People get into debt for all kinds of reasons a bad investment, overspending, an emergency that drained their savings, you get the idea. But however, you ended up in the situation the end result is the same, isn’t it?
There really is no sugar coating it if you’re in debt and have applied for an IVA your finances are going to suffer but that doesn’t mean you can just stop buying your essentials does it? Sure, those luxuries should be avoided or left behind for now, but you still need to buy food, toiletries, and other essentials, don’t you?
But managing your weekly shopping while you’re in debt is very tricky and it’s easy to make mistakes or fall into those old habits. So, to help you tackle your shopping trips I’ve outlined some smart shopping tips below. By following these tips you’ll be able to save more and budget better while also reducing your debt.
Get Your Essentials Written Down
The first thing anyone who wants to ensure they shop smart should do is write down a list of all their essential goods. Food, drink, and toiletries are going to appear on everyone’s list but then there are other things to consider.
Pet food, petrol, cleaning supplies (to give just a few examples) are all common essentials that people will need to stock up on every so often. Once you’ve got all your essentials worked out you’ll know what you need to buy has a minimum this will help when it comes to budgeting your weekly shop.
Avoid Impulse Items
Whether it’s a supermarket or a small corner shop they’ll likely be strategically placed impulse items all over the place. And avoiding them isn’t easy sure a chocolate bar or packet of crisp might not seem like a lot, but it will add up and when you’re trying to save money especially if you’re in debt impulse items are things you should avoid in all forms.
Impulse items aren’t just things strategically placed in shops either they can also be things you think you need. Which is why your essentials list from my first tip is so important, think carefully before buying anything that isn’t on that list because if you don’t need it it’s money that could be saved.
Special Offers Aren’t Always What They Appear
Shops rotate their special offers on a regular basis and while it might look like you’re getting a great bargain that’s not always the case. That 6 pint of milk might be on offer but if you don’t need that much, and the 2 pint is still cheaper is there really any point in buying it?
It’s also easy to start buying products that aren’t on your essentials list just because you’ve been enticed by the special offer message. Remember even if it looks like a great deal if it’s not something you actually need ask yourself whether you can afford to buy it first.
Shop Around More
There is no shortage of places to shop is there? And you don’t have to just stick to one place either. If you want to get the best deal on your shopping you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around at different places if you can. You should also try discount chains and shops to help you save more money on your essential goods.
Make A Shopping List
In a world with online shopping, dedicated shopping apps and the ability to pay using your smartphone using a shopping list might seem a little low tech. But they are great tools when it comes shopping on a budget and can really help you save money.
If you’re struggling with debts, then a shopping list can be a huge help because it will help you stick to your essentials. In fact, that list of essentials items from my very first tip can double as your shopping list can’t it?
Swap Out Expensive Brands
Even if you stick to your essentials you can still reduce the costs by moving to cheaper brands. If you like coke-cola, for example, why not switch it out for a cheaper brand? It might take you a while to adjust to taste differences in some cases, but it will also save you a lot of money.
Many supermarkets also have their own specially designed budget brands as well for all kinds of goods from soap powder to shampoo and much more. So, try searching those out if you want to cut the cost of your weekly shop.
Be Firm With Yourself
This might seem relatively easy after some of the tips I’ve mentioned but in the majority of cases, it is one of the hardest tips to follow through on. Even if you’re struggling with debt and trying to save money it can be very easy to fall back into old habits and end up buying things you don’t need.
So, you need to be firm with yourself and stick to your budget, if you’re really struggling to avoid temptations while you shop then consider shopping with a friend or family member. They’ll be able to help you stay on track. One other trick some people use is to go shopping with just the money they need to buy their essentials.
That way you can avoid buying anything you don’t need because you won’t have the means to pay for it. It’s an extreme method and I wouldn’t advise it every case but if you think it might work for you, by all means, give it a try.
Treats Should Be Earned
I’ve probably made the weekly shop sound like quite the gauntlet, now haven’t I? But you can still have fun and treat yourself even when you’re saving money just make sure it’s not something you do every week.
One good tip to follow is to make treats a reward for having a productive and successful month. For example, if you’ve met your savings goal for the previous month then reward yourself with a little extra purchase like some chocolate of a nice dinner, this way you’ll be more likely to make your savings in the future.