How to shop for family essentials –and stick to budget!

Shopping list with blond woman

Shopping list with blond womanShopping for children’s parties, making sure you have all the school uniform and equipment you need, and tackling the mountain of Christmas shopping can all be made much easier, and kept within budget, with a little organisation.

Follow these steps to help you stay on top of your shopping lists!

1. Set a budget and stick to it

Work out how much you can afford to spend on Christmas, birthdays, and what school uniform costs and put an amount aside each month. Doing this will avoid big bills that stretch the household budget.

2. Make lists

Keep a list of everyone and everything you’ll be shopping for. If you like to pick up items when you see them this can help you keep track of what you’ve bought and how much you spend.

A handy tip is to keep your list in a small notebook that you can keep with you when you’re out and about.

3. Compare online

There are many useful tools online that can help you find what you’re looking for and ensure you’re not paying over the odds. Use an online comparison site to search and buy online, taking advantage of deals and free delivery.

If you prefer to shop on the high street rather than online, still shop around and don’t always assume big stores have the best prices; often independent stores can surprise you.

The same applies for services, for example, children’s entertainment or birthday party venues. Find what you need online, ensure you’re getting the best price and read reviews to make sure that what you’re getting is good quality and what you really want and need.

4. Shop to make the most of your budget

Where possible, buy in bulk. For example, buying book sets that can be split up and wrapped for children to take to parties is a great way to cut the cost and still ensure everyone gets a nice gift.

And remember to buy gift wrap and accessories in the sales or in bargain shops. All of these little extras can take a big bite of your budget if you’re not careful.

Stocking up with special offers is also a great way to spread the cost of gifts, uniform items or other family essentials.

Unless your school uniform can only be bought from an authorised retailer, consider shopping for new uniform in the supermarket. This is often much cheaper and there’s very little difference in quality.

Buying joint presents for people is a great way to give useful gifts at a lower price tag. For example, a £25 slow cooker and £4.99 slow cooker recipe book is a fantastic, thoughtful and impressive-looking gift for a busy couple. If you’d usually spend £20-£25 per person you’ll have already made a saving.

5. Use loyalty cards to boost your budget

If you use store loyalty cards such as a Boots Advantage card or Tesco Clubcard, use these schemes wisely for money off, or even to purchase some items outright, which will help spread your budget even further.