Whether you shop online or physically travel to your favourite stores to purchase the items you need, it’s helpful to have some strategies before doing so. We’ve put together a few helpful tips for you to consider when shopping to avoid overspending:
Shop with a List
Before going shopping it’s advisable to jot down a quick list of any items needed. Then, once at the store ensure there is no deviation from the list. Sticking to a shopping list will help avoid “impulse” purchases (i.e. the things we may not really need). I also find being more conscious of the process of shopping while physically in the store helps me prevent overspending. I often set up my shopping list by category (i.e. fruits and vegetables, bakery, canned foods) and then navigate through the store by aisle. It saves me time in the store and it saves me money at the register. And when using shopping apps and the safety and convenience of home delivery, I use the “Buy It Again” button to save time creating an online shopping list in just a few minutes.
Know What Triggers The Spending
Feeling hungry? Consider holding off on that grocery shopping until you’ve eaten something. Feeling a bit down? Many of us try to flip that emotional state around by purchasing clothing or luxury items. In fact, our entire economy is designed around spending triggers, like the delicious smell of McDonalds french fries (to cite just one example). Everyone has different moods or situations where they’re more likely to spend money without stopping to consider “do I really need this?” In many cases we may not need the item, we just “feel” we do.
Try To Avoid Saving Credit Card Details Online
Many websites allow you to save your credit card details so check-out is faster the next time you shop there. The problem with this is it becomes far too convenient to make purchases without thinking when you don’t actually have to take out your card and type in the number by hand each time. Just the act of going to get your wallet instead of simply clicking a button to finalize that purchase can help you think about the purchase and hopefully avoid overspending. Also, from a cybersecurity point of view it’s probably safer not to allow any external store systems access to your credit card or banking details.
Understand Your Spending Habits
To figure out what spending triggers you might have, look at your credit and debit transactions going back at least two or three months. When did you spend the most or make purchases that you now realize you might not have needed? Can you learn anything from your review? If some habits jump out at you, take note of them and ensure you do your best to avoid the same behavior in the future. The next time you’ll make a conscious effort to put your cash away before spending it.
Track Your Spending
Keep track of what the money gets spent on and, wherever possible, do so when possible right after the purchase is made. I often find that if I wait too long (i.e. until the end of the week, for example) to jot down my purchases I’m more than likely to forget to include them. Tracking our expenditures daily helps us see where our money is going, so we can make changes accordingly. Some helpful phone apps, such as Mint and KOHO (available for both Apple and Android phones and tablets), can help you track your expenditures and even show patterns of spending over time. My bank account app even tell me when I’ve overspent from one month to the next in a specific category (groceries, for example).
Struggling With Debt Pressures? You’re Not Alone
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians wrestle with the same exact situation you’re facing. If you find yourself overwhelmed by debt pressures, reach out to the team at Farber. As federally-licensed insolvency professionals we will partner with you to eliminate those debts through a Farber Consumer Proposal. We’ll negotiate on your behalf, reduce the total debt owed and provide you with an affordable monthly payment that makes sense for your lifestyle.