Sunday Saving Tip – Planning Your Spending

This is the first post in a series that I’ve been planning on putting up on the site for a little while now and I’ve finally managed to get around to it. The whole premise is to throw out an idea for a saving tip weekly and give some examples and details as to why I think this is a good idea. Now of course some of the tips I’ve got planned out really won’t apply to everyone and in some cases might be a reflection on how I would have done something a little differently. The goal behind these ideas and tips is to maybe provide some of the readers with ideas how they might be able to save some money and a the very least get their minds going so they come up with their own ideas.

Now onto the first saving tip that I wanted to write about, planning your spending. This is a bit of a no brainer when it comes to anyone who is active with their personal finances and careful with their money but I think it should be reiterated. Also I’m not talking about budgeting, its more specific than that, I’m referring to planning your spending before you’re about to go do it. The classic example for this would be the shopping list when you go to the grocery store.

Planning your spending will reduce the chance you’ll make an impulse buy. I’ve witnessed this personally when we’ve gone grocery shopping both with and without lists. When we get into the store with the list in hand we really just go for the items that we’re looking for. Occasionally a snack food makes it into the cart but the overall effect is we buy what we need and get out of the store quickly. On the times that we’ve gone in without a list all sorts of things make it into the shopping cart that might not be there otherwise. Half formed ideas of what we want to eat during the week translate into over spending.

Planning out your spending also gives you the ability to see where your money is going and to continue using the grocery shopping as an example, you’ll start realizing that you already got 3 types of Caesar salad dressing at home and won’t need to buy another one. Its just a matter of reducing the spending to what you need rather than what you might need.

As a nice side effect planning out shopping lists I found the impulse buys decreased. Now there’s nothing wrong with the odd impulse buy here and there for something like a magazine or a coke but when you’re buying these types of things all the time the costs add up incredibly quickly and the worst part is it might be hard to notice the cost of these items collectively. It’s just a dollar is what you tell your brain, but when you tell yourself the same thing 50 times its no longer just a dollar but its now $50. I guess this is more of a mental exercise that I found helps me reduce the incidental spending during the week and help reduce unnecessary purchases (especially of items we already had).

[tags]saving tip, spending, shopping lists[/tags]

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