Are you a smart shopper?

Here are some shopping tips to help you get more from the money you spend.

MichelleYou want to make the most of the money you have, right? So even if you have tons of shopping experience, we have some tips that could help you shop smarter.

CarlosThe little stuff you buy everyday can really add up. So check out these ideas.

Smart shopping tips

At the store
Resist impulse buying! Ask yourself: Do I really need it? Do I need it today? What if don’t buy it now? Can I do this at a lower cost? Also, limit the cash you carry; shop with your spending plan in mind; avoid ATM fees by using your bank’s ATMs; watch for sales; wait for the right price; and, look for coupons and rebates. Shop for value!

Food shopping
Save money by eating at home; make a shopping list for the grocery store; watch for sales and coupons; buy products you use frequently in large sizes or bulk quantities; don’t go food shopping when hungry.

Credit card tips
Use your credit card to purchase larger, lasting items; limit the number of credit cards you have; avoid having a monthly credit card balance greater than 10% of your monthly net income. Don’t make the mistake of using credit cards to buy things you really can’t afford. Don’t drown yourself in credit card debt! See the topic All About Credit to learn more.

Cell phone tips
Shop for a package deal; watch out for high text messaging and web access charges; read the contract before you sign; ask questions; make sure you understand all features & fees; keep track of your usage; pay your bill on time and in full.

Take advantage of discounts
You may be eligible for discounts if you have a valid student or military, ID, or other organization memberships. Research the benefits and ask stores what cards they honor for discounts. Some grocery and drug stores offer savings cards for customers. Some stores and businesses offer their employees a special discount on merchandise. You might consider getting a seasonal job at a store where you plan to do your holiday shopping, for example.

Skip the rest, save for best
Consider skipping a few low-cost purchases you could do without in order to save for one item you really value. For example, trade-off your next few purchases of jeans and t-shirts to save for one nice outfit, or skip your visits to fast food restaurants in order to afford one dinner at a top restaurant. Bypass small luxuries (like fancy coffees and movie rentals) for a few months and use the money to help you afford one great travel experience.

Find a creative way
Think about ways you might be able to obtain something you want at a lower cost or even for free. For example, you might be able to see a play or hear a concert by volunteering to usher. Or you might get some friends together in order to qualify for a volume or group discount. Share a magazine subscription with a friend rather than buying single issues off the rack.

Note: Not sure where your money’s going? It’s easy to keep track of your spending: keep your receipts and review your monthly statements. Check them both against your Spending Plan.

For more information about buying on credit, see the topic All About Credit.

Click the Next button for advice about major purchases.