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Smart Shopping Tips and Budgeting

written by: L.Romano•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 6/29/2011

Although shopping is a necessary part of life, budgeting may be unfamiliar territory. Becoming a smart shopper and learning how to budget can help you have a better sense of financial stability.

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    Following tips for better shopping and budgeting can help you to keep more money in your pocket. It can also allow you to worry less about money and be more stress free. Even the most simple of changes can make a huge difference in your financial life.

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    Ask Questions

    During several situations, asking questions can help you to save a lot of money. For example, if an item is on sale and it's out of stock, ask for a rain check instead of just passing up on it, which many people do. If you see an item that has a barely noticeable blemish on it, such as on a piece of furniture, ask for a discount. For your credit cards, call and ask for a decrease in your interest rate. You can also get discounts on your other bills, everything from your cell phone to your Internet bill, just by asking a company representative what she can do to help you lower your bill.

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    Disregard Pressure

    Pressure to spend money can come from many different people, but you must have the power to say "no". When your kids are constantly begging for new toys, your husband is requesting takeout too often or your friends frequently want you to go out for expensive dinners, you don't have to go along with all the requests, if any at all. Think about your money situation first before you give a response. Chances are it will be a request that you can pass on or you can find a cheaper way to go out doing it.

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    Envelope Your Money

    If you work at a job where you receive cash payments, such as if you're a bartender or a baby sitter, put your money into envelopes separated according to your various expenses. For example, one envelope can be for a vacation, another can be for weekly transportation costs. Write the dollar amount you need on the outside of each envelope and each time you get paid, put some money into each one. The rest of the money can go toward other bills and into your savings. It can help you make sure you have money for all your expenses and can keep you from spending the money since it's already budgeted.

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    Store Comparison Shop

    Most areas have more than one store, so take advantage of their sales. Even drug stores can have some great deals. Make a list of items you need, then search fliers to see which store has them cheaper. You may have to go to more than one store, but the savings can be worth it. For other items, such as electronics or clothing, search fliers as well as do a search online to find the best price. Before you head to the store, read the article by Sbrno on a comparison between generic and brand name items.

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    Get Educated

    Before you buy any high-ticket item, such as an electronic, learn exactly what you should look for when you make the purchase. You will most likely have the option to buy extras that you may not need. If you are educated about what you really do need, you can avoid wasting your money on an unnecessary extra expense. If you are planning on purchasing a digital camera, make sure you check out the article by Terri Cassidy on if the extended warranty is really necessary.

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    Using these tips for better shopping and budgeting can help you cut down on your expenses and eliminate unnecessary spending. It can also help you develop and keep good financial habits in the present as well as in the future. Take it step by step and before you know it, you will be in much better financial shape than you ever thought possible.