are preparing to shop for the holiday season, be smart about your spending. Whenever you shop, consider shopping at the beginning of the sale for the best selection. Conduct research to ensure the sale price is a definite bargain. Sometimes, items may not be a hot buy and the discount is not as great as you think. Read the reviews to make sure you are purchasing a quality product and not overpaying.

As a smart shopper, be mindful that some stores sales are advertised to dispose of obsolete and damage goods. In some cases, stores may also have sales to remove old goods to add new ones to reduce stock. Whenever you shop, overspending is very easy to do. People with any amount of money overspend from time to time. To avoid this mistake, create a list to use as a guide while you shop. You don’t have to be a financial expert to make good purchasing decisions. Consider setting a specific amount of money aside for shopping if you have not already done so. This will be beneficial and keep you from spending money that you need to use for other financial obligations including: rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, and loan payments.

Shopping Tactics

Try not to get caught up in the store purchase savings tactic. Most stores offer discounts on purchases if you apply for store credit cards. Be aware of the purchase savings in exchange for a store credit card, if approved. Customers are normally offered a certain percentage such as 10 to 20 percent off of their purchase in exchange for a credit check to see if they qualify for a store credit card. It is good to know that each time an inquiry is made concerning your credit worthiness, your credit score drops by a few points whether approved or disapproved for the card. If you are trying to build or rebuild credit, this would not be a wise decision. Never exceed 13 percent interest on loans and know what you pay in interest and fees. Researching how your interest is being calculated is a smart thing to know.

It is a great idea to know the store policy where you are doing business. Knowing if you can return an item or if the sale is final could potentially save you from frustrations later. If an item is outdated or out of style, this may be a waste of money depending on the purpose of the purchase that was made. Keep in mind that bargains are not bargains unless they are useful to you, the buyer.

Shop Smart

If you are having financial difficulties and need money to shop, try having a garage sale, or sell excess produce at a Farmer’s Market. Another ideal is to barter goods and services without having to trade cash. You can also recycle, sell on eBay or Craig’s List, get a part-time job, or work extra hours.

The smartest thing any shopper can do is to save in advance for upcoming seasonal events or shopping in general. Holiday seasons will come and go but financial obligations will remain. Make sure your bills are paid on time. This will help to improve your credit score as well as keep the creditors award.

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