One of the biggest fund drains is browsing while shopping. Whether at the mall or at the corner grocery, you can quickly spend more than you planned on simply by leisurely browsing through the shelves. So, when I lump making a shopping plan in with financial planning, there is a reason.
The more time you take, the more money you spend
Studies have shown that the more time you spend in the store, the more money you spend. Browsing results in more impulse buys (which make up 30 percent of our purchases), since the longer you look, the more you see things that you want. These small, seemingly inconsequential purchases start to add up. $10 here and $25 there can combine to hundreds of dollars in a relatively short period of time. So, when running errands, think of ways you can save money with a shopping plan.
Financial planning with a shopping plan
Creating a shopping plan can help you discover how much more money you have when you aren´t taking the time to browse. Decide on a day of the week that you will set aside for running errands, including shopping. Keep a running list of what you need, and then, on "the day," do the dry-cleaning, get the gas tank filled and do the shopping all at once. This way you will be pressed for time, and have less time to stroll through aisles. Plus, you´ll have a list that you can stick to, cutting down on impulse buying. If you want a treat, put it on the list ahead of time, and then track it down quickly in the store. Not only that, but doing all of your errands on one day of the week can also help you save money in gas.
Create a shopping plan involving which stores to go to
One of the most effective money saving tactics I use involves visiting WalMart and Sam´s Club only once a month. I keep an eye on supplies so that I only have to make one trip. And I avoid buying most of my food items at these stores. So, I have a weekly trip to the grocery for food, and a monthly trip for freezable things (like chicken breast) and non-food items. I save so much more, even though I pay a little more for my food each week. Why? Because instead of being tempted by DVDs for $7.50 and a jumbo bag of jellybeans for $9.80, I just buy food. All of the "great bargains" at superstores add up to quite a bit extra each month, since most of them are bargain buys.
By planning my shopping so that I have limited access to irresistible deals and so that I have limited time and a list to follow, I´ve increased the amount of money in my monthly budget by about $150.