As you soon begin to realize that money does not simply grow on trees, you will also realize that you have less money to spend on things you enjoy. For me, my joy is coloring books, candles, clothes, shoes, food and accessories.
All these things can be found at just about any retail chain, however, it all depends on whether the price is right.
I have to ball out on a budget, sort of speak, as I am in college and have obligatory payments that I must make.
I try to make purchases that are:
- Reasonably Priced – Who knows how much money you have on you, or whether you are just trying to spend your last paycheck. Make sure that the price is right on what you are buying. Take into consideration the pros and cons of making your purchase. Try shopping at places, such as Amazon, Safeway, King Soopers, Walmart, Walgreens, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Ragstock, PacSun, Forever 21, Crossroads Trading Company, Buffalo Exchange, and/or any “buy, sell, and trade” store. If you are feeling conflicted on whether or not to purchase the item, see how much you truly want it and come back later. Chances are you can find better deals online or in-store, if you look hard enough.
- Quality Over Quantity – Check to see the condition of the quality of the product. In this case, less is more. This may not be the case for food, however, the quality of your food, aka what you put into your body, is important. In regards to clothing, accessories, and shoes, quality is of utmost importance. You would rather have an item that is made well and will last a lifetime, over clothes that will fall apart on you quickly. Investments in essentials, such as jeans, pants, and basics, are things that directy correlate with the idea behind quality over quantity. Art supplies are best bought in quality if you are pursuing an art career or are truly passionate about the activity.
- Skip The Brand Names – In regards to everything I purchase, brand name does not matter to me, just as long as the quality is there. Food does not apply to this rule as buying brand name items from, Kroger, Safeway, and Walgreens make the purchase much cheaper. In terms of clothing, shoes, and accessories, it is the complete opposite. Brand name products, such as, Free People, Steve Madden, Gucci, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Repossi, and Louis Vitton, to name a few, are not essential to your wardrobe. I find that consignment stores and “buy, sell, and trade” stores, such as Crossroads Trading Company, Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet sell brand name items for much cheaper, at an affordable price to the public.
- Head Straight To The Sale Section – Ignore the full-priced items and aim to buy things from the sale section. If you look hard enough in the messy sale section of retail stores, such as PacSun, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Ragstock, Crossroads Trading Company, and even Free People you are always bound to find something that is below retail price and a good deal. Scanning the entirety of the sale section helps your wallet and your bank account. Waiting until things go onto sale is something that I do. Keep eyeing what you want, and hopefully, fingers crossed, the item will be set aside on the sale racks for you to buy discounted.
- Mall Employee Deals – Take advantage of any deals and discounts you may receive if you work at a mall or a shopping district. Always mention that you work around the area in case you are able to get a discount on regular priced items. Some malls offer amazing discounts, such as 10%-20% discounts on their merchandise. Always ask and mention that to any employee that you encounter in your shopping district.
- Patience – Being patient and looking carefully, all while comparing prices is vital. As mentioned above, weigh out the pros and the cons, and see whether or not this is an impulse buy or not. If the item you wish to buy is still there next time you return, then perhaps it’s fate that you should buy the item.
- Only Buy Full-Priced Items If You CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT OR ABSOLUTELY NEED IT – I apply this rule to most of my attire. I refuse to buy anything full price unless I cannot stop thinking about it or actually need the item. Most times, items will always be in stock, unless you wait a few months, especially in regards to retail. In regards to food, do the same. Try to find deals on food items that have a special deal, such as 2 for $7 on an item. Places like King Soopers, Walgreens, Walmart, Safeway, Trader Joes, etc. offer deals on regular priced items. Keep your eyes pealed. Additionally, if you feel as though you will absolutely eat the food, buy it. Make sure to be careful about buying items that you will not eat or use in the future.
- Keep Your Eyes Pealed For Additional Discounts & Random Sales – Many retail stores and grocery stores change up their sale and discounted food. Subscribing to online emails allows you to stay updated on current deals that are only for a limited time. Be sure to be aware of them! Shop carefully and smart.
- Decide How Much You Want To Spend Ahead Of Time – If you decide a number in your head of how much money you wish to spend a day, you will not only be budgeting, but saving money on the useless crap that fills up our closets, refrigerators, and houses. Shopping is not a sin, however, it is easy for one to get caught up on spending money. Just before you even realize it, all your money is gone. Pulling out a certain amount of cash assists me in budgeting, allowing me only to spend a certain amount of cash.
- Sign Up For Their Rewards Program – Sign up for reward programs with as many stores as possible, as you will gain points, while simultaneously spending less money, through the designated program. Most times after a certain amount of money spent at any place, you will receive rewards, discounts, or even gift cards, or free items. Not only are you helping yourself, but you feel less guilty spending money at the location.
- Make A List Of Things You Need – This helps, in the case of food, clothing, art supplies, etc. Deciding what you need or truly want is important, so you will not get sidetracked while you are there. All the distractions, especially at the cash register counter, are all items placed strategically so that the customer will spend more money. Go in knowing what you want and need, and always do not hesitate to ask for assistance. A list will allow you to also budget and will give you a general idea of how much money you will be spending. Though this is a little bit harder when it comes to clothing, shoes and accessory shopping, having a general idea of what you are willing to spend and what you are looking for is always key.
- Check Out More Than One Store – Look around and be patient with your shopping. Do not just limit yourself to one, single store. Shop around, find deals, compare prices, and find a store that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. I shop around at many retail outlets, being especially selective about prices and the quality of the product. The quality of the product and prices often differ from store-to-store, try to find a reasonably priced retail outlet to get the best deals. Similarly, when it comes to shopping for food, art supplies, interior decoration, school supplies, check out more than one store. All stores are competing with each other to achieve the lowest price for your best dollar. The choices are endless and chances are you will find a place that will satisfy your budget and your needs.
- Shop Online – Online stores usually have sales ongoing that most stores do not have. Similarly, the online shops may have more merchandise than that displayed in the stores. Additionally their sale sections are naturally much more organized, with a wider selection. Online sale sections for stores listed above are much more extensive, including more of a variety of the merchandise, than that in store.This list provides a set of rules that you can follow, especially when you are ballin’ on a budget. Save money for all the things you enjoy in life, while also budgeting, and deciphering the pros and cons of the purchase. Shopping smart and hard are always key! Keep your eyes on the prize and realize that deals are out there, as long as you look hard enough.