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Stop Wasting Time and Start Shopping Efficiently

Stop Wasting Time and Start Shopping Efficiently

Hate to shop or just short on time? In this article, we’ll cover how to stop wasting time and shop efficiently. There are items we need to live and it isn’t always possible or desirable to have them shipped or delivered.  Some of these items include: food, household goods, medication, yard and gardening equipment and many more. For those of us who want to shop efficient and spend less time at the store there are ways we can speed up the process.

Know what you want

Always have a list or a clear picture of the item you want before driving to the store.

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  • Take a picture if you are trying to replace an item, choose a decorative item that needs to match something else or many other scenarios. (A good place to keep an inventory of items at home, prescriptions, anything you want to remember and be able to find again is Evernote).
  • Check with other family members to find out what they need at the same store. It is a colossal waste of time to get home from the store and find out you have to go right back to get something another member of the family needs right away. To prevent this train your family to add the items they need to a list that is in a central location like the refrigerator).
  • Stick to what is on the list, getting distracted and “browsing” is where you will quickly lose time.

Do Your Research

Before setting foot in the store, do your research.

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Consider what are the important elements in the item you wish to buy:

  • What are the features you care about most for the item?
  • Does the brand matter for the item?
  • Is the manufacturer important?
  • Are there service considerations?
  • What is the reputation of the product, service or it’s provider?
  • How will you use this item?
  • Are there multiple uses for this item or is there a version that would serve multiple purposes?
    These tips might seem to only apply to large purchases but they are important to consider for smaller items as well. Is the toothpaste or canned item you are buying really a good, quality purchase or would another brand be better for your family. Shop smart when you make purchases to be sure you spend your money wisely.

    How to find the information:

    • Read reviews online
      • Check multiple review sites, read multiple reviews to get a well rounded view of others’ experiences with the item. Not all reviews are well written and there are some fake reviews out there. Use your own judgement and research when relying on information to make your purchase.
      • Find the info you need online quickly with these tips.
    • Ask your friends or neighbors for their experiences
    • Read books, magazines or other articles that review the product or service you are interested in

    Online product review sites to browse:

    • Consumer Reports (paid website or their magazine)
    • Amazon
    • Epinions
    • Zappos
    What are your favorite sites to use when researching a purchase? Share them in the comments below.

    Shop efficiently at the store

    • Make sure the store has the item in stock (call them or check online if available).
    • If possible have the store put the item on reserve for you so there is no need or temptation to walk the aisles, just head straight to customer service. (Some stores allow you to order the item online and pick it up at the store – huge timesaver!)
    • It’s also a good idea to have a second choice when you weren’t able to reserve the item ahead of time.
    • Shop at stores that are close together during the same trip.
    • Schedule a shopping day once a week, this way everyone in the family knows to request the items they need before that day.
    • Be sure the store you shop at has a good service and return policy. This way when you have an issue you will quickly be in and out and happy, not fighting to get your money back.
    • Shop when there are fewer people in the stores (generally soon after the store opens or near closing the store will always be more empty).

    Realize that if saving time is most important to you may not always get the best price. Different strategies are necessary when that is your main goal.

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    Featured photo credit: woman in a shopping mall with colorful bags via Shutterstock and inline photo by William Warby via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2020

    25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

    25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

    “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

    If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

    You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

    Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

    As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

    And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

    But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

    • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
      • food
      • rent/mortgage
      • cell phone
      • insurance
      • socializing/entertainment
      • transportation
      • hygiene products
      • household bills
    • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
      • travel
      • clothing
      • medication (*depends)
      • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
      • gifts

    Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

    Save Money on Food

    1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

    Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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    Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

    2. Buy the store-brand version

    Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

    3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

    Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

    4. Have group dinners

    If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

    Save Money in Transport

    5. Get a bicycle

    Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

    6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

    Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

    7. Find the cheapest gas

    Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

    Save Money in General Shopping

    8. Shop online

    Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

    9. Sell your old stuff

    Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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    Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

    10. Bulk buying stores

    For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

    Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

    11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

    You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

    12. Generic brand medication

    More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

    13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

    It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

    Cut Down on Household Expenses

    14. Printing

    Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

    e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

    Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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    15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

    A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

    16. Shop around for insurance

    Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

    Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

    17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

    If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

    18. Don’t get a TV

    Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

    19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

    My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

    Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

    20. Have house parties

    Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

    For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

    21. Open festivals, meetups and events

    It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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    22. Volunteer

    If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

    23. Housesit

    There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

    Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

    24. DIY beauty

    French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

    25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

    If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

    Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

    Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

    • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
    • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
    • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
    • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
    • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
    • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
    • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

    Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

    What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

    Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

    More Tips for Personal Finance Management

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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