Shopping serves many purposes. Fundamentally it provides us with the things needed to survive and to live our lives. We need to buy food and clothing for our families, shingles for our roofs and carburetors for our cars. But shopping can also be a social activity or something we just get an urge to do. It can also be an emotional release, just be wary of addiction.
The best thing to do to control this part of the budget is to differentiate between shopping for necessity and shopping for fun. Once you've discerned between the two, applying these tips will help you shift how you spend your money, creating more financial prosperity in your life.
- Plan menus for the week, or cook and freeze meals a month at a time. This will help you create a grocery list with everything you really need. Creating home cooked meals keeps convenience foods to a minimum, which is more sustainable. It also makes it easier to eat healthier because the whole foods used when cooking from scratch are cheaper and healthier than convenience foods. (I'll be getting into this a little deeper in my upcoming cookbook, Eat Well, Be Well. Out in early 2013 ~ Finally!)
- See what household cleaning products you can make, yourself, to avoid paying for name brand products. Many homemade cleaners are better for the environment, not to mention pennies on the dollar compared to store brands. (I'll cover this in the cookbook as well.)
- Pay cash for clothing (and, any purchase for that matter). Don't put clothing on a major or store credit card. This costs more in the long run because of high interest rates. Hit the sale racks and don't shy away from super stores like Wal Mart. Their clothing is surprisingly well made. I'm still wearing clothes from four years ago. And don't start lecturing me about corporate stores and their foreign products. We're a global economy, people. I buy local whenever it makes sense and whenever I can. If it wasn't for Wal Mart, a lot of people in my community would not have work or be able to properly take care of their families. Really though, when it comes to my dreams, nothing is going to stand in my way. Kick-ass video editing software does not grow on trees. ;~D
- Get your friends together for a clothing swap. Have everyone clean out their closet and meet at a friend's house. It is free and fun. Some of my favorite pieces of clothing have been clothes that my friends sent my way and I love seeing my friends looking fabulous in clothes that just didn't suit me anymore.
- Thrift stores, flea markets and rummage sales are a great place to find quality clothing, furniture and even appliances. I find clothes for work and leisure at my local Salvation Army and Goodwill on a regular basis. Ken still wears the $1 pair of never-worn pants I found at a rummage sale four years ago. I buy my dishes and many of my cooking utensils at my local thrift stores. I've also found great furniture, cookware and utensils, not to mention vacuum cleaners and DVD players. If you want to take it even further, Goodwill also auctions cars. When it comes to sustainability, a great reuse is the way to go. You spend less and the money goes to a great cause: helping your fellow man, right in your community.
- Who needs the mall? If you're stuck with an urge to shop because you need to have some fun, go back to the thrift store or hit some rummage sales, or yard sales. You can put $20 in your pocket and come home with a bag of treasures. There is nothing more thrilling than the amazing deals from a rummage sale, especially on "bag day" when you pay $5 for whatever you can fit in a grocery bag. Plus, when you come home, you wont't have to deal with the guilt of taking money from your dreams. ;)
Finally, the most important way to honor your money and your dreams is to only buy what you have the money for. I pay cash for everything. If I don't have enough money to get what I need, I don't buy it. End of story. At the end of the day, what I end up with is everything I need and dreams that are valued.
P.S. ~ Not Sure What It Is You Truly Value? Click Here For Three Free Worksheets I Created To Help You Out! :)