This weekend we helped some good friends from Michigan move in to our neighborhood. After all of the boxes had made it out of the U Haul and into their new apartment they asked us to take them to the nearest Target, of course. Now I love shopping at Target (lovingly referred to as “Tar-jay” in my house) as much as the next person, but I’ve been trying my absolute hardest to avoid the big red bulls eye for a good reason – to hold on to my disposable income just a little will longer!
Now, like any well-trained Target addict, each time I pay the store a visit I end up spending at least $100. I never intend to spend as much as I do but after filling my cart with the necessities I came for I usually start tossing in those pesky impulse buys that I’m suddenly convinced I can’t leave the parking lot without (i.e. funky socks, scrapbook making kits, and ridiculous and random wall art) and that usually end up collecting dust in my office. BUT, this time, by the grace of the shopping gods I managed to make it in and out of there with a receipt that read $64. Yes, I did it! And here’s how you can to:
1. Bring a list, and at the top of it right down the most you can possibly afford to spend while there. (Allow a $20 – max! — cushion for impulse purchases.)
2. Flip that same list over and jot down the price of each non-list item you place in your cart. Later when it’s time to check out if they equal out to more than $20, something has to go. No exceptions! Pick your favorite and move on.
3. Before you put anything in your cart that wasn’t on your original list ask yourself aloud, “What am I going to do with this?” and then “Will I actually do it?”
4. Bring a frugal friend (or two!) I did and they helped me narrow down my impulse buys right before we hit the line.
5. Avoid the aisles you have no business in. You know what they are! In my case it’s the board game, fitness and health section, and the accessories aisles. All of this sections appeal to the part of me that likes to splurge on “fun” activities and fashions. All of which my wallet will soon regret!
6. Double check that “deal” on your smart phone real fast. Yoga mats on sale for $19.99? Yay! But wait, a quick google search on your phone tells you that’s the going rate everywhere. Ooops, Target almost got you!
7. If the line is long, chat up the person behind you or grab your cell and make a quick call. Do whatever it takes to distract yourself from scanning over the discount DVDs, candy, and gadgets. Whatever it takes!
8. Put the items that were on your list on the conveyor belt first and watch your total as the cashier scans. When you see that magic “don’t go over” number you wrote down earlier pop up on the screen it’s time to stop. Whatever’s left on the belt can wait, promise!
Now there you have it. I tried all of these tricks at once this weekend and it proved to be very successful. Now you go be a smart shopper and do it too. Don’t forget to report back, okay?