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How to go Shopping and Save Money

Updated on June 15, 2013

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to living a frugal life is shopping. Shops abound everywhere you go, the supermarkets give you more rewards as you shop more, and even the products themselves are designed to make you buy more. You are bombarded with ads over the radio, the television, the Internet, the print media and the billboards encouraging you to shop till you drop. And when you have shopped until you can shop no more, they encourage you to shop some more.

So, to have any hope of living frugally, you really must master the shopping tips given below. Many of the tips are actually common sense but it doesn’t hurt to review them and you might just get a new insight on a new way you can save on your shopping.

Branded Goods
Branded goods are a little too expensive for my taste. And if you are adopting a frugal lifestyle, they should definitely be too expensive for your taste too. I mean, it really does not make good economic sense to buy a pair of pants or a handbag that costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars when you can get a perfectly good one for a tenth of the price. Everything else would be the same, except for the little logo that tells the whole world that you paid through the nose for that piece of merchandise.

It’s On Sale
How many times have someone told you that they bought a certain item because it is on sale? And they will tell you how much money they have saved due to the massive discount they got. But if you ask them if they were planning to buy the item in the first place, chances are that they will tell you they won’t have bought the item if there was no sale. And no amount of reasoning will convince them that they had actually spent instead of saved money. Maybe they just don’t want to admit that they are wrong.

But sales are not all bad either. If you are in the market for a certain item, and you are willing to wait awhile or shop around, you should probably be able to find a shop in which your item is on sale. Just remember not to use the sale as the sole excuse to buy it.

When I’m talking about frugal living and saving money, how can I not talk about coupons? When you go to a store and buy something, they charge you $10. But if you give them a coupon, you get to pay only $9.50. So, when you get coupons in the mail, or somebody hands it to you, don’t just look at it as junk mail. Look at it as free money. Spend a couple of minutes to go through them and set aside those that you can make use of.

Use Cash Or A Debit Card
Unless you are super disciplined, going shopping with a credit card is not a good idea. Bring along cash or get yourself a debit card. A debit card works in exactly the same way as a credit card, but you get to spend only what you have. And remember not to put too much money into the debit card, because we all know what’s going to happen if you do.

Make A List
Every time you go shopping, make a list of things that you want to buy. And I’m not talking just about grocery shopping. Even if you are shopping for clothes, know what you are looking for before you hit the mall. And remember that the purpose of having a list is so that you do not buy more than what you plan to. So, stick to your list, and don’t get sidetracked by every pretty trinket that you see.

Expiring Food Items
A good idea before doing your weekly grocery shopping for food that has an expiry date, like bread and milk, is to check your fridge first. It would be such a waste to buy a week’s supply and return to find that you still have half a week’s supply in the fridge.

Many commonly used household items comes in its own container complete with a dispenser. Examples would be liquid soap and dish washing liquid. Rather than buy the item along with the container each time you run out, look for the item in a refill pack. That way, you save some money and you do not need to throw away a perfectly good container every time.

Buy More
When you buy more of a certain item, you always get a lower price. So, look around the house for items that you use on a monthly basis, and see if you can buy more of it the next time you go shopping. But be mindful of the expiry date for food items, or you are just going to end up throwing them away.

Second Hand Goods
Second hand goods have a rather bad reputation of being dirty, smelly, germ infested and only good for filling up the trash can. Many second hand goods do merit that reputation but if you take the trouble and look around the second hand stores, you just might be able to get something that is almost new, for a fraction of the price of a new item.


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    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Loren's Gem - Well, if you are really going to buy it, definitely a good idea to get it when it's on sale. :)

    • Loren's Gem profile image

      Loren's Gem 7 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      I usually do the "make a list" and "its on sale" thing. It just seems practical to me - as long as the ones on sale are definitely the ones I'm going to buy sooner or later in anyway. Thanks for sharing these great tips! :-)

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      quicksand - "Shop till you drop" concept is probably what will lead to financial excesses that brought much of the developed world onto its knees. My opinion of this concept? Not a good idea. :)

      Jazzy L - Sounds like a good idea. If you shop for a large family, then the $8.50 per month is definitely worth it. :)

    • profile image

      Jazzy L 7 years ago

      Very Helpful Article. Thanks! I heard about a new site at Church. It compares prices at the top stores here in Atlanta. From what I’ve read, it updates every week and shows where the lowest prices are on a few hundred items. You can print out your shopping list or have it sent to your phone. (I’m not savvy enough for that though). I email them since their not up yet, and they told me they will be up in January in Atlanta and Birmingham AL. then other cities. I can’t wait to try it.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      Great ideas, thanks.

      Having read this article I am certain that you would not support that "shop till you drop" concept, right? :)

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Hello, hello, - And we all need to stretch that dollar bill as much as it will stretch. :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A very helpful hub to stretch our money further.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      bettybarnesb - Thanks for the compliment! :)

    • profile image

      bettybarnesb 7 years ago

      needed to correct my name!

    • profile image

      barnesbettyb 7 years ago

      very useful. I love how detailed your are. Can always tell that you have done your home work.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      simeonvisser - You are definitely right. In fact, the only piece of branded goods that I own, other than my computer, is my pair of sneakers. I used to buy $25 pair of sneakers, but they will start falling to pieces whenever it rains and the shoes get wet. But a branded pair of sneakers will last until you wear it out, everytime :)

    • simeonvisser profile image

      simeonvisser 7 years ago

      An alternative to buying the cheapest goods all the time is to buy a higher quality item once. For example, you can do years with a high quality pair of shoes instead of buying a new pair of cheap shoes every so often. These cheap shoes tend to wear more quickly so you have to buy more of them. Buying high quality goods will cost you more initially but you'll save money in the long run. It's something worth considering.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      dallas93444 - And you are really making the boxes feel useful. Very nice of you!

      L.L. Woodard - Yep! And if you don't tell people that the branded items are second hand, you get to be richer than you really are. :)

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      These are essential tips for frugal living. Shopping second hand, including thrift stores and garage sales, is a great way to save money and sometimes get name brand items you wouldn't be able to afford at a store.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I save short pieces of string and store in a big box labeled, "Short string, too short to use..." At first glance one would think I am being silly, but I really am saving boxes!