Being a smart shopper is an important skill to have in order to save money and reduce monthly expenditures. People who are savvy with their shopping find they experience benefits. It is not difficult to be a smart shopper, but it does take some effort and learning to become one if you aren’t used to this kind of shopping. Old habits die hard, and often initiating new approaches can be difficult.
One of the biggest obstacles many people have with spending is they have already developed regular spending routines. Let’s face it, change can be pretty hard in general. Since humans tend to be creatures of habit, it is sometimes difficult to re-channel thinking in order to change spending tendencies. To become a savvier shopper, the first business in order is to change these habits and work towards discovering ways to know prices, avoid impulse buying, watch for sales, consider alternate brands, take advantage of bonus and rewards programs and to understand how not to be manipulated by overzealous sales people or misleading advertisements.
6 Tips to Becoming a Savvier Shopper
1. Know Your Prices
One of the best ways to be smart with spending your money is to know your prices. Most people typically purchase the same types of items when shopping, particularly when it comes to groceries. By knowing how much each item costs and what size container it comes in, you can compare prices at different stores to see who has the best deals. This does not mean driving to a dozen different stores in different areas of town is necessarily the way to save money, but getting an overall consensus of costs and shopping at the store which offers the best prices will save money.
If the stores are close in proximity, it might be worth the while to shop at a few different stores. A good way to eliminate trips is to stock up on extra items when visiting one of the stores and then trips will be less frequent to save both time and money on traveling.
Stores like to set up their aisles and displays with impulse buying in mind. These items, usually located in highly visible areas, are carefully placed with the hope that shoppers will buy on a whim. And often we do. The register line is usually another strategic display areas used to accomplish this. Although this is not the only area, throughout the aisles stores will place (often expensive) complement items next to either sale or regular priced items in hopes people will grab these items to accompany the main items they went to purchase.
In addition, using lists are another way to avoid impulsive purchases. No matter what kind of shopping venture you’re going on, write out what you need first, and then stick to the list so you don’t overspend.
3. Watch for Sales
If the item(s) you need are flexible and not pressing, keep an eye out for sales. Why pay full price if you can get the item for significantly less? Know-how shoppers are savvy in the fact they get a feel for the cycles and often, after a while, they can typically predict with some level of confidence which items will eventually go on sale if patient.
With technology so prevalent in today’s retail environments, bonus and reward card programs are pretty popular. They offer many advantages to both shopper and retailer. While it is true there are some drawbacks to these kinds of programs, if you don’t mind the disadvantages (usually privacy related), the monetary savings can be significant if the store is on the up and up and not misleading in their “rewards” programs. Don’t forget to check online, retailers often offer email savings or coupons that can be printed off their websites.
Brand loyalty is another consideration. Sometimes people automatically buy the same brand they either grew up with or just became used to. It is possible these are the more expensive brands. Check out alternatives that are lower in price (store name brands are often pretty comparable), see if they do actually compare and, if so, buy the less expensive brand.
Smart shoppers know when to walk away from a manipulative salesperson and can easily spot misleading advertisements. To become a smart shopper you’ll want to learn how to avoid the manipulative and misrepresentations when making purchases. This way you aren’t taken for the proverbial ride.
Becoming a smart shopper is not hard to do. The biggest obstacle is probably adjusting buying habits and learning the proverbial tricks of the trade. Once these two objectives are accomplished you too can find yourself building your bank account instead of depleting it each month.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.