How much money do you take with you when you go shopping? Personally, I carry a lot, at least, I have access to a lot of money. In an earlier article, I shared what I carry in my wallet – I normally carry anywhere from $60-$100 cash, a personal credit card, a business credit card, and an ATM/Debit card.
I pay my credit cards in full each month, so that means I generally have access to a lot of money when I leave the house every day… But that doesn’t mean I spend it! When I go shopping I look for ways not to spend money, instead of looking for ways to spend money.
How Much Money Should You Take When You Go Shopping?
I received a question from a reader earlier this week that asked how much money you should carry when you go shopping.
How much money do you need when you go shopping? There are so many factors to consider. Would you be kind enough as to give me some pointers as what to look for or avoid? I really appreciate your help.
C., thank you for sending in your question. That is a very broad question, and the answer will vary from person to person. But I will do my best to share tips on how I go shopping, and I will invite readers to share their tips as well. I’m sure we will all learn a few good pointers!
Never go shopping without an agenda and a budget
One of the first and best recommendations I can make is to never go shopping without an agenda and a budget. Simply jumping in the car and driving to the store is a recipe for overspending – at least it is for me! Before I go shopping, I think about what I need and I write it down on a list. That way I am mentally prepared to spend a certain amount of money.
Make a grocery list. When you go grocery shopping, go with a list and a general idea of how much you will spend. Try to avoid items that aren’t on the list. The only exceptions I make are when certain staples go on sale. And I only buy those items I know I will use in a relatively short period of time.
Try window shopping online first. Before going to a mall or department store, try window shopping online first – that way you have a good idea of what is on sale and what you are looking for. Then reserve your trip to the store just to try on the items or see them in person before buying. This is also beneficial because you are less likely to make impulse buys if you browse online but make your purchases in the store.
Avoid the “It’s on sale” temptation
Raise your hand if you’ve used this line before – “But it’s on sale! I’m saving money!”
Wrong – you aren’t saving money if you are buying something you don’t need! A good way to avoid the temptation of buying things because they are on sale is to place a mandatory 3-day waiting period on any unplanned purchases. If you still want the item after three days and it fits into your normal budget, then go for it! Otherwise, skip it. Chances are the feeling of needing that item will be gone and you will decide you can do without the item.
Know why you spend
Some people shop for fun or because it gives them the rush to find a “great deal” or the perfect “fill in the blank.” Think about why you spend money – and if you are finding yourself spending money for the wrong reasons, you might want to rethink your spending patterns.
Sometimes you only need to make small changes to see big results.
How do you limit your spending while shopping?
These are the steps I take to limit my spending, but I’m sure others have found things that work better for them. I would love to hear how you limit your spending while shopping!