3 Tips to Be a Smart Shopper
Planning ahead is the key to any financial plan.
This philosophy, especially when applied to entertainment and shopping, makes for a healthier financial lifestyle. Millennials are known for preferring convenience, but convenience comes at a premium. Here are a few things to think about before impulsively spending.
1. Actively Search for Deals
If you’ve had your eyes on a pair of Nikes or are out shopping for essentials like toothpaste and deodorant at Target, take the time to search out deals. I know coupons and weekly ads may seem outdated, but they can save you both time and money. If your coupon is only available during a certain time period, make sure to take advantage and schedule your shopping during this time. If you’re racking up membership or rewards points at retailers such as Walgreens and CVS, utilize this as a tool to save. If you take the time to search for coupons, read the sales item in a weekly ad, and strategically redeem membership rewards, your shopping will keep more money in your wallet without compromising.
2. Read Labels
I suppose this tip may seem obvious, but with convenience at the forefront of our minds, this tip bears importance. Reading labels can save you money, and it also can prevent you from purchasing something you are not interested in. I was recently shopping for eye drops—a product that I like to keep on hand but only use a few times a year—and I was shocked to see how many varieties and brands there were. I probably read thirty different bottles before selecting one. Now, this may sound a bit ridiculous, but hear me out. Taking the time to read those labels, as tedious as it may sound, saved me money because I was able to identify what I wanted and find it at the lowest price.
3. Find Your Values
You’ve probably been lectured by teachers and parents about finding your values in life, particularly in relation to going off to colleges. Finances follow the same pattern, though not in a life-altering sense. It’s important to find what you value so that you can smartly spend your money. Do you value convenience or quality? How much is too much? For example, organic fruit is much more expensive than regular fruit. Are you willing to pay more for organic fruit? If the grocery store isn’t your go-to source for food, think about this theory when applied to ice cream. Gourmet, slow-churned, and handmade ice cream will cost more than a vanilla cone at McDonalds or a frosty from Wendy’s. Do you value the foodie experience? These are all important things to contemplate when evaluating and analyzing your spending patterns to help plan for the future.