Anyone who likes shopping knows the special feeling you get when you find a great bargain and are able to purchase a product for significantly less than someone else would have paid. It is a little bit like winning a game of black jack at a casino, because, it sure feels like you won.
Shop Online First
Things in the shopping world are so much different than they were even 10 years ago. An intelligent shopper should always search for items they want online first. This should be done for three reasons:
1) This helps you hone in on the exact product needed. Often times in the hustle of the store, emotions can take over and negate your purchasing power. From your computer at home you can take a deep breath and decide which product will satisfy your needs.
2) You should be able to comparison shop as quick and as easy as the click of a mouse. A consumer can switch from store to store and find the absolute lowest price possible.
3) Shopping online also allows you to find and use online coupons to make that purchase cost even less than you might imagine. All of the big companies offer these coupons online to entice you to spend your shopping dollars with them. Stores like Sears, Kohl’s and JCPenney will sometimes offer a promo code on a purchase or a particular item. This can provide significant savings and allow you to shop smarter.
Use Store Shopping Programs
Each of the major retailers offer you a shopping program of some kind, from the Sears Rewards program to Target and their Red Card. If you approach this from a purely pragmatic point of view, using these programs makes sense, because they will give you discounts you can’t get anywhere else.
Using these programs smartly is the key to successful money saving. The first rule should be that you are only going to participate in a program at a store that offers products you are going to buy anyway. If you are buying things that you don’t really need or want, then the shopping program should be ignored. However, if you are a consistent customer at a particular store, then it will save you money to use their rewards program to get the most out of your shopping dollar. Most programs will honor in-store and online purchases so that you don’t have to physically visit the store to get what you want.
Be Proactive in Your Shopping
One of the best pieces of advice for any shopper is to buy when you want to, not when you need to. Consumers routinely find themselves in a situation in which they need to buy a product or service – then pay much more for doing so when a little planning could have saved them a chunk of change. Simply making a plan, taking a note and acting when the products you buy are on sale will save you significantly.
This is true for everyday items like dish washing soap, toilet paper and groceries, as well as bigger items like lawn mowers, snow blowers and air conditioners. Shop from a stance of want and not of need, and you will find saving money much easier to do.
New Year’s Resolution: Shop Smarter
Hopefully, these simple shopping tips will help you shop smarter in the New Year and allow you to experience the thrill of buying the products that you need for a lower price than you have ever spent before.
Photo courtesy of: Christa Richert