Shopping is something we all love to do as Nigerians. And no, we are not shopaholics; we are only human beings with a good taste for the good things of life. Over the past couple of years however, many people have had to resort to window-shopping due to the severe economic crunch the country has experienced. Unfortunately, the recession shows no signs of abating up till date, despite recent reports stating otherwise. So maybe you are one of those who currently find it difficult to check out their carts at Shoprite’s cash registers due to insufficient cash balance in the bank account[s]. Do not worry anymore because I am here to show you how you can conveniently shop on a budget and be happy.
What exactly does it mean to shop on a budget? This entails having your shopping priorities set and bearing in mind your financial strengths and weaknesses long before buying anything at all. In other words, shopping on a budget requires you to duly plan your expenditure in advance and be dedicated to sticking to said plan while you shop. This is a very important financial literacy tip which unfortunately many people are either unaware of or fail to live by. Many young Nigerians especially have the bad habit of buying things at impulse, or impromptu purchasing as I like to call it. But the truth is that you cannot afford to buy anything you see whenever you see it, unless of course you have loads of disposable income waiting to be spent. So having said that, it is now time to cut to the chase on how to shop on a budget; shall we?
The first thing you must do when trying to shop on a budget is to actually create the budget. Your budget in this case is a list of all the things you wish to buy. List them all out and put their estimated costs after which you calculate the total cost just to be sure that it is within your budget. Now I know what you are probably thinking- everyonealways makes a list of the things they wish to buy of course. Well that is correct. But the problem is that many people fail to prioritise their list and as such, end up not being able to buy according to their lists.
The ability to prioritise what is on your list is a very important step when shopping on a budget. And to do that, it is recommended that you prioritise what you need over what you want. This has always been the best trick to saving money, and so it will undoubtedly work for shopping on a budget as well. Therefore, learn to first of all list out those things that you need urgently, and then consider a few of the “wants” which you can do without. You must do this while bearing in mind that you are shopping with a disposable income.
Moving on, it is important for you to embark on your shopping spree (if at all it can be called that) with your wish list. No, you cannot be too big to go shopping with a list. Most people make this mistake of thinking that they can do without walking into a shopping mall with a list; preferring to commit said lists to their memories only to go into the shopping mall and purchase everything there and then go broke. Okay that’s an exaggeration! But still you get my point, right? So be wise and do yourself the favour of taking your list with you every time you walk into Shoprite. But just in case you think it’s really not cool for you to walk about the mall while occasionally looking at a piece of paper, remember that you can write that same list of yours in your phone.
Meanwhile, you should consider shopping in stores, supermarkets or malls where the pricing systems are standardised. The importance of this is to enable you avoid all the uncertainties of unregulated prices. Now I understand that the drama of haggling in typical Nigerian marketplaces can be interesting. But then not only is it unnecessary and stressful, sometimes you can end up paying more or even buying less quality products; believe that! This is unlike what you would experience in a place like Shoprite. Instead, you get to enjoy the convenience of walking down clean rows of aisles while picking out the products that you need from well-organised shelves. The price tags will be on every product, most often matching with what you already have on your list. That way, you can shop conveniently while sticking to your budget!
Lastly, it is important to stress the need for you to shop with cash as against your ATM card. The rationale is to avoid overspending your budget. So let us assume your budget is N30, 000 (thirty thousand naira), withdraw the amount and maybe an additional N2, 000 and then head to the shopping mall with the cash. Do not be carried away by the fanciness of having to swipe your card in the POS machine lest you swipe away all your money. However, if by all means you must shop with your card, then it is advisable that you go with a card without a lot of money in it.
Conclusively, I hope you have learnt a few shopping hacks that will help you shop without overspending. Always bear in mind that the key to successfully sticking to your shopping budget is obeying all the rules. Do let’s hear your perspective on this.