You’d have to be a fool to be spending your money needlessly right now. Based on current inflation rates, a typical family will be spending $5,200 more a year just on food, shelter and energy. There’s not much room anymore to wander around a shopping mall or mindlessly surf the internet just to spend money on non-essentials. If you are going to survive our current financial crisis, you’re going to have to become a savvy shopper. For at least this and the next year, you’re going to have to ask yourself long and hard if your purchase is a need or a want before you open up your wallet or purse.

I prefer to use the words: essential or non-essential. Somehow those two words clarify my purchasing power. Personally, I have put an end to much of my spending once I ask myself this question: is what I am thinking of buying or spending my money on, an essential or non-essential? You’d be amazed at how much of our spending is non-essential. I’ve learned the most in these past few months about what is important in my life and what isn’t.

According to this news article (click here) Americans are shopping less and less:

After beginning the year in a buying mood, Americans slowed their spending in February on gadgets, home furnishings and other discretionary items as higher prices for food, gasoline, and shelter are taking a bigger bite out of their wallet. Business at furniture and home furnishing stores fell 1% in February, while sales at consumer electronics and appliance stores slipped 0.6%. General merchandise stores saw business down 0.2%, while online sales fell 3.7%.

“The problem is that as households get more and more squeezed on essentials, there is less budget available for discretionary spending,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. “True, there is an elevated buffer of savings which consumers can call upon to fund their consumption, but this is a short-term fix in an environment where inflation is becoming a persistent problem.”

National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, forecast that growth in U.S. retail sales this year will slow to between 6% and 8% from the record-breaking 14% annual growth rate in 2021. The group cited surging inflation, tightening of monetary policy and less fiscal stimulus.

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