Feb 5, 2012 Sara Keenan
Kansas City's Savvy Shopper
Save Money by....not shopping!
For the next few weeks I'm going to blog about ways to save money that do not involve using coupons. I hear from a lot of busy people that they just don't have time for coupons. And trust me, I get it. I don't have time for coupons right now, either. For a few years I was a die-hard couponer who never left the house without her coupon binder. But now as a working mom with 20 things pulling me in different directions I just don't have the time anymore. I still clip coupons and use them, but gone are the days of the well-planned shopping trip where every item had a coupon to go with it.
But couponing isn't the ONLY way to save money on the things you need. So for a couple of weeks I'm going to blog about some outside the box ideas of how to save yourself money.
And the first one may not really strike you as outside-the-box, but for me it is a hard one. Guess what...you can save money by NOT SHOPPING! Revolutionary, I know. But think about it a little. The more you shop, the more money you are spending, even if you are shopping for things you need. If you go to the grocery store 3 times each week that is 3 opportunities to throw a few extras into the cart that you may not need. Packs of gum and extra bags of chips add up fast! And of course if you even set foot in Target you know you will walk out with $50 worth of stuff that wasn't on your list.
There are also the times where you hear about a great deal and rush out to the store to check it out without stopping to think, "Do I really NEED a new pair of jeans?" Even if those jeans are 75% off...if you are spending money on something you don't need, then it may not be a smart buy.
As a bargain shopper this has been a lesson I have had to learn the hard way. Even shopping for awesome deals means spending money. So this year I have pledged to stay out of the stores. Even if there is an hard-to-pass-up deal.
By planning one big grocery shopping trip each week, I have less impulse buys in my cart. And I am trying really hard not to go to Target unless I truly need something. (My goal is once every two weeks...but Target is my happy place so that is hard). I used to go just to "check out the clearance" each week and guess where that landed me...with lots of things that were really great deals and a Target bill that was higher than I wanted it to be.
I also have been skipping clothing stores. Even when I hear that they are taking 50% off their clearance items. Because guess what...we don't NEED any clothes. And even though I buy things ahead on clearance, I have a nice stash saved up for both kids already so I really shouldn't add to it. By skipping these stores I'm saving money...the money I would have spent on the clearance items and also the money I may have been tempted to spend on something full price that was too cute to pass up.
Does this mean I never shop unless we are out of milk? No. Sometimes it's great to take a stroll through Target or the mall. But I'm trying to think of it as a "once in a while" treat instead of a weekly occurrence. Hopefully our budget will be better off because of it!