Hello Dear Reader,
I consider myself to be a savvy consumer who makes every spending decision an informed one but there are plenty of people who just get it so very wrong. If you’ve seen the BBC’s #shopwellforless, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Of course, the TV company will go and find the most extreme cases of people who seem to shop in the same way that I breathe, it’s as if they have to shop or their lives wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t.
I get that it’s hard for some people and they succumb to peer pressure, fashion, an unfilled need, being unable to say no or just being a total numpty; the latter being the minority but they do exist. You know the sort, I can only wear/eat/be seen in/drive blah, blah and a bit more blah and there is nothing sensible about any of their justifications. I really don’t know why I watch these TV programmes as I watch them open mouthed wondering about their lifestyle choices although I fully accept each to their own. I mean, if everyone lived like me, watching every penny, budgeting for every spend, thinking about financial goals and objectives then the retail sector would shrink by more than half.
So, if you want to shop well for less then you need to start making informed decisions and here’s what I do if I need something. I ask the following questions and take the following steps.
- Can I get it for free? I’ve signed up online, on Facebook and Twitter to local sites where people have something to give away and I’m on it like a Ninja! So far, I’ve got a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, curtains, bedding and firewood. Free is my favourite price and if I need something, you’d be amazed how long I can go without something until I can get it for nothing. I’m cheeky enough to ask members of the public for something they are taking out of the back of their car at the recycling centre or they’ve put out for collection by knocking on their doors.
- Can I get it second hand? If I need something and I can’t get it for free, then I’m all over Shpock, ebay, charity shops, freeads, local adverts on Facebook. Most of my furniture, curtains, craft fabric and books were all bought second hand. My quilts are mainly made of shirts, pyjamas and bedding I’ve bought in charity shops.
- This should have been the first thing but I ask myself can I do without it or live with out it? Usually, I don’t actually need it. The thing I do is to take time to think about it and we’ll discuss it as a couple. Currently my sofa is getting on my nerves as it’s just not comfy…………..in the meantime, I’ll sit on the floor on a cushion and no harm is done!
- If I’ve thought about it, can’t get it free or second hand then I ask, am I getting the best price for this? I’ve put off buying new work trousers for ages and repaired my old ones and wash them midweek and keep wearing them but I really do need a new pair. My size is extra long, with 33″ inside leg so there’s no popping into Primark for me and I can get trousers from Long Tall Sally or Next and that’s it! I bought them online, got a 4% cashback going through Quidco and used click and collect to pick them up in a local store so I don’t pay for delivery.
- Make the best of what I can get for my budget. Being tall, I suit tunic tops and they are often expensive so I’ll buy dresses for a tiny price and wear them over trousers. I’ll adapt clothes as I’m nifty with a sewing machine or lengthen or widen clothes with contrasting fabric. At no stage do I get precious about what I have to wear even though I’m difficult to dress.
- I plan my spending. There are months where I spend nothing and put all my salary into long term savings. This month has been about new clothes and paid £20 for trousers and two jumpers for £36 and got £7.14 cashback.
- I’m proud of being a tightwad but I have to be careful not to be shocked by anyone else’s spending, they have their reasons and very few of them are actually numpties so I’ve learned to say nothing when they talk about their purchases or spending. There’s no point offending people, they are unlikely to change.
- I spend consciously or as the word of the moment would suggest, mindfully. I never shop unless I need something or really want it and get the best price and hopefully cashback or use a discount voucher or code.
- I make lots of financial plans, in doing so, I’m aware that no job is secure, that life can change so we make sure we save more than we spend. We’ve tied a lot of finance into our retirement plans but know, with the best will in the world that things change; we have to have flexible finances to do that and we’d never do that if we didn’t save the way we do.
- I give myself a break every now and then! I’d rather spend ten weeks a year in France than looking at a balance sheet so I make sure that I budget for four ferry trips and enjoy every minute when I get there!
Over to you now, we’re all on the same page and in the thrifty zone so what do you do to shop well for less? I love hearing from you all.
Love Froogs xxx