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.
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.
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.
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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