Plan it Out
This is a simple step in the process of shopping for others, or even for yourself. The reason behind this is simple. If we create a plan, we typically know what we’re going to purchase, which eliminates those spur of the moment spends. When you plan to buy an item, you typically know what price range to expect, however, with an impulse purchase the odds are against you.
Spending is Not Saving
Sales are not a phenomenon. They have been happening since the dawn of retail sales, so when you see a ‘sale’ – don’t think you need to rush out and purchase items you don’t need at bulk. This ties back into planning, if you don’t need 20 pairs of socks, don’t buy them. Most retailers are experts at selling us things we might not really need, so consider everything when you see another ‘sale’ advertisement. Don’t worry, there will always be another one just around the corner.
Save Time & Gas
Online shopping is one that many people already take advantage of each and every day. It’s convenient, safer and often more cost-effective. How? When you consider fluctuating fuel costs, your personal time, wear and tear on your vehicle and safety – it’s typically less costly to order online. Time is a commodity that we all have a limited amount of in life. Shopping online allows us to prioritize how we spend our minutes and even save money while doing so. Many people in rural areas can spend a full day between driving, shopping and eating out 2-3 meals. It all adds up fast.
Black Friday comes every year with a bang, and poof – we’ve spent all our money! Hacking Black Friday is possible, but guess what? You’ll need a plan. That’s right, we’re going right back to our first tip. Why? Just about every online retailer gets in on Black Friday sales, and they are all competing for sales dollars, but whose will they get? Planning ahead will give you time to focus on the details, and they are very important. Are all sales final? Warranty? Return policy? Shipping? Taxes? These are just a few things to consider when making a Black Friday purchase. Buying electronics? If so get your product model number saved to your smartphone or write it down, that way you know the prices you’re seeing are for the exact same devices. In short, plan out big-ticket items and search carefully by considering all the variables.
This is probably my favorite time to shop. Why? Well depending on many variables, like how Black Friday went, Cyber Monday can come through with bigger savings. Is there a risk in waiting? Well, sure – but typically the deals you saw on Black Friday are going to resurface on Cyber Monday, and usually with even more savings. Both of these shopping days get our emotions heightened with all the possibilities and savings. We’ve all seen items like smartphones and smart TVs go on sale at huge savings. However, technology ages very fast – there’s an improved version of your brand new device being made as we speak, making it outdated nearly the same month you buy it. Temper your feelings and your spending, and stick to the plan.
Compare and Check Prices
Never assume you are getting the best deal from any particular retailer. Their goal is to sell and make a profit, yours is to buy what you need and save when and where you can. There are several tools out there for the avid shopper, like Amazon’s Price Checker app, which lets you scan barcodes to your heart’s content while comparing prices at the same time online. Reverting to planning here is helpful too. Why? Because you become focused on the select items you’re after and save money in the process. Avoid distractions and stay the course.
There are dozens of tips, tricks and gadgets out there to help you on your mission to save. In the end, it’s about a little preparedness and planning, the rest is living and shopping within your size, budget, and scope. Do your best to not get swept up into a sales frenzy that will leave you in a less than ideal financial situation. Just like grocery shopping, plan it out and always remember the reason for the season!