The Art of Shopping on a Budget

Reading shopping list in supermarket. Female customer in grocery store with budget, plan or checklist. Lady doing groceries and buying food for family. Shopper with basket between shelves in aisle.

Buying on a budget is more than just scoring a great deal—although that can be very satisfying! When you stick to a spending limit on purchases, both big and small, it is a lifestyle choice that shows you are purposeful in how you manage your home and your money. Smart shopping is a wise move for anyone. What’s best? It’s easy to get started with some of these simple strategies.

  • Be prepared before you go shopping.

Have you ever gone on an errand run and ended up with a dozen things you didn’t actually need? It can be so easy to overspend. The first thing to do is to determine what your budget is for your shopping trip. (Ideally, you have already calculated this as part of a larger overall household budget.) If you have a set number, knowing how much you’ve allotted can help keep you from going overboard. The other thing to know before you go is to figure out exactly what it is you need. It can be frustrating to get home from the grocery store with a dozen eggs, only to see an egg carton already in the fridge. Eliminate duplicate or unnecessary purchases by going through your pantry or refrigerator beforehand and make a list. While this step may cost you a few minutes of time, it will ultimately save you money. If you are buying clothes, apply this same principle and look at what is already in your closet—you will be less likely to end up with your fourth black jacket when you come home.

  • Leave the plastic at home.

Credit cards make shopping easy—almost too easy. Once you know how much money you plan on spending, take the amount in cash with you. You can’t spend what you don’t have. This way, it’s impossible to splurge on any unplanned purchases.

  • Save money with an app.

Many larger stores have apps designed to make the shopping experience as streamlined, and affordable, as possible. For instance, Target has a feature-packed app that includes a shopping list as well as a search function that can tell you if an item is in stock. It even tells you the aisle where the item is located. Best of all, the app also lists the weekly specials, clearance items, and Cartwheel, which offers discounts on hundreds of goods. Using apps like these to draw up your shopping list can save you a significant amount of money.  

  • Get connected on social media.

Many shops use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites to advertise deals to their loyal customers. For instance, that means you can get everything from discounts on dog food at Kahoots Pet Store to special promotions for haircuts at Kids Hair Salon. All you have to do to start saving is click the store’s “follow” button.

  • Don’t skip the discount stores.

You can unearth great finds on many everyday items at stores such as Dollar Tree. If you need school supplies, gift wrap, and cards or toiletries—among many other things—you can get them here.

  • Always stop at the sales racks.

Most people know to look for sales at certain times of the year, such as Presidents Day Weekend or Black Friday. But savvy shoppers know that stores usually have clothing, home goods, and other items regularly rotating through their sales racks. Macy’s, for example, is especially well known for its sales section. This stop is a must-visit for anyone shopping on a budget.

  • Create a “fun money” fund.

You are not alone! We all spot something we simply must have during our shopping trip. Who hasn’t seen a sweater, a pair of pants, or shoes that speaks to their sense of style so clearly that the temptation to buy it seems overwhelming? That is when a stash of money for splurges comes in handy. Putting even just a little bit of money aside from each paycheck can soon add up. If you decide you can’t live without the item that caught your eye (or can’t wait for it to go on sale), you can go for it and still stick to your budget.

  • Take advantage of free services.

Many businesses offer attractive amenities for customers, and sometimes those amenities are free. Daniel’s Jewelers is one such shop, offering free ear piercing. Other stores, especially those that are owned locally, may change watch batteries, hem a pair of pants, or clean your phone for no extra charge if you buy something, so it pays to get to know the owners and staff and see what services they offer.

  • Shop at Grossmont Center.

In San Diego, the Center is something special. It is truly a mall for everyone, where many of our shops, both large chains and local businesses, offer affordable prices on a wide variety of goods and services. On top of that, they also have terrific promotions and deals that make shopping here even more attractive.

Now that you know how to shop smarter, what are you waiting for? Come to Grossmont Center and see all the ways you can save today.

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