Smart Shopping Tips

Reviewed Aug 8, 2016

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Summary

  • Make a list and stick to it.
  • Use coupons.
  • Go to the clearance rack first.

Take a close look at what you bring home from the market. Then ask yourself, “Is this what I really meant to buy? Do I need all this stuff?” Chances are, you’ll see some things you bought “on impulse.” You didn’t intend to buy them, but they just looked too good to pass up. Or you may see products that you know you could buy for less under different brands.

Welcome to the game of shopping, played between you and the store. It’s not that the store is out to cheat you. But it does need to make money, whether it’s online or down your street. And you need to save money. To do that, you have to play smart.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Make a list and stick to it. That is, decide what you are going to buy before you go to the store. Don’t buy anything not on your list. That simple rule keeps you from buying on impulse. It also keeps you within your budget. But don’t just make any list. You have to think in advance about what you truly need, and make sure the list you take to the store has only those items on it.

Compare markets and find the cheapest. Don’t assume that the place where you usually shop has the best deals. A local farmers’ market, for instance, may have better prices on produce than your local supermarket. It may pay to shop around. But keep in the mind the cost of your time and transportation.

Keep an eye on cost per quantity. Cathi Brese Dobler, Author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family, says the “small print” on store shelves can save you a lot of money. Usually, you’ll see the price of an item in large type and, in smaller type, the price per pound or per ounce. For instance, a 16-ounce jar of one brand of peanut butter may cost more than a 12-ounce jar of another, but it still can be cheaper per ounce. The larger jar is generally the better buy.

Head for the edges. Take a good look at how your local market is laid out. If it’s like most stores, you’ll see that the necessary (and healthy) items tend to be at the sides and back. Fresh produce will probably be to one side. Milk will probably be at the back. If the store has a pharmacy where you pick up your medicine, this will probably be at the side or back too. Why is that? One reason is to make you walk past the “fun” items such as ice cream and potato chips when you go to the store for something you need, like a carton of milk. So don’t be tempted. Keep your eyes front. And stick to that list.

Cook from scratch, and shop accordingly. Prepared meals, like those found in the freezer section, are convenient but costly. With some research on simple recipes, you can save money by cooking meals from fresh ingredients in the meat and produce sections. You can also make healthier meals. Prepared meals are often high in salt and calories. You can control what goes into your meals when you cook them yourself.

Use coupons. Don’t let them use you. Coupons can save you money—if you’re careful. Remember that they are a form of advertising. Stores and manufacturers issue them to sell products. They want you to use a coupon to buy something you otherwise would not have bought. So be a smart player of the coupon game and use them only for items already on your list. And don’t put something on the list just because you have a coupon for it.

Don’t go to the store hungry. The junk food staring at you when you walk into the store is meant to tempt you. When you’re hungry enough to eat it right then and there, the temptation may be more than you can resist. So go to the market with a square meal under your belt.

Leave the credit card at home. “Try as much to live as if you’re living solely on cash,” says Jerry Love, a Certified Public Accountant in Abilene, TX. Even if you have a credit card, you should leave it at home. Then take only as much cash to the store as you think you will need to buy the items on you list.

Go to the clearance rack first. Smart shopping doesn’t stop at the supermarket. If you shop online, for instance, you still need to think and plan first. Don’t log on until you’ve written down what you need to buy. Don’t let online coupons or codes tempt you into buying what you don’t need. And when shopping for clothing, head for the clearance rack. Dobler says this is typically at the back of the store. Speaking of clothing, Dobler says you should make sure anything you buy meets these three tests: You absolutely love it, it’s washable, and it’s on sale.

Resource

The American Institute of CPAs’ “Feed the Pig” site, www.feedthepig.org, is full of ideas on how to spend money wisely.

By Tom Gray

Summary

  • Make a list and stick to it.
  • Use coupons.
  • Go to the clearance rack first.

Take a close look at what you bring home from the market. Then ask yourself, “Is this what I really meant to buy? Do I need all this stuff?” Chances are, you’ll see some things you bought “on impulse.” You didn’t intend to buy them, but they just looked too good to pass up. Or you may see products that you know you could buy for less under different brands.

Welcome to the game of shopping, played between you and the store. It’s not that the store is out to cheat you. But it does need to make money, whether it’s online or down your street. And you need to save money. To do that, you have to play smart.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Make a list and stick to it. That is, decide what you are going to buy before you go to the store. Don’t buy anything not on your list. That simple rule keeps you from buying on impulse. It also keeps you within your budget. But don’t just make any list. You have to think in advance about what you truly need, and make sure the list you take to the store has only those items on it.

Compare markets and find the cheapest. Don’t assume that the place where you usually shop has the best deals. A local farmers’ market, for instance, may have better prices on produce than your local supermarket. It may pay to shop around. But keep in the mind the cost of your time and transportation.

Keep an eye on cost per quantity. Cathi Brese Dobler, Author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family, says the “small print” on store shelves can save you a lot of money. Usually, you’ll see the price of an item in large type and, in smaller type, the price per pound or per ounce. For instance, a 16-ounce jar of one brand of peanut butter may cost more than a 12-ounce jar of another, but it still can be cheaper per ounce. The larger jar is generally the better buy.

Head for the edges. Take a good look at how your local market is laid out. If it’s like most stores, you’ll see that the necessary (and healthy) items tend to be at the sides and back. Fresh produce will probably be to one side. Milk will probably be at the back. If the store has a pharmacy where you pick up your medicine, this will probably be at the side or back too. Why is that? One reason is to make you walk past the “fun” items such as ice cream and potato chips when you go to the store for something you need, like a carton of milk. So don’t be tempted. Keep your eyes front. And stick to that list.

Cook from scratch, and shop accordingly. Prepared meals, like those found in the freezer section, are convenient but costly. With some research on simple recipes, you can save money by cooking meals from fresh ingredients in the meat and produce sections. You can also make healthier meals. Prepared meals are often high in salt and calories. You can control what goes into your meals when you cook them yourself.

Use coupons. Don’t let them use you. Coupons can save you money—if you’re careful. Remember that they are a form of advertising. Stores and manufacturers issue them to sell products. They want you to use a coupon to buy something you otherwise would not have bought. So be a smart player of the coupon game and use them only for items already on your list. And don’t put something on the list just because you have a coupon for it.

Don’t go to the store hungry. The junk food staring at you when you walk into the store is meant to tempt you. When you’re hungry enough to eat it right then and there, the temptation may be more than you can resist. So go to the market with a square meal under your belt.

Leave the credit card at home. “Try as much to live as if you’re living solely on cash,” says Jerry Love, a Certified Public Accountant in Abilene, TX. Even if you have a credit card, you should leave it at home. Then take only as much cash to the store as you think you will need to buy the items on you list.

Go to the clearance rack first. Smart shopping doesn’t stop at the supermarket. If you shop online, for instance, you still need to think and plan first. Don’t log on until you’ve written down what you need to buy. Don’t let online coupons or codes tempt you into buying what you don’t need. And when shopping for clothing, head for the clearance rack. Dobler says this is typically at the back of the store. Speaking of clothing, Dobler says you should make sure anything you buy meets these three tests: You absolutely love it, it’s washable, and it’s on sale.

Resource

The American Institute of CPAs’ “Feed the Pig” site, www.feedthepig.org, is full of ideas on how to spend money wisely.

By Tom Gray

Summary

  • Make a list and stick to it.
  • Use coupons.
  • Go to the clearance rack first.

Take a close look at what you bring home from the market. Then ask yourself, “Is this what I really meant to buy? Do I need all this stuff?” Chances are, you’ll see some things you bought “on impulse.” You didn’t intend to buy them, but they just looked too good to pass up. Or you may see products that you know you could buy for less under different brands.

Welcome to the game of shopping, played between you and the store. It’s not that the store is out to cheat you. But it does need to make money, whether it’s online or down your street. And you need to save money. To do that, you have to play smart.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Make a list and stick to it. That is, decide what you are going to buy before you go to the store. Don’t buy anything not on your list. That simple rule keeps you from buying on impulse. It also keeps you within your budget. But don’t just make any list. You have to think in advance about what you truly need, and make sure the list you take to the store has only those items on it.

Compare markets and find the cheapest. Don’t assume that the place where you usually shop has the best deals. A local farmers’ market, for instance, may have better prices on produce than your local supermarket. It may pay to shop around. But keep in the mind the cost of your time and transportation.

Keep an eye on cost per quantity. Cathi Brese Dobler, Author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family, says the “small print” on store shelves can save you a lot of money. Usually, you’ll see the price of an item in large type and, in smaller type, the price per pound or per ounce. For instance, a 16-ounce jar of one brand of peanut butter may cost more than a 12-ounce jar of another, but it still can be cheaper per ounce. The larger jar is generally the better buy.

Head for the edges. Take a good look at how your local market is laid out. If it’s like most stores, you’ll see that the necessary (and healthy) items tend to be at the sides and back. Fresh produce will probably be to one side. Milk will probably be at the back. If the store has a pharmacy where you pick up your medicine, this will probably be at the side or back too. Why is that? One reason is to make you walk past the “fun” items such as ice cream and potato chips when you go to the store for something you need, like a carton of milk. So don’t be tempted. Keep your eyes front. And stick to that list.

Cook from scratch, and shop accordingly. Prepared meals, like those found in the freezer section, are convenient but costly. With some research on simple recipes, you can save money by cooking meals from fresh ingredients in the meat and produce sections. You can also make healthier meals. Prepared meals are often high in salt and calories. You can control what goes into your meals when you cook them yourself.

Use coupons. Don’t let them use you. Coupons can save you money—if you’re careful. Remember that they are a form of advertising. Stores and manufacturers issue them to sell products. They want you to use a coupon to buy something you otherwise would not have bought. So be a smart player of the coupon game and use them only for items already on your list. And don’t put something on the list just because you have a coupon for it.

Don’t go to the store hungry. The junk food staring at you when you walk into the store is meant to tempt you. When you’re hungry enough to eat it right then and there, the temptation may be more than you can resist. So go to the market with a square meal under your belt.

Leave the credit card at home. “Try as much to live as if you’re living solely on cash,” says Jerry Love, a Certified Public Accountant in Abilene, TX. Even if you have a credit card, you should leave it at home. Then take only as much cash to the store as you think you will need to buy the items on you list.

Go to the clearance rack first. Smart shopping doesn’t stop at the supermarket. If you shop online, for instance, you still need to think and plan first. Don’t log on until you’ve written down what you need to buy. Don’t let online coupons or codes tempt you into buying what you don’t need. And when shopping for clothing, head for the clearance rack. Dobler says this is typically at the back of the store. Speaking of clothing, Dobler says you should make sure anything you buy meets these three tests: You absolutely love it, it’s washable, and it’s on sale.

Resource

The American Institute of CPAs’ “Feed the Pig” site, www.feedthepig.org, is full of ideas on how to spend money wisely.

By Tom Gray

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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