Budget Buying for New Parents

Lakshmi Tatma holding a baby

We all have to buy things from time to time (and when you have kids that time comes around much quicker!), but there’s no rule that says we have to pay full price! There are a lot of ways to seek out good deals when shopping for you or your kids, and we’ll fill you in on a few below. However, we also want to talk about how to curb the amount of shopping you do, so stick around for that, too!

First up: how can you save? If you’re shopping for essentials in person or online, your strategy needs to start with the basics: you have to check the price!

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make price checking and comparisons easy these days. With online tools, you can quickly find out how much something costs online or in a store–and, with some tools, you can even see how the prices have changed over time. Use this information to buy things at the right time and at the right price. You should also remember that many stores have price-matching policies — perhaps you can get a discount on an item simply by showing the cashier that it’s cheaper at another store or on a shopping website!

Think about where you shop, too. While there are plenty of reasons to debate the merits of big box stores and large e-retailers, they can be great spots to find low prices — and you may still be able to buy the product somewhere else if your preferred shop price matches. Look for specialized retailers that focus on bulk and discount rates, too: some shops specialize in Amazon liquidation (or liquidation stock from other larger retailers, like Walmart), refurbished products, used products, and other more affordable options.

Patience can be a virtue when it comes to deal-snagging, too. Waiting for major sales like the ones you’ll see on Black Friday or during the back-to-school rush can help you get the product you’ve been eying for a whole lot less than it would normally cost. Keep more minor shopping “holidays” in mind, too, and remember that some retailers have annual sales of their own — like Amazon’s “Prime Day,” for instance. Discounts on those days can be significant!

But remember: all the money-saving tactics in the world won’t help you if you can’t curb the actual amount of shopping that you do. While shopping for, or with, your kids can be a source of joy, you should know that excessive shopping can be a serious problem for you financially and emotionally. Some experts even believe that there is such a thing as “shopping addiction.” Whether or not excessive shopping is a medical condition is, to some extent, beside the point: the bottom line is, you can’t over-shop and remain financially and emotionally stable!

So what can you do? Watch out for the ways in which shopping centers and stores prey on your instinct to spend. Be careful of end caps — those displays on the ends of aisles — which are designed to lure you in. Shop with a shopping list and stick to it. Avoid clicking on online ads. Try to stay focused: what do you actually need?

And don’t be afraid to get some help! There’s nothing wrong with seeing a mental health professional for this or any other reason, so consider chatting with one and exploring strategies for keeping your shopping urges in check. You’ll likely explore your feelings and your habits, which are a big part of how shopping addiction preys on its sufferers.

Good luck! We hope that you’ll find your shopping to be more affordable and healthier for you in the future.

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