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The high cost of many items nowadays necessitates careful budgeting. If you carefully select your purchases and create a shopping list, you'll be able to get what you need without damaging your wallet too much.
- Buy food first. Check your refrigerator for the staples that need to be replaced. Milk, bread, eggs and cheese are all staples that should be available, and should go first on your shopping list. Expensive fresh fruit can be replaced with canned fruit, and macaroni and pasta are cheap, but not very nutritious. Meat is expensive in the short run, but packs a nutritional wallop that gets you a lot of bang for your buck.
- Plan ahead and show discipline. Looking at the bins of cheeses can make you want to buy more than you really need, so write down on the list exactly what type of cheese you want, add it to your cart and then walk to another aisle.
- Look at the ends of the meat and seafood section. There are often marked-down items there.
- Make friends with the butcher. He or she may point out some great deals, or mark meats down especially for you. Same thing works with the Produce Manager. Being friendly is free, but pays great dividends!
- Compare brands and check prices. There is usually a store brand version of most items that is cheaper and of comparable quality to the big name item.
- Read circulars before you go into the store to see if what you need is on sale. Comparing circulars from different stores might help you get a better deal.
- Clip coupons for items you normally buy and bring them with you.
- Buy dry goods and toiletries in larger sizes to save money.
- Remember what you went to a store to buy, so you do not have to walk up and down aisles. Zero in on the aisle or store you need to buy the item, enter, buy the item, and then leave. Impulse buying will ruin any budget, and when yours is tight, it will just be worse.
- As you buy, write the prices on a pad that you keep with you. It might even be best to use a small adding machine, pocket size, and as you put the products in your shopping cart, calculate what you have spent, remember how much you have set aside to spend, and when you get close, then stop shopping. Remember, you still have to buy shoes...
- Know exactly what type of shoes you need. Do not look around at all the different styles. Try on the proper size, and if they fit, then buy it and leave the store. Hanging around, looking at the handbags hanging on the wall might tempt you to buy something you really do not need.
- Put all the costs into the little adding machine. If you note that you have gone over the amount you can spend, then return an item that you really do not need at the moment, and put it on another list of 'to buy next time'.
- If you are going to use a charge card, only spend the amount of money you can afford to pay when the bill comes in at the end of the month.. Set aside this money, and use it to pay the bill. Do not purchase anything more than you have budgeted.
- If you are going to pay with cash, then make sure you only spend the amount you have with you. Anything over, return, and again, put it on your 'next time shopping list
- Don't assume it's cheaper just because it's in a larger size. Look at the shelf labels and compare unit prices. One large store that has 'always low prices' very often has larger sizes marked UP slightly.
- Spending more than you have budgeted for, will cause you not to have money left to pay utility bills, or medical bills. So be careful what you buy. Buy only what you need and only what is on your shopping list.
- Don't just buy things because they are on sale, unless you truly need them.
Things You'll Need
- A pad to jot down prices
- A pocket size adding machine to calculate what you spend.
- A shopping list
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