Monday, January 13, 2014

6 Ways to Keep Your Budget on Track, Even at Target

Everyone has that store.

You go in needing dental floss, and come out with everythingyouthinkyouneedbutyoujustdontactuallyneed.
I have been shocked, at least a few times, when I get to the register and the total is $60+. Not because I do not keep track. I kept a running tally in my head of approximate cost.

That math becomes really, really bad at some point during the excursion though. The dollars I am spending in my head as I shove another thing in the basket may as well be printed with glittery unicorns and rainbows. It is just not real.

 Not until there is a tired looking cashier in front of me and a queue of impatient patrons behind me.
These places, I'm fairly certain, were designed to augment your senses. Also, designed to destroy your carefully prepared budget.

Some popular places include Target, Walmart, Costco, the mall, and even the drug store.
This is how I have been dealing with this:

1. Avoidance- If I do not go in, I will not spend the money. Simple right? Sometimes though, a girl needs some dental floss. See #2.

2. Use a list- Funny fact about me: I hate writing shopping lists. Don't ask me why. I just do. I love making to do lists, but shopping lists make me feel really irritable. At this point in time however, they are crucial. If you are on a budget, you need a list. YOU NEED A LIST.

3. Stick to that list!- Yeah, it sucks. Stores are full of cool stuff. There are more worthwhile things to do with your money. Keep focused on your list. (With 2 kids in tow this one is a struggle!)

4. Use a calculator- Instead of using your imaginary unicorn dollars you can keep track of exactly how much you will be paying at the register.

Protip #1: Input  the amount of the item before you put it in the basket.

Protip#2: Do not give this calculator to your toddler halfway through the shopping trip and expect an accurate balance. Bring them their very own or;

5.Shop Alone- Kids are distracting and they want stuff. Husbands can also be distracting, and they also want stuff. Friends, well they are distracting. They usually buy their own stuff, but their new stuff will inevitably "inspire" you to want stuff too. Just go alone. You, and your calculator, and your list.

6. Use that Amazon Prime- household items are often the same price or cheaper on Amazon + 2 day delivery right to my door. If you notice you are running out of something, check it out on the Amazon and see.

I went shopping this afternoon and I am pretty happy with how I did. I did not go over budget, and even came in way under budget at one store.

What is your budget killing store, and what do you do to conquer it?

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