There is no such thing as one-size-fits all. Yet there are some trends that emerge when you look at financial behaviours and overall financial security. People who use credit cards for necessities, for instance, are often exposed to overall financial stress. People who don’t use budgets tend to overestimate their take-home income. And people who exhibit the 5 characteristics below tend to save money and keep within a budget every time they shop. Here’s how we can become savvy shoppers.
Characteristic #1: Awareness
I used to think savvy shoppers were mostly aware of what they need, but the more I read, the more convinced I am that those Kings and Queens Of The Aisles are far more aware of what they don’t need. They’re unlikely to be entranced by a bargain, won’t buy ten cans of kidney beans (guilty) or more meat than the family really needs for the week.
Characteristic #2: Alternative
I don’t mean they’re all wearing big glasses, many-layered shirts and badges and buttons from the 1950s. To be truly alternative means the ability to look beyond labels and names, and buy what actually is the best deal for the family. Savvy shoppers are hip to the tricks of big brands, and are able to work out the truly frugal choice when they’re shopping, as opposed to just accepting that two pairs of designer jeans for $100 is really a better deal than one pair for $20 from Kmart.
Characteristic #3: Foresight
Otherwise known as the ability to distinguish the frugal choice from the cheap one. Savvy shoppers are able to invest a higher amount of capital if the long-term savings are higher. This goes for everything- from a microwave that will work for longer than thirty seconds, through to heating systems that cost more to install but run at a lower cost. It also implies an ability to budget and save for higher expenditure, instead of living at the threshold of our incomes.
Characteristic #4: Patience
Okay, they are beginning to sound somewhat saint-like. Patience is a huge quality when it comes to personal finance in general, and shopping in particular. Savvy shoppers know to buy winter clothes at the end of spring, and summer clothes when autumn shuffles on through. They’re able to resist the immediate sales (like Boxing Day madness) in order to wait for the prices to truly drop.
Characteristic #5: Calm
We shop for a variety of reasons. It provides household necessities, it provokes pleasure hormones in our brains and can be a nice way to spend an afternoon. But a savvy shopper can do all those things and still resist an impulse buy. Like a beacon of light to the rest of us, we watch in amazement as they saunter down an aisle and don’t pick up the latest cleaning agent that won’t work. We goggle as they calmly pay their grocery bill, without picking up a Kit-Kat to get them through. We marvel as they window shop, and don’t talk themselves into the necessity of purchasing yet another woollen wrap. Savvy shoppers are out there to buy necessities, they’re out their to buy items of a good quality and out there to invest their money in luxuries they’ve saved for. I salute them. I hope one day to become one of them. Happy Monday.