Frugal Shopping Tips

The smart shopper uses frugal shopping techniques to save money while still getting what they need and want. Shopping is a regular part of our life, so make smart shopping part of your approach to frugal living.

As Americans, we love to shop. It gives us a feeling of affluence.

The problem is that most of us don't use a frugal approach to shopping and that means we pay too much for the things we buy.

We can do better than that!

If you're going to be a smart shopper, you either have to deny your cultural shopping heritage, or learn how to find bargains that meet your needs and satisfy your urge to shop.

Here is a list of characteristics of a smart shopper. How well does it describe you?

Here are insights into how you might practice frugal shopping to obtain the best bargains. The good buys are out there if you know where to look and how to get them.

Frugal Shopping for Everyday Items

Here are my suggestions for making routine purchases. The links lead you to pages that contain a more detailed discussion of each suggestion.

You should shop with a purpose in mind. Be deliberate. You didn't accidentally earn your money, so don't be careless spending it either.

Know the true value of items you're thinking of buying. Price is one thing, but value is quite another. Which is more valuable, 1,000 turnip seeds for $7 or six turnips with greens for $7? See what I mean about price and value?

Frugal shopping requires that you focus on value, not just price.

Make use of private party sales whenever you can. You'll find quality and bargains out there waiting for you if you make an effort to find them. The department stores are at the mall, while private party sales are in your neighborhood.

At a private sale, you deal with a decision maker who can offer friendly prices and something for nothing in an environment with little or no competition.

You'll find the best frugal shopping opportunities at private sales.

Don't be afraid to haggle for the best price as part of your approach to frugal shopping. It's done all the time, even in the retail sector.

If you're a bit uncomfortable, I’ll show you the basics of how to negotiate so you can get a leg up on the art.

Other things to add to your frugal shopping bag of tricks is the idea that you can buy damaged goods, make low offers, and use non-verbal communication when you're haggling. Also, remember that getting free delivery can be as much of a savings as getting a bargain basement price.

Frugal Shopping at the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping is a recurring activity, so let's get better at it. Try these suggestions when you're facing all that food and all those gadgets in the aisles.

Make use of buy-one-get-one offers. They're known as BOGO by some. Just make certain you're buying things that you need and will store well.

Loss leader items are also a sales gimmick that you can cash in on. Just don't go nuts buying all the rest of the stuff they have.

If you try something different, you can often find a more frugal way to feed yourself. However, don't confuse "something different" with those new items they keep trying to peddle.

The grocery store is one of many places where impulse buying takes place. Just watch others engage in it while you stay away from it. Impulse buying isn't frugal shopping, it's scattering your money to the wind.

Often you can make it yourself and save. There is no reason why you can't. If growing vegetables is possible, then making food can't be any more difficult. Since when have the food manufacturers cornered the market on preparing your meals?

My list of suggestions wouldn't be complete without the admonition of don't go hungry. This is age old wisdom that is as true today as it was when it was first spoken. Shopping when you're hungry will cause you to buy unnecessary items and larger quantities.

Make use of 10 for 10 sales, but make certain you know how it works. Also, make certain that you know the unit price. That means know the unit and know what they're asking per unit. The idea of unit pricing varies, so paying attention can save you money at the checkout stand.

Related to unit pricing is my suggestion to carefully evaluate pricing because grocery stores are known for playing the old "switcheroo" on their customers. Remember, they're playing the money game too, so they try what they think is reasonable to get a hold on some of yours.

When grocery stores have sales, if you buy the limit you can make out well, and if you know how to get around limits, you can do even better (provided you have storage space for your purchases).

Another part of frugal shopping includes keeping your eyes open at checkout counters and checking your receipt. There are opportunity for errors in many types of transactions, and there is no sense being the victim of that.

Last but not least, check your sales receipt. It's a good habit to get into and it can help save you time, money and aggravation.

Frugal Shopping for Higher Priced Items

The keys to buying more expensive items are similar to buying everyday merchandise and services. The stakes are higher, so care, timing and patience are important.

One of the advantages of higher priced items is that you have more room in the price to negotiate, and the savings potential is also much greater.

Frugal shopping for higher priced items? Try these suggestions.

Don’t be an eager beaver where your enthusiasm spills out for everyone to see. It weakens whatever bargaining position you might have had.

Know what you want so you can focus on getting that. Linger around and ask questions of any of the products, but stay focused on what you want. Otherwise, you'll probably wind up paying more for things than you should.

It pays to take your time. We all have time, but we don't know how much, so it's valuable. Make the seller invest valuable time with you, and that puts you in a better position.

Given enough data points, you should be able to figure out what to buy and how much to pay. Seek information in everything you do, especially when it involves spending money.

Once I bought a large piece of land. It had problems, but nothing that was insurmountable. Here is the story about how seeking information was the best of bargaining tips that I used to make this important purchase.

Having a personal business relationship is always a good way to go about your frugal shopping adventures, especially if you're looking at expensive things. You have an "edge" when you deal with someone in a more personal manner.

If you deal with the decision maker, you'll likely make out better than messing with "go-betweens" that can add effort and confusion to the deal making process.

Don't be dissuaded by phony store policies. After all, you have your own frugal shopping policies too. And, you have money that they other guy wants, so don't be intimidated.

Let me show you how I used bargaining tactics when buying a high priced item from someone with a phony store policy.

My last frugal shopping suggestion is about shopping avoidance. If you consider hanging onto old technology for a few more years, you can save money that would otherwise be spent trying to keep up with the "latest and greatest."

Putting it All Together

Here is a true frugal shopping story about using several of the techniques highlighted above to purchase cheap solar hot water panels. This example shows how to save money by:

Your efforts might not always turn out so well, but here is an example of what can be done if you effectively focus on negotiating a deal for something you really want.

Practice frugal shopping techniques as part of your daily approach to frugal living. You'll get more for less and spend your money more wisely.

Black Friday Shopping

I recommend against shopping on Black Friday. You might get some deals, but it's really not worth the hassle and risk to your safety. I've never been one of the "day after Thanksgiving" shoppers, and I can't say that I've missed anything except an uncomfortable shopping experience. I think it's a national disgrace. My wish for you is to be a frugal shopper and not a foolish one, no matter how enticing the bargains might be, so I hope you'll avoid the madness on Black Friday.

Done with Frugal Shopping, take me back to the Home page.

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.