Wouldn’t it be nice to just spend money as if it didn’t matter? I would LOVE to walk in to a store sometimes and just buy my favorite outfit, never looking at the price tag. But that is not something many of can do, so we have to think about living within a budget. It can be intimidating to say the least, you know where your money is going and to whom, but how can you live with what is left over? Will you have enough?
Living within a budget takes a bit of effort on your part. A sure-fire way to fail is to set your household spending money too low. Of course, you may not have much control over that area of your finances—what’s left over is all you have. But, don’t panic just yet. Here are a few ways you can make a budget work for you.
1) Seasonal sales are a great way to keep your spending on target and still get what you need. Christmas, Easter, Halloween and back to school sales usually start weeks ahead of schedule. If you can manage to wait it out and get to the sales a few days before they end, you can get some super cheap deals. Plus, then you look AFTER the holiday for even deeper discounts and stock up for the next year.
2) Watch for supermarket mark-downs. Meats, produce and other perishables will be marked down so the stores don’t have to throw away food when it expires. Find out what days your grocery stores mark down these products and be there early to get the best choices. But make sure not to buy more than you can use since throwing away food is a waste of your money. Freeze what you can and plan on using the rest within a specific time frame. I love using this tip to get organic fruits and veggies, meats and the gluten free items our family loves for a great price.
3) Keep an eye on your favorite grocery stores and figure out the best days and times to shop. When do the sales items change? When do they mark down meat for the week? When are the shelves full and the parking lot empty? Get to know the manager or some of the stockers and clerks. They might be glad to give you some of this great info. Knowing when you’ll find the best selection at the lowest prices can make quite a difference in your grocery budget.
4) Shop on the first and last days of the sale. Shopping on the first day means you can pretty much get what you want at lower prices. On the other hand, waiting until the last day may mean the prices will drop even lower so the store can get rid of the products. The selection might be limited, but you can really score some great deals by waiting it out. Remember, they are only deals if you really need the products. One local store to me does Double Ad Wednesdays- this is a great day to shop at this store for nice deals.
Also Read: How to Build an Emergency Fund Quickly
5) Shopping online is one simple way to budget your money. Because you are shopping at home, there is no rush and you can compare products and prices until you find exactly what you are looking for at a price that fits your budget. Be sure to budget shipping costs too. You also save money on gas.
6) Stop impulse buying using this one simple trick. If you need to buy something, go window shopping and leave your money, checkbook and credit cards at home. Make a list of all the items that might fit within your budget, include their prices. Then you can go home, study that list and make the best choice, after that go back to the store and buy only the items on the updated, best deal, list. This way you get the best price and you know exactly how much you will be spending.
Living within a budget does require you to may need to spend some time finding our about local and online sales so you can find the best price. But, that means you don’t have to live without, you just have to spend the money you have wisely.
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