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The Frugal Family: 5 Tips for Shopping Smarter

grocery cart with word SAVE inside - concept for shopping smarter

Learn How to Save on Your Next Shopping Trip by Shopping Smarter

For many families trying to live a frugal lifestyle, a weekend shopping trip can be anxiety-inducing. The constant fear of overspending adds unneeded pressure on a very common occurrence. You shouldn’t be embarrassed by these feelings. Families struggling with debt or spending issues across the country feel the same way. Unbeknownst to many, all stores are strategically designed to guide the shopper into spending more. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can become a more intelligent shopper with CreditGUARD’s five tips for shopping smarter.

Create a Shopping Trip Micro-Budget

The first step every frugal family should take to combat overspending on a shopping trip is creating a budget. There is a good chance you already have a monthly budget for necessities like house and car payments. Adopt the same techniques used there to create micro-budgets for each trip. Write out every item you plan on buying along with its price. After a final number is calculated, ditch your debit card and get that exact amount in cash. Without access to all your available funds, you’re more likely to stay on track.

Make a List and Stick to It

As touched upon earlier, your shopping list is the key to spending less. It’ll not only help you stick within your budget, as mentioned above, but also limited your time in each store if done correctly. The secret is preparation. Separate every item on your list into different categories (groceries/clothing/misc). Then label each item with the store where you plan to purchase it. The only things you are allowed to buy are on the list. To avoid picking up anything extra, abandon the shopping cart. This simple approach will eliminate mindlessly buying frivolous items.

Shop Sales and Avoid Them

Sales are both a great way to save money on everyday essentials and to accidentally overspend. The lure of a good deal is powerful, but you must ask yourself, “are you more attracted to the actual item or the sale itself?” Do your research before leaving and check if any sales align with your shopping list. To get the best deals, you may have to hop around to different stores. A low-risk way to try an item on sale is by not fully partaking in the deal. For example: if a can of soup is 2 for $4, only purchase one. You’ll still receive the benefit of the savings without overdoing it.

Give Store Brands a Try

It’s natural over the years to gain loyalty to certain brands. If you want to save extra money on your shopping trips, shake up your preferences. Grocery stores offer their own in-house brands that are often cheaper than the larger widely known varieties. In most cases, the store brands deliver the same level of quality as your favorites. If you’re skeptical, start with the basics. Everyday groceries like milk, eggs, and butter provide an easy entry to store brands at a lower cost. Once you discover the high standards of your local grocery chain’s brand, you can begin to branch out. Over time you’ll realize that you were more attracted to the name than the product itself.

Create a Shopping Plan

Any good shopping trip for a frugal family begins with a detailed shopping plan. Your shopping plan works in tandem with a micro-budget and shopping list. Your plan is the order in which you will tackle your shopping. It may feel pointless, but it will save you from straying from your list and budget. Order your stores from most to least important. The most important locations are your first stops. With your destinations in descending order, you don’t run the risk of accidentally disrupting your budget on trivial purchases.  

You’re Not Alone with Your Credit Card Debt

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into debt. You’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from the crippling weight of debt. Don’t feel overwhelmed by missed credit card payments and intimidating phone calls from debt collectors anymore, call CreditGUARD today at 1-800-500-6489 to make a change. Our certified credit counselors will help you build a brighter financial future with financial education and debt reduction programs. Take your first steps towards a life without debt today.