How to Shop on a Budget

Let’s be realistic, money is sadly not an infinite resource, and every month we have to think of crafty ways to save and budget our finances wisely. So when it comes to things like buying a treat for yourself, but you haven’t got much money to spend after seeing those bills go out the door, it’s even harder to imagine how you can afford the finer things in life.

It’s fortunate then that there are many ways to save a bit of money here and there with your shop. For this I’m going to talk specifically about shopping for anything apart from your food shop. With that, you can save in other ways, but for clothes, tech and other goods, I think these tips could come in handy.

Thrift Second Hand Items

I love to talk about second hand shopping all the time, but I think it’s a pretty obvious way to potentially save the most money.

Places that tend to have some well priced goods are usually the more local stores, like the smaller charity shops that are pretty common across the UK. Local stores that aren’t located in a big city, such as away from London usually price things more fairly in my opinion, and since these donated items are received for free, as well as going to a charitable cause, I think it makes sense to balance the prices out.

The great thing about prices here is that sometimes, depending on the specific store, the prices can be very good, particularly for high end brands. I remember a few months ago seeing an authentic vintage Burberry trench coat in a local charity shop which cost only £50/$65, which seems mad considering how brand new ones are priced into the thousands of pounds. So you never really know what good value you’ll see if you look for something in these physical stores.

eBay

Much like thrift stores, eBay is also a great platform to find some pre loved goods at a reasonable price. Of course, unlike physical stores, eBay will cater more to anyone who likes to shop online, so with that the prices might be a little higher for some items. An example is for luxury brands, where sellers are more aware of the bigger customer base online, which means that bumping the price up is possible.

However, in general the prices are quite reasonable again for second hand items, and the great thing is that it’s fairly safe to buy from there as well.

The range of products that you can get here will also be more appealing for most people, so if you’re looking for something specific, you’re more likely to find it here.

A Freebie Community

If money is really tight, or even if you just want to save your hard earned cash, then browsing websites where people will give away their stuff for free is a good shout.

Websites like Freecycle or Gumtree in the UK are hot spots for things such as this, which is probably one of the best ways to save money.

It’s amazing the things that people will giveaway. You can find anything such as furniture with minor issues, or tech products that might need a little fixing. And if you’re happy to fix something yourself, then it can be well worth it.

You might not always find anything that you want, but when you do, you may want to snap it up quickly!

Klarna/Clearpay

Okay, so this one’s for mostly new goods. Klarna and Clearpay are just two of a few companies that allow customers to either buy items now and pay later, or to split your payments into a few affordable chunks.

If you’re worries about any extra fees, well you won’t have to be, as both of these offer interest free payment options, as long as you can afford the repayments.

It can be such a helpful way to spread the cost of something a bit bigger, especially if it’s the odd month where you’ve got more expenditure.

Discount Codes

It’s not always obvious, but sometimes online stores will have discount codes that require you to have a bit of a search for it.

What you can do is search it up on Google, and see if there are any offers that you can apply to your shopping. There are websites that are dedicated to listing the latest discount codes for a given website, and this is so handy to give you that extra bit of money off.

It is a pretty useful thing to find, and even though stores advertise these offers quite boldly, they won’t apply these for you automatically. So remember to have a quick search before you pay full price for something online.

Sales

This is the classic way to buy something that you might have been wanting, but you were waiting for the moment that the price would go down.

Some sales can give you such a great saving through a generous discount, and since some sales are for end of season pieces or end of line productions, the shops might be desperate to get rid of these things at any cost.

A great idea I got from someone I know was to shop for Christmas items such as wrapping paper and Christmas cards in the post-Christmas sales. You might be thinking it’s a bit late by then, but it’s actually the perfect set up for the following Christmas. And the discounts are usually pretty good. So if you’re not in a hurry to stock up before Xmas, think about waiting for the right time.

The only potential down side of waiting for the sales is if you have you’re eye on something particular. If you’re relying on it not going out of stock by the time of the sales, then you could lose out on it. It can be disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world.

Shoptagr

So I haven’t used this yet, but I think it’s about time I started.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this app/browser extension, and it’s very clever because it can help you with the previous 2 points.

Basically either through your mobile app or the browser extension which you can download and install for free, you can get Shoptagr to search for discount codes without you doing the hard work. Whenever you’re on a website, it will scan for the latest deals that you can get.

It will also notify you of specific price drops, and you can save your favorite items from a website. So once the item goes on sale, you’ll know instantly and be able to make a saving on the item. Clever, isn’t it?

So I will give this one a go, and hopefully let you know how I find it (even though I’m trying to do less shopping at the moment!).

Save Up

So this last one is the classic way to get enough money to buy the thing you really want. Saving up does take some patience, depending on how much you need and what you can save, but it’s very rewarding once you get there.

This method also makes a lot of sense if you can’t opt for any financial services that spreads the cost out for you.

But it can be a valuable time period for you, between saving and spending. You can use this time wisely to think about your purchase, maybe assess whether it’s something you still want after saving for it.

For more expensive buys like furniture or appliances, you can shop around a bit and pinpoint exactly what it is that you’re looking for. So waiting around isn’t always all that bad!

I hope you can find some useful tips here for shopping on a budget, and put those money saving skills into good use.

5 thoughts on “How to Shop on a Budget

  1. Such good tips! I’ve really missed shopping second-hand clothing in person but luckily nowadays, there are a lot of good options online as well 🙂

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