Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

March 10th, 2011
Thirteen Ways to Limit Excessive Shopping & Spending

Thursday Thirteen

My sister works in a shopping center. Last weekend it rained and she said the mall was absolutely chocka with shoppers. Evidently when people are bored or at a loss for an activity, they shop! Who knew? That inspired my post for today.

Thirteen Ways to Limit Shopping & Spending

1. Make a list and shop only once a week.

2. Plan menus and only shop for things that relate to your menus.

3. Share information about family spending with your children and this will make them more aware of how much things cost. This should also focus them on needs versus wants.

4. Have regular no-car days. This not only saves money spent on fuel, but you’re less likely to go shopping if you have to walk or take public transport.

5. Buy second-hand where possible.

6. Make a note of what you’re spending. If you write things down you have a better awareness.

7. If you’re likely to go shopping during your lunch hours change your behavior. Go for a walk instead.

8. Sell stuff you don’t use such as clothes, toys, books etc

9. Instead of purchasing gifts, give time. Grandmother would probaly love a strong back to do her gardening or wash her car.

10. Pay by cash rather than a credit card and set a budget for the amount of cash you draw out of your bank each week.

11. Make your own or grow your own wherever possible.

12. Socialize at home rather than going out all the time.

13. Draw a line between needs and wants. Have a family meeting and get the children to do the same thing. Ask yourself – do I really need this?

Do you have any tips to add? How often do you shop?

27 comments to “Thirteen Ways to Limit Excessive Shopping & Spending”

  1. Perhaps one should practise what one preaches:)
    Especially when it comes to the supermarket!

    I think I’m in trouble :(

  2. I missed one. #6 you must keep losing that note. You should follow my example!!

  3. Hmmm… Let’s see, I do:

    1, 2, 4, 10, 12 and 13.

    Unfortunately number five isn’t an option here. Italians aren’t keen on second-hand anything. There are one or two shops in my town, but the stuff there is purchased mainly by new arrivals to the country who are living on tight budgets and willing to buy what is often quite literally junk.

    Number six isn’t really necessary, as we don’t shop more than once a week and that’s basically just for food.

    I never do number seven. I have to use my lunch hour (when I’m working) for lunch and nothing else. LOL!

    For number eight, again, not a second-hand kind of place, here. No-one does “yard sales” or “garage sales” here. Unfortunately. (I really need to look into eBay…)

    Number nine is a good suggestion. I’ll have to mention that to a few folks.

    Oh, if only I could do number eleven! No growing of anything beyond herbs, though. No land. No garden.

    These are great suggestions! I’m jotting a few down for reminders, and the rest I’m going to show to some friends who claim they never have any spending cash. Hm? Wonder why…

  4. I think budget wise is the best method to limit spending. Limit your spending to the most needed and necessary means.

  5. I always make a list based on the weekly flyers and I do my shopping in one trip, making a circle trip back home, all in one afternoon.

    I stock up on sale items, usually using coupons as well. I cut coupons while watching my favourite shows. I also share with girlfriends and vice-versa – not just coupons, but other items we receive but don’t want/use. We pass on books, clothes, toiletry items from hotels, freebies obtained from friends/grocery stores/online, and still have a great time gabbing too. We get together 3-4 times a year at each other’s places (within a 2-hour drive) and have a potluck lunch/supper with the same foods because we make so much of it, and it feels like Christmas when we get all sorts of things from each other (toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss from dentists, samples received from manufacturers, etc.). What we don’t want we donate to various charities, depending on what they are. Sometimes we get diapers online and give to a teen pregnancy centre, for example.

    Daily menus are based on what’s in the fridge/freezer/pantry. Leftovers are a good thing in our house.

    I win restaurant gift certificates from various radio contests. We will often redeem a bunch of them all at once, bring takeout foods home, and have friends over to enjoy the no-fuss, no-muss supper with various restaurant “buffet” items.

    My family knows to use the cans or boxes on the right side first, as these are the oldest. My freezer items are numbered and placed with the oldest on top.

    I don’t buy items because I want a change. I only buy non-grocery items because the old ones broke. Same thing with clothes. I never ever just walk around stores or malls to buy something for myself. I must be looking for something in particular, hopefully on sale.

    We are blessed to have lots of second-hand shops around. Sometimes I can’t find what I want and HAVE to shop there! I save tons of money there, especially certain sale days.

    I use a credit card that rewards with free groceries. I pay my balance in full every month so there’s no interest to pay, but in 2009 and 2010 I redeemed $320 in free groceries each year. I had Air Miles before that, but there were too many restrictions (can’t fly at Christmastime, March Break, or during the summer, as these are peak seasons when they can get full seat prices).

    When I worked in an office downtown, I always made my own lunch. They didn’t even have a fridge or microwave to use back in those days, so I used the kettle to steam wieners for hot dogs or else had sandwiches. Ice bags worked wonders in the mornings.

    I have organized a street yard sale every year for 25 years now. Out of 22 houses on our street, 6-13 of them hold their own yard sales (sometimes with friends and sometimes for charity). (The houses change every year, depending on what we have to sell or if we’re available that year.) By having it the first Saturday of every May, we catch people before they go to “cottage country”, we disrupt our children/families once a year rather than several times if we held them separately, and we get more people coming to buy when we have all these houses within walking distance of each other. I am always astounded by how much is taken from my “free box”, as I put in broken items that people take home to fix – we are charged for our garbage, so they are saving me money by taking my garbage!

    I buy birthday/shower gifts on sale and tuck them aside. In that way, I can give a gift that is much more expensive than I am willing to actually pay. My daughter is a young adult now who attends lots of baby and wedding showers, etc., so she buys stuff from me if she is in a rush for time. It pays for me to keep the receipts with the items so I know how much to charge her!

    I mend ripped seams and holes in socks (to a certain extent, but not if uncomfortable to wear). I buy dozens of the same pairs of socks at a time so that when one sock is thrown out, the other can be matched when the same thing happens to another pair.

    We rarely go out, except to friends’ homes. We have company here for the afternoon playing cards/games, have a nice supper, and play some more cards/games in the evening. In the summertime, we have barbecues for friends.

    Every summer we host a “wine party” for 70+ friends/relatives (we invite 150 or so, but usually only half can attend). We win homemade wine from playing in badminton tournaments, but we don’t drink that much, so we invite everyone over to have a cup during the afternoon. We make it a potluck party without using the barbecue, so then it doesn’t matter how many attend (or if they promise to come and don’t bother, as often happens – what is it with that?). The upside is that my husband doesn’t have to barbecue but can enjoy being with his friends instead, and I don’t have to find room in the already-brimming freezer for all the leftover buns and meat. We have an old refrigerator in our garage that we only turn on for this party, so everyone just puts their food in it until suppertime. We use crates and closet doors as tables in our carport to hold the food. I use as many “real plates” and cutlery as possible to be put in the dishwasher later, as I don’t like to use flimsy disposable plastic/paper plates to hold food. (I bought plates at the second-hand shop to match my everyday pattern.)

    We car pool to tournaments. Gas where I am in Canada now is $1.23/litre, which converts to $4.66/US gallon, so giving the driver some money for gas/car repairs helps everyone.

    I’m sure there are tons more ideas, but this list is already too long. Thanks for blogging about a topic near and dear to my heart (as well as many others’).

  6. I’ve started to do more shopping online, it cuts out impulse spending on the way to the cash register. I always pay a visit to M & M meats, and now can place my order online and it is all bagged and ready to go when I get there.

    Since my girls are old enough. I send them shopping with a list of groceries. They actually stick to the list and have become pretty smart shoppers. When I go I tend to forget I even have a list. lol

    Happy T13!

  7. I pretty much do all of that. I’m on a budget and so doing things like this is pretty easy for me.

    I started donating items on Freecycle and have even got a few things for free. a few years ago I adopted a dwarf hamster from a lady who could no longer care for him. She gave me the cage, large bag or food and bedding and the little hamster.

    I always make a list ebfore I go shopping and stick to it and I use coupons. I did really good one week and saved $62.00 with the coupons I had. But then I had a whole bunch of coupons for free products that I received over a two month period. I scour the internet for freebie sites that tell you where you can get free coupons for free products.

    I recently just got some free coupons for free digorno pizza from

    Those freebie sites really help find the free product coupons and free samples sent right in the mail.

    Also a lot of time the generic brands are cheaper and jsut as good and the name brands. Not on all things but for things like cleaners, trash bags, paper towels, ect…the generic brands work just as well and you’ll save money.

  8. I agree with your 13 and we would all do well to follow these. I shop about once a week or less if possible!

  9. I always make a shopping list, and plan my trips ahead of time, starting at the point farthest out and walking between stops where possible. I also plan my grocery list according to what’s on sale, and what I need/use most. I try to stock up on sale items and use coupons when possible.

  10. Yes, Mr. Munro. I’m listening. I have on my listening face. :wink:

  11. Kimberly – to be truthful I’m not a secondhand fan either. I don’t practice this one. When I was a kid I always had secondhand clothes and I hated it. I do wear my new clothes to death though so cost per wear is very small. My husband has to prise the clothes from my hands. There’s a favorite shirt he keeps telling me is too ragged…

  12. Lainey – great suggestions! Hubby and I tend to buy a lot of “home” brands these days. Most of them taste pretty much the same and they’re much cheaper. We also try to buy things on sale.

    My husband takes his lunch most days. My nephews don’t and they spend a fortune on lunches. It’s no wonder they’re always broke! None of my nephews seem to have good money management skills.

  13. Adelle – I’d do more grocery shopping online if I could, but hubby loves grocery shopping and cooking. I think it’s a good way to keep a running total of what you’re spending and impulse buying is kept at a minimum.

  14. Mary – I’ve heard a lot about coupons in the US. We don’t have them down here. With our groceries the supermarkets have weekly coupons but they’re automatic ones. You pick up the item and it’s scanned at the reduce price. You do have to keep an eye on the scanned prices because sometimes they go through at the original price. Sometimes I think it’s on purpose!

  15. Kaye – hubby and I try to shop for groceries twice a month. When we do a weekly shop we seem to spend the same amount. The only thing we buy more frequently is milk and vegetables.

  16. Heather – it’s amazing how many of my friends and acquaintances will drive from place to place and have to park right outside whatever shop they’re going into. I’ll often walk. For me it’s the exercise as well.

  17. Great tips!


    My TT is at

  18. Sounds like good plans. Since money is always tight for me, I keep pretty strict hold of my money. I even budget impulse buys :) that is, I hold 20 or 25 dollars aside for “fun money”.

  19. I do a lot of these. We’ve been working hard to cut back.

  20. Add the use of coupons to the list. Also look at adds for prices before you go to shop. There are sites out there where you can look at current store flyers to see what’s on sale and compare the prices.

  21. Growing your own is always best. We are eating fresh Brussels Sprouts tonight from the garden. Iz good!

  22. Where I live in Canada, we have the “Ontario Scanning Code of Practice”, whereby if something is advertised at a cheaper price and rings in at a higher price, we get the item for free up to a $10.00 maximum value. (If the item cost $12.99, for example, we would get $10.00 off that item; if it cost $2.99, we would get it for free.) The second and consecutive duplicate items would be changed to the lower advertised price, as the freebie only works for the first one. Hopefully the store will automatically go and change their computer pricing for the cash machines, but sometimes they don’t, so you can go back in the store and get another for free!

    We also have price matching at certain stores, so if I take my flyers in for the other stores, I can buy the other stores’ sale items for the same price at the store I’m in – instead of driving across town for those items. Hope that makes sense….

  23. For me, the main thing is to hang on to all my receipts.

  24. Laney – I started to comment yesterday and the computer ate my answer. Several of our supermarkets give refunds and the item free if they overcharge. My husband likes shopping on Monday mornings because they often make pricing mistakes. My husband is very cynical and says they do it on purpose because most people don’t check their receipts.

  25. Alice – yes, that helps keep control of spending.

  26. Shelley,
    I think your husband is right (did I actually say that out loud?) for the majority of stores. I know the one store we frequent, though, has their price changed immediately, as I have gone back to a different cashier and it rang in just fine (nuts!). Other times they will send someone to change the sign to the higher price, if it isn’t on sale anymore.
    I have a friend who knows certain stores won’t change their prices, so she will keep returning to buy more of the same item and pay for them at different cashiers in order to get them for all for free.
    She also shops on Friday mornings, as around here, sales usually start on Fridays.
    This same girlfriend makes it a habit to phone places to request free samples and/or coupons, and she usually gets both. If she doesn’t like how a product has performed and has tasted or is packaged – whatever the reason – she will phone to complain, and she usually receives coupons for free products worth dozens of dollars. She also phones when she loves a product and comes right out and asks if they have coupons to mail her, and of course they do!
    I figure that these services are available for a reason, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon! It’s a big reason why I’ve been able to work part-time from home for 25 years now rather than working outside the home (although I had to work in an outside office for 3 years full-time as well, while putting my son through a local private college – because they didn’t offer the course he wanted at the local public college).

  27. Well, I must say this is good advice. Thank you!