Do you find that you just spend too much money when you go shopping? If you do then you are not alone. The good news is that you can do something about it and all it takes is following a few simple rules. You do not need any specialized training to save money while shopping it just requires a little discipline and thought.
It doesn’t matter how much income you have there is always the danger that you will spend too much in the shops. So we bring you the best shopping strategies to save money so that you can make your money go further and even put some by for the future.
Don’t Visit the Store First
If you need anything then your first thought will be to visit the store and buy it. This is what most people do. But there is always another way to obtain the item that you need. Unless you desperately need the item immediately then just take a step back and think about possible alternative ways to get it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Can I get the item for free – there are a number of ways that you may be able to get what you want without cost. Go to classified ad sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist and take a look around. Did you know that there are groups on Freecycle where people give stuff away that they no longer want?
- Is it possible to borrow the item – sometimes you need something that you know you will not use that often. It may be a tool to fix something around your home for example. Ask your family or friends if they have the item and can lend it to you. If you read a lot then go to the library for your next book instead of visiting the bookstore.
- Can I rent the item – there are a lot of places where you can rent items such as tools for a single day use pretty cheaply. This will be a lot less expensive than purchasing the item. If you can’t get it for free or borrow it then rent it.
Look Beyond Stores
You may be in the habit of jumping in your car and heading to the mall when you need something. Or perhaps you go online and visit your favorite ecommerce store to order what you are looking for. When you do this you will have to pay “new” prices for the items that you want. There may be a small discount but you can save more if you look elsewhere.
- Do you need the item to be brand new – if it is not important for the item to be brand new then you have a lot of scope to find people selling a used version. Think moving sales, garage sales and estate sales here. You might not find everything that you want but you will save money when you do find something you need.
- Can I buy the item from an individual cheaper – a good place to look for this is eBay.com. There are always people selling unwanted items here cheap so get searching. Sometimes you can find items that the owner didn’t use. There will be a delivery charge so you need to account for this.
- What about buying in bulk – think about the items that you purchase regularly such as toothpaste and shampoo. How much do you pay for these “one off” purchases? You can often save a lot of money by buying these items in bulk at places like BJ’s Wholesale, Sam’s Club and Costco. You will also save money by making only one trip to these stores every so often.
Can you Negotiate?
Far too many people pay the top price for items when they don’t need to. OK it is not going to work trying to negotiate prices in Walmart but in some situations it can save you a fortune. If you believe that you have the scope to negotiate then go for it! Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it possible to negotiate a lower price on expensive items – usually there is more scope to negotiate with big ticket items then there is with less expensive items. If you are buying a home or a car then you should always negotiate. The seller will be expecting this.
- What about negotiating for smaller items – usually a store will not negotiate the price of smaller items but there are exceptions. If you see something with slight damage you may get a discount if you ask. When you are buying something like a phone plan or a computer then the sales person will probably offer you extras. Always ask for a discount in these situations.
- Could I barter here – not everyone will be interested in bartering but often it is worth a try. You may have something that the seller wants and you can exchange this to lower the price of the item you want. In some cases you can just do a straight swap.
Plan your Purchases in Advance
A lot of people will buy an item when they desperately need it and they have no choice but to pay a top price for it, and with a bit of careful planning, you can stagger your purchase and play a waiting game to save money.
- Are there sales coming up – a lot of retailers will offer items at a discounted price on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and early in the new year when the Christmas rush is over. Smart shoppers always take advantage of these sales times.
- Will the price of the item drop – this is especially relevant to purchasing electronics. You want to buy a new TV, phone or laptop but you know if you purchase it now you will have to pay the highest price. There are always new models released and when that happens the prices of the previous models can often drop considerably.
- Can I find a bargain online – we have already mentioned eBay because you can often find what you are looking for at a lower price when sold by an individual. There are classified ads websites that you can check as well for good deals.
- What about coupons – there are many places where you can find discount coupons online. Take a look on Coupons.com and you can often find good coupons on eBay. Find out if you can use these coupons for discount sales and you will save even more.
Is it cheaper elsewhere – don’t be tempted to buy an item in the first place just because you see it for sale for sale ; These days there are many comparison websites you can use to find the store that is selling the item at the lowest
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