Shopping Off Season with a List
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Shopping Off Season with a List

Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 at 4:31 am
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Shop Smart for the Best Prices

Shop Smart for the Best Prices

One of the great secrets of saving money is to take advantage of the deals as they happen. Sure, you may not be thinking of home improvement in the middle of winter, back to school in the spring, or holiday shopping in August, but don’t let that prevent you from getting the deals.

One thing that helps me is to keep a running list of things that we want or need. This benefits me in two ways. First, it prevents impulse purchases. If we decide that there is something we want to buy, I add it to our list. Sometimes after we sleep on it, we find that we really didn’t want it at all or we find a cheaper way to have it. Think of the money that saves!

Second, having this list helps us to get the very best price on everything. If I spot a good deal or a coupon code, I can compare it against our list. This works for both big ticket items and general household needs.

Third, sitting down with the list helps us to anticipate our purchases and prepare for them, both by saving up enough money and doing research on the best brands and prices.

Here is an example, when our ancient television was starting to develop color issues, we added “television” to the list. We did some research and decided on the best size, brand and features for us. Months later, Sears was quietly getting rid of the current year models to make room for new brands to feature in the upcoming holiday season. We called around to find the model we wanted at a big discount and then combined that offer with a coupon. Had we purchased the same television just a few months earlier, we would have spent an additional 100 percent (twice the amount we paid). We also saved on any interest, since we had the cash saved up.

There are a couple of ways to organize your list. I prefer to keep mine on my smart phone. This way I always have it with me, especially when I am out shopping. My list includes the item plus any notes about it, such as model number, best price seen so far, etc. I can also use this list to search for coupon codes and shop online. Sometimes I might see an item but know that I can get a better price online.

My list also includes general items, such as clothing needs and sizes for the kids. This way, I can stock up on those clearance racks and deals without worrying about buying too many shirts and not enough pants, for example. When Gap had its end of summer polo shirt sale, I was prepared.

Shopping off season with a list can really save you money, so I recommend that you get one started today!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.