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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 April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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