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Avoid Incidental Spending

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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We all work hard for our money and the last thing we want to do is fritter it away on meaningless things when we’re trying to stick to a budget. But it happens so easily.

Girl with lunch
Photo: tiverylucky, Source: freedigitalphotos.net

How often have you arrived home at the end of a day out to find that you’ve spent way more than you intended and have little to show for it? Yet if you think back over the day, you realize that after buying lunch, a couple of soft drinks, coffee and cake for afternoon tea, a magazine or two and a few little impulse treats, you've blown half of next week's grocery budget.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

It’s simple really – all it takes is a few minutes of planning.

Try leaving the credit card at home and taking a limited amount of cash with you.

List the things you intend to buy and an amount next to it that is the maximum you’re willing to spend on each thing.

Take a drink bottle or thermos of coffee and a snack or sandwich in a cooler bag.

Here’s a good tip:

If you want to take more than one drink with you but don’t want to carry the weight around, use a fruit juice concentrate or cordial. Put the required amount in the bottom of your drink bottles and then top them up with water when you need them.

If you don’t want to take food or drinks with you, consider buying them at a supermarket rather than a café. You can pick up a small juice, flavoured milk or bottle of water for as little as half the price you would pay in a café. For lunch you can grab a pre-made salad from the deli section or a couple of slices of ham and a nice fresh bread roll. Pick up a banana or apple from the fruit section and you have an inexpensive and healthy lunch. Find a spot somewhere – outside if it’s a nice day - and enjoy.

Use this mindset whenever you are heading out for the day, whether you’re going to work, shopping, or on an outing with the kids. Stop for a few minutes before you leave and think about what you may need to do to prepare.

Here are a few other tips:

Top up your petrol tank whenever you see fuel at a good price, rather than wait until you’re desperate.

Avoid last minute purchases of food or drinks at the local service station or corner store where possible. A can of cat food is often more than double the supermarket price.

Buy a couple of easy lunch or snack items when they are on special and keep them in the pantry ready for unexpected outings.

Keep a couple of cold-packs in the freezer and a cooler bag in the car.

Consider keeping a bar of cake or some cookies in the freezer for unexpected visitors or for taking to a friend’s house.

ALWAYS shop with a list and avoid impulse buys. Suggest to friends that a day of op-shopping is just as much fun as – and much cheaper than – hitting the fashion shops in the mall.

#Save Money
#Frugal Living
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