10 tips for shopping on a budget

Being on a budget doesn’t mean missing out, here are our top tips for shopping on a shoestring.

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Budgeting might not be as fun as splurging on sweet treats, new clothes and shiny new shoes. But there is something rather satisfying about saving a few quid here and there, so here are some top tips to keep those pounds in your pocket (after all, every little helps, right?).

1. Use vouchers

We’ve all been there – tut-tutting behind someone shuffling coupons like crazy at the till. But guess who’s saving their cash and having the last laugh? Whether you take advantage of free online delivery or money off vouchers, keep codes and coupons in your purse or next to your PC and don’t be afraid to use them.

2. Write a shopping list

Don’t ruin your meal planning by food shopping on the fly. You’re unlikely to remember everything you’ve planned to make that week, so chances are you’ll come home with a load of random items that you don’t know what to do with. A bag of frozen calamari and a coconut do not make for a filling or practical meal.

3. Don’t shop when hungry

Tummy rumbling is not the soundtrack for a successful supermarket shop. Shop hungry and you’ll be tempted by doughnuts, crisps and all sorts of naughty food galore that’ll ruin your budgeting plans – and your waistline.

4. Buy local

Locally produced food is often less expensive and much tastier than food flown or shipped in, so it could be a great move to head to your nearest market. You’ll also feel good about supporting local businesses.

5. Shop in discount stores 

Essentials like washing powder and toilet paper can be more expensive in supermarkets, so don’t give in to convenience. In order to pass on savings, discount stores often buy stock in huge quantities. So take advantage of the saving and you won’t feel the need to ration the loo roll.

6. Buy in bulk

Stock up on things you know you’ll use, like toiletries or kitchen essentials with long use-by dates such as tinned tomatoes, baked beans, pasta or rice, when they’re on offer.

7. Use cash

Unless you’re disciplined about paying off your credit card in full each month, it’s a good idea to pay in cash. That way you have to stick to your budget and you remove the temptation to spend more than you have.

8. Shop during the sales

Mid-season sales, end of season sales, stock clearances, Black Friday – these days, there’s a bargain to be had all year round. So, whether you’re shopping for food, clothes or furniture, check out the sale rails and displays first.

9. Visit charity shops and marketplace sites

Both are treasure troves of bargainous delights, but you’ll need to be dedicated. The best bargains don’t hang around, so visit shops and websites regularly to bag newly added items and get the most for your money.

10. Buy ahead

Birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries – they happen on the same dates every year, so buying gifts in bulk or when they’re on offer throughout the year can save you money and stop you panic buying pricy presents at the last minute.

Saving the pennies by budgeting doesn’t have to mean missing out. With careful planning, you can have your cake and eat it. But, if you’re seriously saving for something big, like a car or house, and want to speed things up, take a look at these tips for planning budget meals, and how to budget overall.

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