In my email today I found an interesting article from Happify Daily concerning our shopping clothes.
At a time when we are all looking for ways to stick to a budget and stretch our dollars, this research from the Journal of Marketing has some information that we might all find helpful.
A team of international researchers set up espresso machines outside a chain of retail stores in France and Spain. They gave beverages to more than 300 shoppers. Half of the beverages were caffeinated and half non-caffeinated. Can you guess the outcome? The caffeinated shoppers spent about 50% more money on about 30% more goods than the non-caffeinated group.
So, they suggest before your next shopping trip, drink water to stay hydrated, try a smoothie with fruits and vegetables instead of a latte and save the caffeinated beverage until after the shopping.
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Save money at the store on next shopping trip
Most of us are good with making a list before going to the grocery store. If you plan the weekly meals, make a list of items that you need so you don’t need to make additional trips.
Research also indicates you can save 20-30% on our grocery bill. Meal planning seems to be a struggle for most, but at least plan with the family as to what meals you will need for the week. If you have the ingredients on hand, meals can be made quickly. If family members can assist with meal preparation, or can take responsibility for a meal, that will save additional time for everyone.
Take advantage of items on sale by adding them to the meal plan for the week or stocking up on them if there is extra money in the budget and space in the pantry. There is a fine line between what the budget will allow and being prepared by using the items in a timely manner.
With grocery items, it’s a tradeoff between time and money with some of the pre-packaged or processed items. Making recipes from scratch usually saves money but may take more time.
A budget needs a little flexibility
Your household budget should include a certain amount for flexible spending on things like food, non-consumable items, clothing and miscellaneous items (pets, hobbies, etc.). While these items probably are less than 30% of your net income, they still add up quickly in the store or online. In addition to the list, set a spending limit for the shopping trip. If children are with you, review the list before entering the store and when they request extra items ask, “Is it on the list?” This will develop a regular routine and life skill for them.
Help children of all ages learn what amount you budget for items like shoes, sports, etc. If a limit is set for shoes, for example, and they want something different, then they can come up with the difference by earning money on their own. The older the youth get, the more important this skill becomes as they learn to manage their own money in high school and beyond.
Setting limits might also apply to special events like the fair. We all like to enjoy the food, vendors and special things that only come around once a year. Talk ahead of time and share the expectations with planning so that everyone can enjoy the experience without busting the budget.
Spending money is part of life. We can shop in stores and online to secure items that we need and things we want. Having that discussion is another important family conversation, for another column.
If you would like more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and can be reached at 330-264-8722 or email@example.com.