Let’s face it, budgeting is hard to do. You go into this store, or that store and you tell yourself, you’re only going to spend “X” amount of dollars. You walk in with your head held high and confident that you aren’t going to over spend. You are walking through the aisle and you are seeing things you want, and occasionally, you may toss an item or two in the basket. When you’ve walked the entire store, you look down and notice you have a basket full of items. At this point you are for certain that you are way over your budget. Now time for the test. You ask yourself, do you really need all the things in this basket? I mean, you did set a budget before you came in the store. You decide to stick with your budget and put over half of your basket back. Before you know it, you are down to two items that are within your budget. You then ask yourself, where on earth did you go wrong?
The problem with budgeting is, there is no right or wrong way to budget. Everybody has different ways of budgeting. Some people budget sporadically, and others budget more carefully. The sporadic budgeter usually picks a store and comes up with an amount and says this is all I’m going to spend and that’s it. The careful budgeter usually has coupons and a list of stores they are going to because they’ve already compared and contrasted the prices of the items at different stores. I’d fall into the sporadic budgeter category. Most of the time before I go in a store, I pick a random amount and I stick to it. So far, I’ve been good with not going over that budget. Very seldom will I fall into the careful budgeter category. That’s only if I’m buying for household items and I already know what I need. I already know how much everything costs because I’ve bough the item a thousand times more and I know how much money I need to have on me.
For me, sporadic budgeting is easy. I’m an avid shopper. I love to shop. The thing is, I never pay full price for anything. I shop on the clearance rack for everything. Whether it’s shoes, clothes, jewelry, underwear, or even food. I never pay full price for anything. I always look for the sale items, those infamous BOGO deals. One thing my mom always taught me was to come out of the store with as much of your money as possible. I never understood that because if you are spending money then how can you come back with as much as possible. As I got older and started shopping on my own, I slowly began to grasp the concept of what she was implying. When searching through the clothing racks, look for stickers. Those are a sure indicator that the price is on clearance or has been reduced. Some places even use the colorful circles, look for those and find a legend to tell you what each color means. Sometimes you might even get lucky and it comes up reduced at the register. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. An item in the basket can be marked reduced for $7.99 and you get to the register and it rings up for $3.50. I’m sure we’ve all been there.
Another thing to do is compare and contrast items. Let’s say you find a nail kit and it’s marked $9.99 and this nail kit has ten colors, a buffer, nail art stickers and a filer. You search around to see if you can find the same thing cheaper or maybe one for sale. You will even consider less nail colors and stickers. Instead, you find one that has 20 colors, a whole nail file kit and two sheets of nail art stickers marked for the same price. This is where the compare and contrast kicks in. Now remember I told you I never pay full price for anything, and I mean that. But, there comes a time where some of the items we want aren’t always on clearance, or a part of a BOGO deal. In this situation, I’d get the one that has more. It’s the same price for both items, except one has more to offer for $9.99. If there is something in the store that you just have to have and it’s not marked for a reduced price, search around and see if you can get more bang for your buck. See if you can find another item marked the same with more to offer. It’s just that simple. You’d be surprised at how many items you can find priced like this.
Another one of my shopping tips are to stay away from department stores. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in JC Penny’s and saw the exact same item in Ross for half the price. Places like JC Penny’s, Sears, Dillard’s, etc., have to sale things at outrageous prices to keep up with their competitors and maintain their customer base. Places like Ross, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Burlington etc., sale things at reasonable prices because they aren’t concerned with a customer base. They know people will shop their regardless because their prices are always low and affordable. Take for example, me and my daughter was in Burlington last week. I was shopping in the shoe aisle and found a shoe that I wanted. I picked it up to see if it was my size, and then I searched for the price. The shoe was marked $27.99. I put the shoe in my basket and proceeded to look down other aisles. As I did, I saw the same shoe in my basket on the other aisle, only this shoe was marked $49.99. So, I thought to myself well maybe the shoe in my basket is marked wrong. I shrugged it off, until I started seeing more of the same shoe all marked $49.99. Now you would think that I would put my pair of shoes back and get the one that is correctly priced, correct? Wrong! I most certainly did not put my pair back. It’s not my fault someone else switch the stickers on the shoes. For most people who don’t know this, but if something is incorrectly marked, the store has to sell it to you at that incorrectly marked price. That’s the way you found it. They have to sell it to you like that. Needless to say, my $50 pair of shoes only cost me $30. That was fine by me, because like I said, I try my best to never pay full price for anything.
So the next time you’re out shopping and you don’t really have nothing in particular you’re looking for, try my sporadic budgeting tips. Go out on a limb and pick an amount, and go for it. Just remember to look around for items that are on clearance. This won’t always be clearly evident, so it may take some searching. I like to take my time and look when I shop, so I don’t mind finding things that aren’t clearly evident. You’d be surprised at what you find when you take your time.
Happy Shopping #everydayinspiration