This may sound very basic, and it is, but if you shop smart, ANYONE can start prepping, no matter how little money that you may have…
The prime benefit of shopping smart is saving money. When you save money, you can choose to apply the savings towards other things, including general preparedness.
To shop smart will also enable you to buy MORE with your money, perhaps more food preps while grocery shopping.
Here are a few ideas to help you shop smart…
Common strategies of frugality include the reduction of waste, curbing costly habits, suppressing instant gratification, seeking efficiency, avoiding traps, defying expensive social norms, embracing cost-free options, using barter, and staying well-informed about local circumstances.
WANTS VERSUS NEEDS
Differentiate your wants and needs. We ALL fall into this trap. In fact, many or most purchases are ‘wants’. We really need very little, but we choose to want more. While trying to get more for your money, ask yourself if you really need this or if you really want this… and understand the consequences (less money for elsewhere).
TRIPS TO THE STORE
This is a surprising money drain for many people. Many of us act on impulse. We run out to the store for just a few items that we need right now. If you factor in the cost of driving your car to the store to pick up those few things, you may have just effectively paid a-lot more than you thought for them… Fewer trips means less gas money spent. Coordinate your runs to stores. Plan a trip where you are making a loop around to various places all in one trip. Wait until you build up a list to make it worthwhile to go out and spend.
COUPONS AND SALES
While stores will use their sale flyers to lure you in, if you stick to the sales items of the things you need or can save in your preps, then it can be a very substantial savings. If the store is out of the product on sale, be sure to get a rain-check for later! Most all stores will do this. Coupons are also a no-brainer. The traps that you may fall into though are picking up items on sale or with coupons that you don’t necessarily use or need. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale, buy it because it fits your plan!
WHERE YOU SHOP
Experience in your local area will tell you who has the best prices for certain types of things. Take advantage of this where it is practical. Don’t be lazy and pay a-lot more for certain items in the grocery store while you know you can get them substantially cheaper somewhere else. Take advantage of online stores who offer free shipping, or free shipping on orders over a certain amount. This way you won’t even have to leave your home – just shop online. Be aware of price comparisons. If you have a ‘Dollar’ store, take advantage the amazing deals. Don’t be ashamed of looking for clothes or other items in a 2nd-hand store. There are amazing deals in these places.
Prices of most commodities do not go down over time; they go up. What’s really happening is your currency is being devalued over time. Many smart people believe that true inflation today is really between 5 and 10% (not what the gov’t statistics say). They’re probably right. There is also a (not so hidden) price inflation of smaller packaging. How many of you have seen this? Most, I suspect… So the point is that procrastination on buying items that you NEED, will only cost you more in the future. Note that this would theoretically even-out if your paycheck went up the same rate as inflation, however we all know that this is NOT happening for most of us in the middle class…
Be organized and know what you need. Stick to a list. When you’re at the store, it is easy to get side-tracked and buy more than what you intended. Be careful about what’s on your shopping list.
What are some of your tips to shop smart?