How to Be a Frugal Shopper

Are your shopping habits saving you money? If not, it’s time to learn some tricks on how to become a more frugal shopper!

Stick to a list. It sounds incredibly obvious but you’d be surprised how many people go shopping without making a list first. As well as increasing the chances that you’ll let your guard slip and pick up things that you don’t really need, not having a list usually means that there’s less structure to your shopping trip and you’ll probably find yourself wandering around from aisle to aisle with no definite purpose. Generally speaking, the longer you spend in a particular shop, the more likely you are to overspend so having a list can be crucial in terms of avoiding this. Even if you’re a very organized person, it’s all too easy to forget something important and need to make a return trip, which again increases your chances are buying more than you planned.

Pay in cash. Paying in cash and physically parting with money for your purchases means that you’re more likely to stop and think before you buy things compared to simply handing over a credit or debit card. Many people think nothing of buying something on a whim because they want it but by going to an ATM, withdrawing cash and seeing the amount of cash that you’re about to spend can go a long way towards making you question whether it’s really needed or whether it’s just an impulse buy.

Compare prices. Never make a purchase without shopping around to see where you can get the best price. There can be huge variations in price between different shops and it’s often not until you come to research prices that you appreciate just how much discrepancy there can be. Take a good look at price comparison websites to get a handle on prices and you might be surprised at how much you can save by changing where you shop.

Let the deals come to you. If you follow retailers and businesses on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or sign up to receive emails from them, it can be much easier to keep track of the latest deals without having to continuously check their websites to see what’s new.

Don’t shop in a rush. If you’re pushed for time while shopping, you’re more likely to pick up one of the first things that you come across, rather than spend time weighing up your options. Just look at what happens on Black Friday.

Buying in bulk isn’t always best. Many people assume that they’re getting a better idea by buying in bulk but this isn’t always true, especially for perishable food items that are likely to be thrown away if you don’t get a chance to use everything before the use-by date.

Don’t shop hungry. Shopping on an empty stomach can put a sizeable dent in your good intentions. You’ll probably find yourself reaching for food even if you’re not actually food shopping and your plans to be frugal can go straight out of the window.

Don’t be too cheap. No matter how keen you are to cut costs, going bargain basement isn’t always the best thing to do. Quality that lasts more than five minutes is often worth paying more for as you won’t need to replace it as quickly, whereas a cheap item that is going to break down on an alarming basis can ultimately cost you more than buying a better quality item in the first place.

As you can see, you don’t always have to be overly creative to be a frugal shopper – a lot of it is merely common sense tips that many people ignore. It may take a bit more effort but the savings can be well worth it!

So, are you a frugal shopper? How have you saved money on purchases? 


How to Be a Frugal Shopper — 28 Comments

    • Glad to hear. I try for the most part to be frugal too. I find that with clothes now I tend to invest in good quality stuff. It costs a bit more but it sure lasts me longer. Especially my dress clothes that I wear to work every day. Glad to you found some of the tips helpful.

  1. I do all of these, except ‘Let the deals come to you’. For some reason, whenever I am offered a ‘deal’ I always suspect that the deal is more for the person on the selling end than for me! I’m afraid it might make me want things I really don’t need and otherwise wouldn’t want.

  2. I’m a big fan of never shop hungry! I notice a huge difference when I do and not in a good way. I keep a list on my iPhone so it’s easy to keep track of what I usually buy

  3. I used to be one of the people who didn’t have a list. Now not only have one but it is made for meals that are planned for a month (yep, OCD in full swing). And agree with buying quality – there us a saying ‘I am not so rich to buy cheap stuff.’

    • Great saying. I haven’t heard it before but I like it.

      Don’t worry about your OCD- I am sure mine is worse. lol. We also plan meals for a month in advance and we try to only go to the grocery store once or twice a month. We find we stick to the list a lot better since we have implemented this. Plus weeknight meals are now a lot less stressful since we plan for them in advance.

  4. Awesome tips! I need to stop shopping hungry and buy more quality items. I would hit a food court where they price gouge you because they can. I also buy cheaper items only to have them breakdown on me and then I would have to buy a higher priced and higher quality item to replace it.

  5. While I do like to use credit cards for most purchases, I do think that paying in cash can really help in terms of getting discounts. Sometimes, a merchant will take a lower price for an item if you pay in cash. I saved a few dollars recently on a small purchase simply by offering a flat $5 cash for something that was priced at $6.95 by a small business. Imagine if that’s done on a much higher scale!

    • I have done this too. It sounds silly that we have to go to such extremes but if this is what we need to do than so be it. As long as it works than that is what matter. Glad to hear you have a sense of humour about it and don’t take yourself too seriously.

  6. The best way to be a frugal shopper is not to shop… haha. No, but seriously, while I am a personal finance blogger, my wife generously does the grocery shopping. Otherwise, I probably would buy a few extra things because they looked good. She’s more frugal than I am. 🙂 Aren’t I lucky? I also want to emphasize the comparing prices tip! Yes, yes, yes! I always regret it when I don’t do this enough.

    • Your wife is more frugal hey?! Interesting. I never would have guessed. It sounds like you two are well matched.

      Grocery stores are the king for enticing unnecessary purchases. Stay out of the isles and just shop on the periphery and you can do just fine. Your right- research on prices always helps. We often compare a price to what the item is listed for on Amazon to get a good ball park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I appreciate your readership and really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different topics. Thank you for contributing to the discussion.