The temptation to just pop in to Target and grab what we "need " is sometimes a tremendous pull. We live in a fast paced, no extra time world where we often drop in to mega stores for one thing and come out with a cart load. Then the next day we say " What did I spend $100 on ???".
One of the best ways to avoid spending money is to just stay out of the stores. But how do you do that ??? Over the years I have established a check list. To be honest in our non lean years I didn't always use the checklist but my list is back. The following is how I determine if we need to make a purchase.
1. Establish weather this item is a real need or if its a want. This is a big one. 9 out of 10 times I bet the item is a want. If its a need move on to step 2.
2. Can I substitute this item with another? This is a huge one for saving on grocery trips but I also find it true with cleaners and other household items. Often an item has more than one purpose and can be swapped out. Example: We ran out of dryer sheets reecenly. Vinegar worked just fine and will until I find a super deal of nice smelling dryer sheets ( which I will cut in quearters) If it can not be substituted move on to step 3.
3. Can I make it or fix it myself? Cleaners, curtains, play-doh, fertilizer they can all be made for a fraction of the cost to buy new. You Tube has almost every video you could ever want on fixing something. I have fixed my dishwasher and made a home pool heater just with You Tube instruction. This step can save you a fortune and keep your creativity flowing but if you can't make it or fix it move on to step 4.
4. Can you purchase it used, borrow it or get it for free? I love all the Facebook yard sale pages that have popped up. I have sold so many items that my family no longer needed and purchased many that other families were re homing. Last week I purchased two like new life jackets for $10 and it saved me $29.98 over the best price I could find online. Thrift stores are also a great source for deeply discounted items.
We recently needed a shop vac for a day to clean out the garage. Rather than purchasing one I posted on my FB page to see if I could borrow one. Sure enough one of my neighbors had one and brought it right over.
Freecycle is a great place to check for items especially seasonal items. Its amazingwhat you can get for free when you ask. Sometimes you just need to put it out there that you are looking for something. On the flip side be sure that you are generous when you are able to be as well and willing to give to others when they are in need.
If the item can not be sourced for free or used move on to step 5.
5. Hit the liquidation or salvage stores. Many areas have a Big Lots or Job Lot. They are a great source for householed items and seasonal goodies and you will pay substantially less than a typical retail purchase. Marshalls and TJ Max are also great places to try especially for clothing and bedding. If you can't find what you are looking for here than move on to step 6.
6. Utilize the Internet to find the best possible deal. Technology is your friend. Do a quick Google search for your item and you may be surprised by the variety of pricing and offers. This also gives you the ability to check reviews. Once you have found the store with the best price you can see if you can get it shipped for free to your door ( avoiding any temptations in the store) or go to the store to pick it up. Before purchasing though you will want to got to Retail Me Not to check for coupons you can save to your phone or discount codes. If purchasing online go through a great cash back site like this one. I love getting my free money checks in the mail!
7. Last but not least go to the store with a list of only what you need and just the cash to cover it. Don't give yourself the option to buy or spend more than you should. Its like adding blinders.
If these steps seem like a lot to you I promise they really are not. You can go through them in your head usually pretty quickly. You will be amazed at not only how much money you save but also the time you save and the clutter you will avoid.
I would love to know what steps you take to avoid over spending in the store.