How to Stay On Budget with Tempting ‘Deals’ All Around

How’s your checking account this lovely Sunday morning?

Ours is much lighter today (I’ll tell you the exact amount in a bit), but the good news is that it’s planned and saved for spending.

This isn’t a lecture on skipping out on all shopping.

Nope.

We were out there yesterday.

But…..this is one buddy to another giving you a hug and a high five as a way to encourage you to stay on your budget.

While most ‘deals’ out there now aren’t really deals (sometimes they’re just clearing old inventory that didn’t sell earlier to make space for the updated model or it’s only slightly marked down), there are some ones out there.

The trick is to make sure it’s something you’ve saved for and you were planning on buying. Let me tell you what I saw yesterday that blew my mind.

We went inside one of the home improvement stores to take care of some work we’re having done on the house. Right past the customer service desk, there’s this friendly guy standing by some big TVs. I smile and walk past and I overhear him talking with someone else. Basically, the conversation went like this.

“Hey, have you seen our deals on these TVs?”

“No.”

“They’re really good. Look them up, you’ll see they’ve gotten good reviews.”

The shopper dude says nothing. He’s busy looking at the TVs.

“You’d get a fantastic deal on this.”

I left before I could catch the rest of conversation. (Yeah, I admit I was curious, but we needed to get our stuff and leave. With two little kids in tow, who wants to be lingering a store on Black Friday?!)

But it got me thinking…

Even if it was a GREAT deal – is it really a deal for the shopper if they had no plans to buy a TV?

Even if they took advantage of the deal with the store was offering 0% for 24 months with their card, how’s that going to affect their budget?

At the same time, sometimes there are some FANTASTIC DEALS out there. So is there a way to take advantage of those deals that you stumble upon?

Actually there is.

And I used it this weekend. Twice.

Ways a Shopping Fund Can Help You Win

I have savings tucked aside for shopping. Yep, I know nerdy, but listen, it helps a lot.

When I want something, I start saving up for it. I use the regular price as a guide and start tucking it away. Whenever a deal comes up and there’s enough in the account, it gets picked up.

Having a shopping fund has been incredibly handy on quite a few things.

  1. The delayed gratification allows me to analyze if I really need or want this.
  2. Saving up ahead of time allows me to avoid debt.
  3. Working towards it makes me apprciate it more.

Yesterday I snagged two deals that I’ve been wanting. The first was a portable heater for the basement. Since it’s half finished it gets nippy winter time. My office is down there, so having one would be nice. The models I was looking at were around $100 or so. While we were getting our paperwork done, I went to look at prices and saw a deal. Got the one I wanted for $59.

The second deal was for work. I’ve been wanting to take a course and the only discount I had seen the teacher do was a one day deal in the spring. I didn’t want to wait that long, it’s a course that would be really helpful. (I know this because I went through the free introductory courses, applied it, and saw some great results.)

Again, I tucked away cash and as of two weeks ago, I saved up my goal. Lo, and behold, I got an email about a Black Friday deal. I saved $100  on the course.

So yeah, sometimes there are deals out there this time of year. But please remember it’s not a deal if you break your budget.

Thoughts on Keeping Spending in Check

Hope that helps! I’d love to get your take on things. What’s your system for spending without breaking your budget? How has this weekend been for you?

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