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Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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Financial wellness

Become a "smart shopper" - Part 1
By Staff Writer Mon 17 Dec 2018, 05:56 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Financial wellness








Remember all those times you've popped out to the grocery store, just to pick up a few small items, and came home with three shopping bags full? Can you remember what happened when you got to the shops to cause this? Shopping can be rewarding or maddening. We buy stuff we need. We buy stuff we want. And sometimes we buy stuff we neither need nor want, not always knowing why.

This week, we'll look at the first few tips to help you on the road to making your pay packet go further.

Unfortunately it is rare that we manage to buy only what we need. Something will always find its way into your shopping basket that you didn't plan for. Why does this happen? To answer this question, you need to examine the roots of overspending. When you know what factors drive your spending, you can fight back and save money - so that you can finally earn more than you spend.  Yes, there are clever marketers who provide us with endless reasons to buy, but at the end of the day, nobody puts a gun to our head to make us take out our wallets. So our best protection against imprudent purchases is to be aware of what's influencing us. Here are the first four tips to help you make your money go further.


Make a shopping List
You need to plan: you know that willpower isn't enough. Who of us can remember what they actually need once you are in the shop?    We fall into the trap of having to go up and down every aisle, in case we miss something we might need but have forgotten about.Keep a grocery list in your kitchen and write on it every time you finish something or run out of an item. You will then have a clear list of what you need to buy, and will be able to focus in a shop. 

"Don't allow temptation to influence you on every aisle."
We'll always be tempted to buy extra things that are not on our shopping list. If you can create a balance between what tempts you and what you have permission to buy, you will quickly start to see more money left over in your grocery budget.

Think about what you need to buy. Always make a shopping list before heading to the store, and don't buy anything that isn't on it.  Give someone else the list and have him or her shop for you, or take a friend shopping to keep yourself on track.

Picture yourself walking out of the shop briskly with only the items you need.

Don't shop when you're hungry!
Grocery shopping: Some love it, some hate it. Most people have absolutely no idea how to do it. I, for one, love going to the grocery store when I'm hungry, which is possibly one of the worst things I could do while shopping.Temptation is harder to resist if you go shopping whilst

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you are hungry; everything you see on the food shelves will be harder to resist. In your mind you will remember the great taste and the way it makes you feel when you eat it.  Your imagination will overpower you, your willpower crumbles and you'll fill your shopping basket with foods that you do not need.

*The danger is: if you start to feel deprived, you're in danger of binge buying.
*The cure is planning in advance. Are you going to allow yourself to buy anything that isn't on your list?
*Guilt Free: Set yourself a guilt free allowance, such as giving yourself permission to buy two extra items per shopping trip "to spoil yourself or your family".  Self-reward isn't a crime; just stick within your budget.

Don't let the store seduce you.
Have you ever run into a store for a few necessities, only to end up oozing through the aisles clutching objects you suddenly realised you can't live without? Those scenarios were not accidents. Shops and their displays are designed to create a desire and a need within us that is exploited by merchandisers. Humans bombarded with certain kinds of music, light, shapes, and smells go into a mindless shopping mode. Once this kicks in, we buy far more than we need. Retailers know that the quickest way to our wallets is through our senses.   The smell of warm dough baking, the music playing in the background, the bright colours and pictures of happy people next to items on the shelves. These so-called atmospherics entice us so we linger longer and spend more, but they won't improve the value of the merchandise.

*Steel yourself at checkout counters. Items are placed there to tempt you (and your children) to buy more "last minute" items. 

Choose your shopping partners carefully!
Another sensible way to shop is alone! Children are very good at persuading us that they have to have a chocolate, or a new pretty pen or that toy that is at eye level to them when they sit in the trolley. We already know that shops are clever; they want you to buy as much as they can influence you to buy - every time you visit!  They keep the chocolates and ice-creams at the tills, so when you are in a queue waiting to pay, your children have longer to nag you and beg you and pull at your heart strings to buy them a treat.  There are hooks to tempt your children in almost every row. How easy is it for you to say "No" to your kids? 

Next week, we'll look at more tips on how to combat overspending. Remember, when you only buy what you need, you'll have more money left over to spend on the things that you want.

*Elaine du Toit is the Operations Manager at S.C.I. Training, an organisation that runs financial wellness programmes in Botswana. For enquiries and comments contact them on 3180243 or training@scifinancial.com

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