We’ve all been there – walking into the store to pick up one item and somehow walking out with a cart full of items – and a depleted wallet.
Perhaps you scored a really good “sale” – or simply couldn’t resist the cute new towel set with the bright colored lemons – but now your feeling the pain of your latest purchase and discouraged you didn’t stick to your budget.
The good news is – today is a new day and you can make a choice to do something different!
Whether you have zero debt or thousands of dollars racked up on your credit card – by incorporating a few simple things to your life such as creating a shopping list – you can finally beat the urge to load your cart with frivolous items.
Inventory What You Already Have
Before you start grocery shopping – figure out what is actually in your pantry.
This way, you’ll know exactly what you need and won’t overbuy food that will just end up rotting because you can’t eat through it fast enough.
The time to remember if you actually have avocados or onions is not once you’re in the store!
Likewise, if you are searching for a birthday card for a friend, you might already have a drawer full of unused cards at home you could use – instead of buying yet another card.
Make A List
Here’s a secret every savvy shopper knows – make a list – and stick to it.
No matter how tempted you are to buy something extra – yes even if it is on sale – don’t do it!
Of course, this requires discipline.
In terms of grocery shopping, you’ll need to plan out your meals for the week and write down the ingredients you’ll need.
Yes, this requires meal prepping – or at least having a general idea of what you want to eat for the week.
The good news is, once you enter the store you have a blueprint on what to buy – and you won’t forget anything!
If you’re not a paper person – there are many apps you can choose from to help make your grocery shopping easier.
The Budget Mom reported:
“Just having a grocery list is not enough. You have to be disciplined enough to stick to it.
Having a running grocery list on your fridge is good enough but you can also download a ton of phone apps to make sure your grocery list is always with you.
The phone app I would recommend is OurGroceries. I love this app because it allows your spouse to add things to the list as well. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has used the last of something, forgot about it, and I end making a second trip the store (which could lead to more spending).”
This same principle goes for anything else you need to purchase – if you only need cotton balls, toothpaste, and hair ties – then only purchase those items.
Don’t load up your cart with the new cute lipstick and makeup bag just because you want them.
This self- discipline might seem cruel – but your budget will thank you later.
Leave Room In Your Budget For Fun
Sticking to a budget can be hard – but it will help you get your finances in order.
Some people opt for a strict no spend challenge, while others allow for a little bit of “play money” to purchase something fun at the end of the month.
There is no set rule – but the key to maintaining your budget goals is self-control and creating a plan.
If you really can’t handle walking into Target without buying a bunch of stuff – then don’t go to Target!
Set the boundaries for wherever you need them to maintain control.
The more you get used to having a list to go shopping, the easier it will be for you to determine the difference from what you want – and what you need.
Do you use a list when you go shopping?
What is the hardest part for you in sticking to a budget?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your family and friends!