Good Morning Everyone.  Yesterday as I was walking around because it was sunny outside, it was still cold but I just wanted to get outside and get some fresh air. I didn’t have anywhere particular to be so I just decided to walk around. I quickly discovered that I use shopping as a past time.  A simple walk around my neighbourhood can turn into an unexpected shopping spree.

As you may remember I am supposed to be on a 6 month no spending spree, however this has actually turned into a spending less lifestyle.  My old spending habits were definitely out of control because I would spend money on anything and everything just to give me something to do.  Now I spend less money because I enjoy saving. I try to only buy the items that I need to live like food, cleaning supplies, and products to keep clean.

If you find yourself using shopping as a pastime then Green panda is here to help you break your bad habits.  Out of control spending can be very dangerous to our bank accounts.  If we are spending money carelessly then we may not be saving money in case of an emergency.  If ever an emergency comes up and we don’t have any money in our emergency savings account I can almost guarantee that we will regret our last unnecessary purchase.

If we use our credit card on our shopping sprees our credit score can be hurt if we maintain a high balance on our credit cards and if we can’t afford to make the minimum monthly payments.  If we make the minimum monthly payments on our credit card but we can’t afford to pay off the balance in full then we will be charged interest which can be very costly.   Also, if we are making a monthly payment on our credit cards I am sure that our money could be better spent…or saved.

Here are some tips to help you save money while shopping:

1. Think Twice. If you don’t need it then don’t buy it.  When I am shopping I fill my basket with everything that I want and then I sort through everything a second time before I go to the cash register.  I keep only the items that I need and I put back everything else that is not essential.

2. Bring Cash. If we bring cash then we can never over spend.  Having access to our debit or credit card can only lead to overspending.  I know that I can definitely get carried away when shopping in places like Target, Wal-Mart, and any Pharmacy; so bringing cash helps me stay within my pre determined budget.

3. Make a List. I am a master of lists.  I love being organized and I am not a very tech savvy person so I like to write my lists old school style with a paper and a pen.  I may be the last person in the world who goes into the grocery store with a paper list and a pen instead of making a list on my iPhone, but that’s just the way it is.

4. Check for Coupons.  It may sound so cliché but it’s true.  We can definitely save money on our shopping bills each month if we check websites, Facebook, Twitter, and our weekly flyers for coupons.

5. Shop Around. We can check for coupons, but we can also shop around in different stores to find sales on the items that we need. Shopping around also helps avoid any impulse purchases.

Photo by Wal-Mart Stores