Saving Money, The Basics Part 2

Two words: Impulse shopping.

We’ve all done it, and I’m sure that retailers bet that we will. You know, you go to the store for milk and bread and come out with $50 worth of groceries? Every store lays out the merchandise in a way that makes us buy, and buy more. From gas stations to grocery stores, from department stores to Walmart (who by the way is the leading in merchandising) it is key in the way the stores are set up. For example, staples items like milk, and bread, are allways located at the back of the store, so that you have to walk through the store and see the great “sales” and bright images tempting you to buy.

My sister gave me a bit of wisdom that is very true. She said “The key to saving money is saying NO to 99 percent of purchases.” We are enticed with purchases everyday, hundreds of times a day. Keep the money in your pocket by not putting it in the other guys pocket.

So with that in mind here are some “rules” to follow.

Rule #1. Make a list. Well, okay, making the list is just one part. You have to remember to bring the list with you!
Rule #2. Plan for the list. Making a list is a great place to start, but, only if you are listing the things that you actually need. Plan for dinner for the week (or if that is too daunting for the next three days) and check your pantry before you add that item. Too many times have we thought we were out of something like sugar, and low and behold there was a full bag that I thought was flour. If you have a half a loaf of bread and you know that in two days you will be out, get it now, so that you are going to the store less frequently, and thus reducing the amount of temptation (advertising).
Rule #3. STICK to the list. Thats hard, I know. Especially when you are hungry, or your kids see the cookies (see rule 3 and 4)
Rule #4. Don’t go hungry. You will end up grabbing something on the way or in the store to tide you over. Eat a healthy snack before you go, like an apple, which will also give you energy.
Rule #5. Leave the kids at home. I know thats not always possible, but it will save you time, give you a mini break, and will prevent those, Mommy pllllease can I have this? (and its not on the list and you cave anyway, happens to me all the time)
Rule #6. Plan of Attack. When faced against a battle, we need a plan of attack right? We don’t just run towards the enemy. So when you are in a store, don’t go down the aisles unless there is an item on your list. While you may find a good sale, odds are that you will be tempted to buy something off list, especially when you are just starting out, and are not familiar with what truly is a sale.
Rule #7.Move on. We have all splurged or fallen to “temptation.” It happens. The point is not to focus on a so called “failure” but to look at the positive aspects. Maybe you bought a fews things off list that cost you $5, but you still saved by using coupons, and planning. Realize that there will almost ALWAYS be a better deal, and celebrate the achievements you have made. Move on to the next weeks budget and aim to save more.

These are rules that are okay if you break them. You will not get grounded, or put in time out. Be sure to make your grocery budget reasonable. It would be quite difficult for, say, a family of 8 to survive on $50 a week. Sometimes I know the money is just not there, but work with what you have. For a suggested amount in several areas of budgets check out Crown.org spending calculator. Just plug in your income, tithe and tax info and it will calculate monthly and yearly amounts. With strategic planning, and some discipline with spending and budgeting, you will see savings and become well on your way to being a frugal shopper, with more money in the bank.

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