How to Develop Good Shopping Habits

Shopping can often feel like a black hole on your finances. To keep your shopping trips from turning into a spending frenzy, use these habits and think about how you can spend more thoughtfully.

  • Don’t buy overly processed, prepackaged foods. The more packaging and processing involved, the more it costs you. Reduce packaged and processed items.

  • Try to buy whole foods, in their natural state, whenever possible. These foods include fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

    If you’re limiting your fat intake, buy fresh eggs and discard half, or even all, of the yokes (the fat is in the yoke). This approach costs you about half as much as the reduced-fat egg substitute in a carton and is much fresher, with no additives, preservatives, or food coloring.

  • Reduce trash. Minimize your use of paper towels, disposable plates and cups, disposable diapers, plastic shopping bags, and so on. Instead, reuse cloth towels and diapers (they’re much cheaper and much more environmentally friendly), and durable plates and cups, and take your own shopping bags with you to the grocery store.

    Over the course of a year, simply reusing these items can save you serious money.

  • Reduce the number of items you purchase by sharing or renting. For example, if you like to garden, a roto tiller comes in handy once or twice a year. Instead of buying a roto tiller, consider borrowing one from a neighbor or renting one.

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