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Tips for Being a Smarter Shopper
Maybe you shop because you enjoy it, or maybe you shop because you have to. Either way, there are things you can do to avoid paying more than you should when you shop. Real Simple magazine suggests:
- Recognize the power of the store. Did you ever notice that jewelry looks much more sparkly in the jeweler’s case than when you get it home? That’s because the jeweler makes sure the jewelry is clean and then shines very bright lights on it to increase the sparkle. Recognize that the store is creating an ambiance designed to make you want to buy.
- Check the value for the price. Sometimes manufacturers will decrease the size of a product so that they can avoid raising the price. You might not notice if the item you buy is smaller than it used to be, as long as it is the same price. But you still are spending more on a per-unit basis.
- Understand your shopping style. Do you buy what you like, regardless of what’s in style? Or do you buy things that make you fit in? Either way, you should stick to your natural preference. If you usually buy what you like but buy something else to fit in, for example, that item is likely to go unused when you get it home.
- “Free” is not necessarily smart. If you are offered a freebie, think about the actual cost. For example, if you get $10 off a $20 sweater you would not have bought otherwise, you actually wasted $10.
- Beware the herd mentality. If you shop by yourself or with a trusted friend, you decide what you want to buy and how much you want to spend. If you shop with a larger group, the opinion of the group is more likely to influence you to go outside your shopping comfort zone.
- Start online. Even if you prefer to shop at the mall, do your research online. Check reviews to determine the best product for your needs, and then check online bargain sites to find the best price for that product.
- Be specific when you shop online. Enter the exact thing you are looking for into the search bar. For example, if you enter “black dress pumps” or “area rug” rather than “women’s clothes” or “home furnishings," you are less likely to be tempted to make an additional purchase. You also will save time – which as we know, is money.
- Treat yourself once in a while. Sure you want to stick to a budget, but experts say that if you feel deprived, you can end up splurging because you feel sorry for yourself. So go ahead and treat yourself to the occasional latte or flowers or whatever makes you happy – as long as you don’t blow your budget.