Check It Before Checking Out (Frugal Friday)

The other day when I was strolling through Walmart I saw that they had clearanced a huge amount of toys, probably in anticipation of their Christmas stuff that should be rolling in soon. Since I had no kids with me, I paused. And I placed in my cart several items that I thought the kids might like.

We have two more birthdays to cover before Thanksgiving, so I knew I’d need to be thinking ahead anyway. I continued on my merry way, collecting the things that were actually on my list. When I got to the check-out, I did a double take.

Did I really “need” everything in the cart?

When I have a right mind, I often ask myself this question. And generally speaking, I’m able to put back at least one or two items. I did this time, too.

While the toys were a screaming deal, I didn’t need all the items I originally chose. I kept one item for a school science project and three other items for a birthday. I handed the last item to the checker and told her I had changed my mind.

Check the cart before you check out. It can save you from buying something you don’t need or can’t afford.

What do YOU do to save money?



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Comments

  1. This usually happens to me in target. I loop around that pesky perimeter and find myself with a cart full of stuff that I/we don’t need. Often times, I am giving things to the cashier at check out because I have come to my senses.

    thanks for the linkup.

  2. Susie's Homemade says:

    They set up those stores they way they do on purpose. It is a great strategy to not give in to their mind games:-)

  3. I do this all the time! Sometimes I’ll walk around with things in my cart and end up not buying anything! I guess just choosing it off the shelf is just as good as buying it for me. Really, I do most of my shopping at yard sales and thrift stores. I’m always shocked at prices when I go into the regular stores.

  4. my budget has less ‘wiggle room’ now, but “think about it and put it back” has been one of my shopping methods. Anything that I might think will qualify sits in the ‘child seat’ of the cart to be seen and pondered. Sometimes it’s ‘allowed’ and other times it’s traded in if I see a best bargain for something more important. I think of the “put it back” as a clipless coupon.

  5. I do this a lot, too, but making it a checkout habit is a great tip. Thanks for hosting.

  6. I’ve done that before – even with little things (like a cantaloupe!) when I decided that I didn’t need the item.

    I still get a little embarrassed about it, but I’m working on that. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who does it.

  7. I read an organizing blog somewhere that made a quote that has stuck with me. Its very simple, but helps me cut down on impulse purchases. It said, “Declutter your shopping cart.” It causes me to second and third guess any purchases, even if they’re on my list. If the toy, gadget, spice, etc is going to be unused and/or unloved in 6 months, I put it back. Before I was embarassed to give things to the cashier because I changed my mind(or really didn’t have the money). But now, I don’t mind. This keeps me from having to spend the gas to return the unwanted items I should’ve put back on the shelf.

  8. If I see something that I want on impulse (frequently :) ) I have had very good luck by telling myself that I can come back to the aisle and get it right before checkout. By not putting it in my cart right away, I tend to forget about it, or be too lazy to go back and get it. I have saved TONS of $$$ this way. Thanks for writing on this topic!

    • Kathy,
      ‘telling myself that I can come back to the aisle and get it right before checkout’ Thats what I do… and it works great. Before checkout, when I count the items in my cart and calculate the final cost in my mind, I can easily let go of temptations. :)

  9. “Do I NEED it?” I have a love/hate relationship with this question, and my answer is often dictated by my mood (unfortunately). Do I NEED that bottle of wine? Somedays, it really feels like, “YES!!” Hubs and I were going over the accounts recently, and discovered that we consistently overspend in certain categories. Since we are both spenders, we’ve had to incorporate “other-control” where we need to ask each other, “Do we need it?” before we buy it.

  10. Oh I hear ya. I always take a double or triple or even quadruple take when buying. I encourage our girls to make sure and try on before leaving the store, it is SO worth it not to have to return things or be tempted to keep something we’re not crazy about. Just simple things like what you have written are sometimes the best tips! : ) Even on ebay, I like to sleep a few nights on something to make sure it will be a wise or needed buy. …Because even if something is reasonably priced, if we don’t need it it’s not reasonable.

    Blessings! Great article!

  11. I’ve gotten much better about rethinking purchases before I make them but there’s always room for improvement.

    For me the biggest factor is shopping without my kids. Just this morning I was at Kohl’s because I need a few dressier items for work and church. My 2 y/o was great for awhile but then started to melt down with a vengence. I didn’t have time to stop and evaluate whether what I was buying suited my needs, pieces in my closet at home, etc. because my son was DONE. Since I was distracted with him I didn’t realize I’d left two pairs of pants I didn’t want in the pile I gave to the cashier. One of them I caught in the store, they other I didn’t until I got home. I ended up buying four pairs of pants, a shirt, and a cardigan when once I got home and had time to think things over I’m only going to keep two pieces. Maybe. Now I have to make another trip to return what I shouldn’t have bought in the first place. What a waste of time!

  12. I just did this at Costco yesterday, actually before I went up to the register. When I went back to get something because I still had a few dollars in my envelope, I put 2 other items back because they could wait. If I had several kids with me, this maneuver wouldn’t have worked so well!

  13. I am so thankful to know I am not alone in this. I just finished putting away two items in my cupboard with buyer’s remorse. Great clearance deal on cold & allergy medicines at Kroger this morning. While the Triaminic only cost me .29 – after I read the label there isn’t even anyone in our family who can take it. I thought the cold & flu medicine was a non-drowsy version, but turned out not to be so.

    I regularly hand things to the cashier or go trudging back all the way across the store to put back items. Glad to know there are others out there.

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