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6 Tips for Being a Smart Shopper

6 Tips for Being a Smart Shopper

For many of us, savvy shopping skills aren’t things we possess. However, the good news is that it’s possible to acquire these skills as you mature into a more financially responsible adult.

Here are a few tips and concepts you should find useful:

1. Use Credit Cards for Large Purchases

There’s one school of thought that says you should stay away from credit cards altogether. If you aren’t very responsible, this is probably sane advice. Credit cards can get you in trouble by making you think you have money. However, there’s an entirely different school of thought that says credit cards are ideal for large purchases.

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The logic behind the latter theory is that there are many different rewards programs attached to credit cards. You can earn things like cash back, airline miles, gift cards, and more – which means you’re essentially saving money when using a credit card to buy big ticket items.

2. Do Research to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

It’s fairly common to hear people discuss seller’s remorse when a major financial transaction is involved. “Seller’s remorse is an emotional response that people often experience when they regret selling something they owned,” Green Residential explains. “This emotion can occur with small sales, but generally arises when large items – such as homes, cars, and businesses – are sold.”

But did you know there’s also something known as buyer’s remorse? Buyer’s remorse is actually very prevalent in small purchases. In order to avoid the regret and guilt associated with this emotion, it’s important that you do lots of research before making a purchase.

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3. Always Comparison Shop

In addition to researching the features of a product, how people feel about it, and other important details, you should also comparison shop for the best price. You’d be surprised by the price differences you can find for the same product from different sellers. Use a tool like Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, or Shopzilla to instantly get results from hundreds of different companies.

4. Make a List Before Going to the Store

When it comes to grocery shopping, you should never leave home without a list. This keeps you on track and ensures you don’t start grabbing unnecessary items. If something isn’t on your list, you should ask yourself, “Do I really need this item?” If the honest answer is “no,” practice some discipline and refrain from purchasing it.

Another valuable tip for grocery shopping is never go to the supermarket hungry. When you’re hungry, everything looks good, and you’ll end up overspending on items that looked appealing in the moment.

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5. Have a Budget (And Stick to It)

When it comes to shopping for certain needs or occasions – such as a birthday present for your mom or furniture for a new bedroom – you should always establish and a concrete budget. By making a budget beforehand, you can avoid making rash decisions. If items don’t fit into your budget, then it simply isn’t practical to purchase them.

6. Try as Soon as You Buy

As a smart shopper, return policies and warranties are your best friend, but make sure you’re taking full advantage of them. “Return policies and warranties start from the date of purchase,” says Amy Roberts of Good Housekeeping. “Even if it’s July and you bought a snowblower on clearance, plug it in to be sure it starts and seems to run well. It’s also wise to check out gifts you plan to give at a later date — do they work properly, and are all the parts in the box?”

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to be a smarter shopper! Heed these six tips and you’ll reap the benefits.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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