As someone who has taken careful steps to change my bad financial habits of the past, I make sure to save as much money as possible when spending my hard-earned cash. As far as shopping is concerned, it’s still a bit of a sport to me; but for very different reasons…
I used to be the girl who would shop for sport in terms of making mindless purchases all in the name of having the latest gadgets or fashions. I used to shop when I was bored, with friends as a social outing, when I was stressed, etc, etc, etc.
Now, I’m the girl who makes a sport out of saving money while shopping. I still do shop, but I’m now purchasing necessities and/or items I’ve saved and budgeted for.
Ways I Save Money While Shopping:
Shop Sales & Clearance Racks
I’m not too proud to sift through clearance bins during the semi-annual sale, nor am I too concerned with labels to pass up a well-structured, no-name item that is marked down to pennies on the dollar. Where most may see trash, I’m usually able to find treasure–with a bit of creativity, I’ve been able to style some very cute, unique outfits that have cost me less than $5 for everything I’m wearing.
My biggest haul from a savings rack? Combined with some coupons as I’ll talk about below, I once purchased an entire wardrobe for $483. If I had paid original prices for everything I bought? My total would have been over $3,700!
I love coupons, to an extent. You’ll never see me toting around a binder of neatly organized coupons through the grocery store, but you will see me using coupons in clever ways (speaking of grocery shopping, have you read my post about 19 easy changes you can make to cut your grocery bill?). For instance, I once piggy-backed expired coupons at Bed, Bath and Beyond to save an additional $17 off a $25 purchase. I still can’t figure out how that worked so well, but I’m not complaining about paying $8 for something that originally would have cost over $35 had it not been on sale as well!
To find my coupons, I usually look through the weekend circulars (when I have time; this happens maybe once every other month..haha!), read my junk mail (including emails!), and find mobile coupons to load onto my iPhone. I save all coupons I find because I’ve learned, more often than not if you’re polite in your request to a manager, they will usually honor expired coupons.
Shopping can still be a challenge for me because I can easily get caught up in the ‘buy, buy, buy’ mentality. Luckily, I’ve created some rules for myself that curb virtually all mindless spending and superfluous purchases.
First, I resolve to only buy what I need rather than what I want. To keep myself on the straight & narrow, I shop with a list and give myself a set amount of time during which I can shop. If the two hours is up, I’m headed home. This may sound extreme, but I’ve found that reducing the amount of time spent in a store is exactly what I need to do to help myself avoid impulse purchases (duh!).
Second, I remind myself of the lies we tell ourselves to rationalize spending. You’ve heard them before or perhaps have said them yourself: “I have no food”–when you’re standing in front of a packed refrigerator or “I have nothing to wear”–when you’re standing in front of your over-stuffed closet. Keeping these tendencies in mind is a great way to keep yourself focused on your goals while shopping or spending in general.
Top PF Blog
Before I get to the giveaway portion of this post, I want to take a minute to ask your help with voting for The Happy Homeowner. I’ve been nominated as one of the Top Personal Finance Blogs of 2012, and I’m thrilled! Please vote for me today–I’d be so happy if you did (just a few clicks; no entries, etc!).
Last but not least, I’m excited to be part of another giveaway. Today’s giveaway is for a $500 PayPal cash prize! It is brought to you by Rather-Be-Shopping.com, helping consumers save money with online coupons since 2000.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Photo credit: andrewarchy