As savvy shoppers, we all have some particular rules to help us budget our shopping habits.
Some strong-willed shoppers wait for products to go on sale. Others do charity shop shopping on a regular basis.
Many shoppers stack coupons to get the best out of their shopping, and everyone keeps an eye out for seasonal clearances and massive markdowns. It’s only natural. After all, everybody loves a good bargain, especially us shoppers who are always looking for more ways to save money.
It doesn’t matter if you shop according to one or the other of the above. Ultimately, whether you’re budgeting for health, looking for ways to fit organic groceries into your budget or trying to get more creative with your holiday budget, the following apply anyway. So read on for five golden rules to fit things like clothes, pricey meals, vacations, or whatever else into your monthly budget.
Rule #1: Plan the budget
Feeling tempted to spend your hard-earned money on popular or seen-on-TV items is normal. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t resist temptation, and planning your budget is where you should start.
The moment paycheck’s hit your way, start making your budget and prioritize according to your most basic necessities. If you have debt, for example, cover that first so it doesn’t follow you around like a hairy monster.
Also, monthly budgeting as opposed to yearly budgeting is much more efficient because it doesn’t require planning money that’s not there yet. It’s easier to put your budget together and plan spending when the money’s in your hands.
Rule #2: Balance the budget
The trick to sticking to a budget isn’t to send your income always the same way. For example, if you spent more on clothes shopping this month, balance the extra amount you spent with taking other stuff off your list, such as restaurant meals and vice versa. Or balance that off next month by not buying any new clothes.
Remember that you can play with monthly budgeting and that you set the order of priorities. Some people put savings aside before paying off things like rent and bills. This might work for you too since it requires setting aside only a fraction of income, say 30 minutes to one hour’s worth of income every day.
Rule #3: Set an emergency fund
An emergency fund is different to your savings account or it should be. This is money that you put away and you forget you have it until it’s time to use it.
An emergency fund should cover the unexpected, as opposed to your savings, which you usually know they’re either for vacation time, retirement, buying a new car etc.
Money that goes into an emergency fund would cover expenses for unforeseen events, such as medical check-ups, your dog getting sick, the car breaking down, anything that may happen and needs payment.
Rule #4: Shop smarter
This is probably the golden rule of all savvy shoppers – smart buying. We can plan, we can balance, and we can set however many budgets and funds, but unless we commit to saving money through shopping more wisely it won’t add up to anything.
Always look for ways to save more money. Instead of paying for a gym membership that you’re not going to use, search online for workouts that you can do at home. There’s a sale and you want to stock up on favorites? Great idea, but make sure you don’t overstock with items you might not need.
A sub rule to the shop smarter rule is price comparison. Always, always compare prices and pick stores accordingly.
Rule #5: Treat yourself to something nice
It doesn’t have to be a monthly expense; you can treat yourself to something nice occasionally without feeling guilty. Maybe a new dress, a fancy night out, a weekend getaway – whatever suits your fancy. You earned it fair and square.