Lifestyle, Tips

Tips for Shopping on a Budget


So if you’re like me, you just got paid. Whoop whoop! When all the debit orders go off, you’re usually left with at least some spending money. If you’re also like me, you love to shop! My love for shopping knows no bounds, I love shopping for myself, for Rueben, for our home… I just love the idea of getting something new. Don’t judge me okay, I know I’m not the only one. That being said, I know I could benefit from a bit of a guide when it comes to shopping. So, with a little bit of thought, I’ve come up with a list of tips for shopping on a budget.

Tips for Shopping on a Budget

Tip 1: Know what you need

It can be so easy to spend without thinking and while you might end up with items that you love, you also end up with a few duds. When it comes to shopping on a budget, it’s important to do a few if not all of the following things:

Select a category in your life:

• home ware; clothing; shoes; groceries

Make a list of items to buy for that category

Determine the urgency of that purchase

• Do you need it for the following day/week/month?

Plan out your purchases

• Based on the urgency of the purchases you can determine when you need to buy what


Tip 2: Want vs need

This can really help you shop on a budget but it this requires a lot of tough decision-making on your part. Yes, you might want that new red lipstick or that duvet cover for your bed but do you need it? I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever just treat yourself but you should always try to focus on what you actually need first.

Via Giphy

Before making any purchases, take a look at the list you made and highlight items that are a necessity. What is considered a necessity will naturally differ from person to person. I consider groceries and toiletries as necessities and any home ware items that serve a purpose to be necessities.

Once you’ve broken up your list into wants and needs, it’s time to look at your wants list. The main question you have to ask yourself is – Why do I want this?

If you can truly justify your desire for something then you can consider purchasing it. That being said, it’s important to always buy your need items first.

Tip 3: Wait before you pay

This tip applies mostly to your wants list. Once you’ve purchased your necessities, now is the time you’ll be able to consider buying items for your personal desires. Even though you have bought what you need, you should still take your time and consider your want purchases.

via Giphy

Give yourself a 24 to 48 hour waiting period before buying a want item. Yes, I know this is SO much easier said than done! Especially when you’re in the store and that top is just so cute. I’d still say give yourself the time. You might go back and discover that you don’t really want it or even like it that much. I’ve made the mistake of buying lipsticks only to get home and realise that the colour doesn’t even suit me.

If you find that after a “wait period” you still really want that item and you can justify the purchase then go for it!

Tip 4: Consider DIY

Now I know that DIY isnt for everyone but it really is so budget friendly! Often times you could easily DIY something for a fraction of the price that you would pay for it. I also know that not everything can easily be DIY’ed so the best way to move forward is to once again look at your list and highlight or create a secondary list of things that could possibly be DIY’ed. This list could include clothing, jewellery or home ware items, even meals that you could make instead of buying pre-made options.

DIY vs Purchase

When you have your list of possible DIY’s, now is when you need to do a little bit of research. Based on each item, you’ll want to work out the cost of buying the item vs buying the materials to make it. You might find that you already have some of the needed and that you need only a few additional. Obviously, if it would work out cheaper to buy the item then it’s a no-brainer but the same goes for if it’s cheaper to DIY – which is more often the case.

Via Pixabay

If DIY’ing is just really not your thing then consider getting the item made for you. If you saw a really stunning blouse but you weren’t a huge fan of the colour then source the fabric and find a local seamstress who can make it for you. Not only will you be able to customise it to your liking but your also supporting a local business which I’m a huge fan of as you can read here.

I’m a big fan of DIY and you can read all about my DIY projects here.

Tip 5: Aim to save

This is such a crucial tip! While it seem like you really really want that rad denim jacket now, wouldn’t it be great to rather go on an awesome holiday? Or save and buy yourself something really great that you’ve been wanting for ages but never been able to afford? Saving is something that most people want to do but never end up doing. It was taught to us in school but never in a practical manner that stuck (or at least not for me). When you save, your making future you happy and providing for future you. The idea of shopping on a budget seems to imply that you might already be cutting it thin but saving is so beneficial.

via Pixabay

Ways to save

What I’ve started doing is that I’ve set up a debit order and every month a set amount goes into a savings pocket account. It goes off a day or so after I get paid along with all my other debit orders and so once those have all been taken off I know how much I have to spend. I’ve also dedicated a page to this in my bullet journal. Which if you’d be keen to hear more about let me know in the comments down below and I’ll happily create a post all about it.

I do feel great knowing that I am putting money into savings but I do know that I could be saving so much more. What it comes down to, is being really strict with yourself. If you know your saving for something in specific like a holiday then you need to remind yourself of that every time you want to purchase something. I would say don’t include this when purchasing your necessities but I would say consider buying the cheapest but still good quality option when buying said necessities.

If you start saving now, in a few months you’ll realise that you have a stash of cash just waiting to be spent on a flight or train ticket or an event or anything you’ve been working towards.

Tip 6: Sales

The retail/online gift to all us consumers! Sales can be a real benefit to shopping on a budget but it’s all about knowing how to shop the sale. Just because something on your want list is now on sale doesn’t mean you should rush out and purchase it. You should still give yourself a “wait period” and still consider your wants vs your needs.

Another thing to look out for is sneaky inflation. There have been cases where companies increase the prices of items right before they go on sale so it’s important to shop around and make sure you’re still getting the best possible price.

via Giphy


Online vs Retail

Since I started working at Zando, I rarely shop in retail stores as almost all of my purchases are made online. It’s just so easy and efficient. The great thing about Zando is that all deliveries are free regardless of the price of the purchase. Unfortunately not all online companies have this and most require a minimum spend. This means you might end up buying unnecessary items just to ensure free delivery. DO NOT allow this to happen, if you’re looking to shop online and your purchases cover the cost of delivery then great! Go ahead and make that purchase (granted you’ve gone through all the other steps first 😉 ).

However, if your purchase doesn’t cover the cost of delivery then I would rather say purchase the items in store.When you’re purchasing an item from a store that isn’t in your area then you need to factor in the delivery fee when considering the need of your purchase. This might sound like I’m being stingy and not encouraging online purchases because often times the delivery fee is a really small amount and can totally be justified but other times it’s really not worth it.


By simply typing out this post I’ve done a LOT of reflecting on the way I make purchases. I do think I’ll be making a lot of changes going forward. I hope that this will help you in your quest for shopping on a budget!

Do you have any other useful tips that you’d like to share? Please go ahead and leave them in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you!

Happy shopping!

Thanks, VB xx

VB logo


  • Thanks for the helpful post! I think we can all spend our money a bit better. Another tip is buying good quality second hand items, which can save a huge amount of money. There are some great second hand shops, physical and online that sell furniture, decor, clothes, all kinds of things. You can normally find things of great quality at a much cheaper price. Sometimes things need a bit of love, and that’s where DIY skills come in handy. We bought 4 beautiful large frames for R350, and they just need a sand and paint and they will be gorgeous additions to our home!

    • You’re so right! I completely forgot about second hand shops 🙂 they really are a great alternative! I often donate my clothes to a local hospice so it’s great to feel like I’m giving back again 🙂

  • some sage advice, I like it

    • Why thank you 😉

  • These are really helpful tips. I really love the idea of establishing want vs need. That helps me so much when I am shopping on a budget.

    • I completely agree!! 🙂 Glad you liked the post! xx

  • agree and agree! it is hard to do though. I also started thinking about borrowing items from friends if i want them just for an occasion. that’s a way to save something too.

    • Thats such a great idea too!! 🙂

  • Such a fab post babe!

    Ellie xx

  • I’m a student so always shopping on a budget!! Loved the tips xx

  • These are all so so good!!! I love shopping sales, and I usually put a lot of things in my cart and close my laptop and come back to it hours later. This helps me get over the instant obsession into truly things I like/need. Also if you havent checked out Shoptagr, it is an amazing tool for finding your faves on sale! Thanks for sharing!

    Jani |


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