Shopping Effectively


Over the weekend I went shopping to a large outlet mall with some friends visiting from interstate. During the shopping trip, which lasted about 2hrs, they spent close to $1000 on clothing and other merchandise. I was a bit flabbergasted that they could spend so much so fast, with little apprehension. I asked my friend, whom I knew was not particularly rich and quite frugal, how they afforded this expensive and rapid shopping trip.

He laughed and told me, “Andy, simple. I saved for 3 to 4 months before this trip, made a list of things we needed and most importantly only brought the budgeted amount of cash for the shopping trip so that we don’t spend what we cannot afford. So it felt good to buy the things we had researched and not worry about finding a better deal elsewhere”

I thought about this a bit more and was surprised how simple and straight forward a solution to effective and stress free shopping this was. I’ll be trying this going forward based on the above strategy with a couple of variations to increase my purchasing power.

1. I’ll start saving about $200 per month ahead of time for my big “clothes and other merchandise” shopping trip planned in 4 months. This will give me $800 by then. However rather than just leave this money sitting around I’ll stick in my high interest saving account which pays 3.5% interest. This will return about $10 or so. Not much, but it will cover lunch during the shopping trip.

2. I will try and avoid going to shopping malls for buying “stuff” prior to the 4 months leading up to trip, but during that time I will make a detailed list of what I need based on a personal inventory. To ensure I have an idea of what I should pay and for good coupons I will let my fingers do the walking on-line via Google searches for the item name to find potential savings. From past experience I reckon the coupons will save me around 10% when shopping. Most outlet centers also have coupons if you go to their websites. For example, Premium shopping outlets (a national chain) has a VIP club which give you tons of coupons to brand name shops, and you can easily save 10 to 20% in various stores. Unless you want the latest fashion or have specific size requirements, discount outlets can provide great deals.

3. Use cash on the big day. Using the allocated amount of cash on the trip will mean that I don’t spend what I cannot afford. In fact to be doubly sure I don’t overspend I will leave my credit cards at home. If I have any cash left over at the end, I’ll keep it for the next trip in a few months.

4. Sticking to the list. This is the simplest yet hardest thing to do when so many choices are available. However having a list of the things you want with an estimated price range will ensure your trip is effective. It is worth setting aside some fun money to get unplanned things you find along the way. This should be around 10% of your total budget.

Related Posts:
Save $29 in minutes

Leave a Reply

5 Comments on "Shopping Effectively"

Notify of

[…] make a big difference. Rather than buying bread and milk at the 7-11, shop at the supermarket and buy in bulk. You can freeze bread (so it can be used past expiry) and buy long life milk. Also, try Soy Milk. […]

[…] posts you might enjoy: ~ 5 Steps to Take Now in Preparation for Double Digit Inflation ~ Shopping Effectively ~ How to deal with higher taxes ~ Before Buying Stocks: Your Pre-Investing Checklist ~ 10 ways to […]

[…] Flow by Saving Money and Creating Passive Investment Income ~ Am I a Cheapskate or Just Frugal? ~ Shopping Effectively ~ Why Online High Yield Savings Accounts are Poor Investments ~ Teaching personal finance to the […]

[…] Further, given the shopping experience is generally so bad I really don’t think it is worth going […]

[…] the movie, food and toys related to the movie will cost me well upwards of $100 (even with frugal online shopping), I know the excitement on my son’s face – and my wife and my own I’m sure […]


Previous post:

Next post:

Disclaimer: The information contained on Saving to Invest (this site) is for general information purposes only and does not constitute factual or professional financial advice. In accordance with FTC guidelines, we disclose that we may have a financial relationship with some of the merchants/companies mentioned on this website. We do our best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers. Refer to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more information