I am a big believer in spending what you have & nothing more. I do not use my credit card unless it is for work trips which I pay off with my reimbursement check that way I am never in over my head. I know right now there are people working hard to pay off all the Christmas gifts they bought, that’s what January and February usually are right? The months to pay for Christmas. What if I told you there was a way to live comfortably without breaking the bank, would you believe me? Here are 5 tips to intentional shopping which help to get rid of the reliance on credit cards, ditch the debt and help with savings.
TIP #1- A Year In Quarters- So I did this post a while back if you haven’t read it yet than have a look. Basically at the end of December every year I write down all the events/occassions that I need to purchase cards, gift cards or gifts for and divide the year in to quarters. At that point I also decide what each gift will be and write it down . Each pay I put away $200 for gifts and each quarter I take the accumulated amount in my “gift fund” and go shopping for the next three months. Also if at any point throughout the year I see one of the gifts I have chosen on sale, if I accumulate enough points at the store it is at to get it with points or there is a good e-bates offer on that idea I will get it early because in the long run I am either getting it cheaper or getting some of my money back.
TIP #2- Points/ Cashback Programs- I love cash back and point programs and the best part is most of them are available as apps, there are three that I use regularly. PC Plus is the first, my main grocery store is the Superstore which has it’s own points program, each week I get customized offers on items I regularly buy anyway, 20,000= $20 which I normally use to buy an item off my year in quarters gift list. The 2nd two are both Cash back programs, the first is E-Bates, if I am going online to order something for myself or if there is a gift I want I check e-bates first to see if there is a cash-back offer, last year I ordered 4 plushes for birthday presents from the Disney Store which I saw through ebates were on-sale with a 5% cash back offer. The second is checkout 51 which is another great app for trips to the grocery store, I check my offers and star those which fit into my weekly meal plan.
TIP #3- Shop the Flyers & Meal Plan– I am not much into couponing since here in Canada we don’t get the kind of coupons you see in the US. If I see a coupon for something I am planning on buying anyway sure I’ll use it but I don’t make it a part of my routine to search for them, however if they happen to show up on a planning app than I of course will print them out. What I do use however is FLIPP. This app is incredible, it includes coupons on items I was already intending to buy plus it show me all the sales at all the stores in my area. I clip the sales on the app, print off the coupons. The first thing I check is if there are sales or coupons are for items I get points or cash-back on, then I look for sales/coupons on items I buy regularly. Using the items from the 3 apps in tip 2 & the Flipp app I come up with my weekly meal plan. That way almost everything I buy is either on-sale or will in some way benefit me financially.
TIP #4- Always shop your list- I always have to remind my husband before we go shopping that if it’s not on the list we are not getting it. So before you head out to the grocery store, department store or even the dollar store make a list of what you need/want while you are out and stick to it. If you see something while you are there that you are tempted to purchase leave it, write it down when you get home and give yourself 24 hours. If after than time you still want it go out and get it. I find this helps a lot with impulsive shopping.
Tip #5- Know the best times to shop- Certain sales are predictable if you know this you are more likely to get things on great sales. Here are just some annual predictable sales.
- January- Giftwrap, Holiday decor, Wedding items, Clothing, Exercise equipment, Storage containers, Children’s toys, Calendars, Planners & Linens
- February- Televisions, New Year’s eve decor, Furniture
- March- Valentine’s day decor, outdoor toys, camping equipment, winter clothing, perfume/cologne
- April- St. Patrick’s day decor, Car maintenance, Snow blowers, Shovels, Winter weather tools
- May- Easter Decor, Barbeque tools, Spa packages
- June- Gym memberships, Tools
- July- Jeans, Winter coats
- August- Textbooks, Kitchen accessories, School & office supplies
- September- Swimsuits, Summer clothes & shoes,Computers, pool toys
- October- Airconditioner, lawnmower, patio furniture
- November- Flooring & Carpets, Grills, Halloween decor
- December- Cars, golf clubs, gift certificates & realestate
– If you follow these tips you can take back control of your budget
Do you already do any of these things? was there anything you didn’t know about? let me know in the comments.