How to Make Sure You Never Miss a Deal When Shopping
Shopping sure isn’t much like what it used to be back in the day. When I was a kid, the stores seemed to have the upper hand in terms of what you paid for the things you needed and wanted. Consumers were at the mercy of the stores in their nearby area, paying what the store told them they had to pay, choosing from the brands the store had to offer, and shopping when the store told them they could shop.
A mere 30 years later, my, how things have changed. Gone are the days when you couldn’t shop on Sundays because all of the stores were closed. Thanks to the Internet, we can now shop 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and stores are busily working to keep up with their Internet competitors by offering longer hours, cheaper prices and their own online stores in order to entice customers to stay loyal.
Consumers now have the upper hand simply because of the wide range of retailers available, which can give buyers a much better chance at getting the best deal on just about anything they could want to buy.
So, how can you make sure you’re getting a great deal on whatever you buy, whether it be groceries, clothing or consumer goods? Here are some tips:
Look for Coupons
Whether in your local paper or online, you can find coupons these days on almost anything you want to buy. When Mrs. Frugal Rules and I shop, we try to look for coupons on things that we’d normally buy, and the savings can add up. Couponing can be hazardous to your budget, though, if you don’t stick to your basic list, and you might soon find yourself spending even more money than you would normally, simply because you found a coupon for products you wouldn’t usually buy. If you do choose to use coupons just make sure to use them wisely and still stay within your grocery budget. That said, we have found that we can usually find decent coupons online, especially through sites like Shop a Docket, for a variety of products. The key is to make sure you’re aware of the terms and conditions of the coupon as some can require you buy a certain number of items to get the discount. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really need to buy 10 tubes of toothpaste just to save a buck or two.
Most any product you could possibly want or need these days is available from more than one retailer. Price comparing allows you to know where to buy specific items you need at the lowest offered prices. One thing I like to do is compare prices between what we find at Costco and what we find elsewhere. We don’t buy a whole lot in bulk, but we do when we know that we will use all of the item and when it’s a good deal. The key to comparing between a warehouse store and a regular grocery store is knowing the difference in unit prices between the two. If you have a smartphone, it should be pretty easy to do the math so you can determine if there really is savings at one place versus another.
Wait for Further Discounts
One thing we’ve found, especially when shopping online, is that if you look at a certain item at a particular store, and choose not to buy, you sometimes will get an email from that particular retailer with an offer for a lower price, or a coupon for free shipping. If an online retailer knows you’re searching for an item but have chosen not to buy at this time from their site, they’re often eager to dangle a few carrots of savings in order to get you to make the purchase. Occasionally a retailer will raise a price in that situation, but we’ve found that, in many instances, if we wait a bit on the purchase we can get a lower price.
There’s an abundance of money savings to be had by doing a little homework on the things you buy before you buy them. By using the tips above, you can often find a good deal if you’re willing to spend a little time at it.
Photo courtesy of: 401(k)2012