My first frugal tip for 2014: Create shopping rules for yourself to save time and money. I find it easy to stay organized in my home where all my tools and reminders are handy and automated. When I’m in a store, it’s too easy to be distracted by my kids, my husband, the clearance racks, sale items – you name it.
Going into a store with a gazelle-focus ensures I stick to the list, spend what I have, and not spend a lot of time in a store. Remember, the longer you spend in a store, the more tempting it is to add stuff to your cart, especially those fantastic bargains you just can’t pass up.
My Shopping Rules
- Keep a running list in my iPhone using the Simplist app. Any time we run out of something, I added it to the Simplist app on my phone which I keep organized by store and general errands. If I don’t have time to put the item in my phone list, I jot a note on my paper planner and review my notes at the end of the day.
- Keep a list of needs for the year. We have a wedding and First Communion on our spring calendar. The boys will need outfits and probably new sneakers. My daughter will need a dress. All of these go on a long-term list on my iPhone in case I run across a great deal or someone offers to lend me something.
- Write a list for the store I’m going to. Yes, I write my list out on paper, especially if my husband is coming with me. I love the security of a paper list, and I find it easier to look at in the store than on the smaller iPhone screen. (Use scrap paper for your list.)
- Review the list with my husband. I always check with my husband before shopping. Sometimes he’ll think of something I forgot, or he may need an ingredient for a meal.
- Plan my shopping instead of running to the store whenever I need something. My husband does the weekly produce trip every Saturday morning; we always buy enough fruits, vegetables, and milk to get us through the week. We go to Costco every 3 to 4 weeks. I do a Target stock up trip for toiletries at the beginning of the month.
- Keep a running total while shopping in Costco. Since Costco can be an expensive shopping trip, my husband and I shop with a list and I keep a running total of our spending with the help of my iPhone.
- Always bring bags. I keep 2 shopping bags in the front of my car by my seat. These bags compress into a small storage bag which can be hooked to my purse. Target gives me $.05 off my purchase for each bag. I keep cloth bags in the back of my car for bigger shopping trips.