We all know how it goes. You go to Target, telling yourself you’re only going in for a few things. You make a mental list of what you need- light bulbs, dog food, and toilet paper. That’s it! You will be in and out in 15 minutes, tops.
Then you walk through the front doors, grab that oversized cart, and almost immediately your eyes are magnetically pulled to the Dollar Spot. You feel like you have hit the jackpot. Planners and murals and mason jars…oh my! You can never have too many of those things.
And how adorable is that picnic blanket? Who cares if you haven’t gone on a picnic since college- if you buy that picnic blanket, you will go on a picnic with your family every weekend.
It’s an investment in family quality time. In the basket it goes!
After throwing $20 worth of Dollar Spot goodies in your basket (“It’s a deal, really”), you tear yourself away to hunt down the things on your shopping list. By the time you check out, you have magically spent $200. What? Where? When? How? Why?
Target strikes again!
Listen, friend, you are not alone. Many Target shoppers go through the same cycle of completely going over their budget. But that doesn’t have to be your reality. Let’s talk about some ways you can check your Inner Deal Lover at the door and stop overspending at Target.
First things first….
1. Make a List
Never go to Target without a list of what you need to buy. Sit down with pen and paper while you are at home and make a list of only the things you plan to buy. Make sure you spend time on this. You don’t want to leave something off the list and then realize it while you are shopping.
Why not? Because once you add THAT one thing to your cart (even if you actually do need it), that makes it easier for you to justify adding other things (that you may not need). It’s a slippery slope!
2. Stick to Your List
Once you have your list in hand, shop only from that list. In other words, if it isn’t on the list, it doesn’t go in your cart (or in your belly). Resist the urge to window shop lest you decide that you “have to have” something extra.
3. Be Strategic
If you are a regular Target shopper, you probably have a mental map of the store’s layout. Use this mental map to plan the route that you will take to get everything on your list.
This will cut down on random strolling through the store. Random strolls only increase the chances that you will see something that you love and will be tempted to buy it. Focus on getting in, getting what you need, and getting out.
4. Don’t Be Fooled by Bargains
Let’s pause to do a little bit of math. You are at Target to buy dog food for $20. You happen to see a really cute blouse on sale. It usually costs $50 but right now it is 70% off. How much money will you save when you buy the blouse? If your answer is $35, I’m sorry to say that you are wrong.
Since you had no intention of buying that blouse, you are actually spending $15 MORE than you planned. That’s nearly twice as much money as you had budgeted for. Buying deals that you didn’t plan on buying is spending, not saving.
5. Only Take The Money You Need
If you feel like you will not be able to resist the urge to buy extra items, the one surefire solution is to only take enough money to cover the items on your list. Go to the ATM and withdraw money and then leave your debit/credit card at home. You can’t spend money that you don’t have.
6. Add Splurges to Your Next Shopping List
If you see something that you absolutely must have, make a note of it and be sure to add it to your shopping list for next time. Especially if it is something that they will likely have in stock for a while. By delaying gratification, you may even find that you don’t even want it once it’s no longer in your face to tempt you. Take that, buyer’s remorse!
So…do you think you have what it takes to handle your next trip to Target? Go forth and stick to your budget!
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