Correct your bad habits and shop smarter with these expert tips
“One thing people do wrong when smart shopping is they save big time on the basic items they're looking for, but then get
roped into purchasing costly accessories,” says Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finances. “Extras for smartphones, tablet PCs, and laptops can all be purchased at a discount online rather than from a big-box retailer.”
Photo credit: bestbuy.com
Schrage advises against overspending simply because you found a great deal because “according to Money Magazine, online shoppers spend over one-third more when free shipping is offered.”
“I don’t think people don’t give themselves enough time to see if something is what they need. We buy on impulse too often.
So walk away, give yourself 24 hours and if you’re not thinking about it, save your money,” recommends Jean Chatzky finance
expert and finance editor for the TODAY show (whose a new online series called Jean Chatzky’s Money School starts in March).
Comparison shopping is a necessary evil for smart shoppers that helps curb impulse purchases. “To quickly help with comparison shopping, a good site is products.google.com, which will
rank the product you’re looking for by price,” says Jana Francis, Founder of Steals.com.
Photo credit: jcpenney.com
When shopping around for the best price, Chatzky advises not to obsess, People who can’t stop looking for the next best deal are never satisfied. You can give yourself a time limit, like 20 minutes, to know what something should cost.” Along the
same line, Schrage recommends that factoring time and gas is important as well, because “if you have to drive across town
just to save five bucks, you’re not doing yourself much good.”
Photo credit: Flickr/ Alan Cleaver
“Not just services, but goods are negotiable these days,” says Chatzky. “Sometimes people are uncomfortable asking, but if
you don’t ask the answer will always be no. It also helps to say, ‘I was hoping for less’. You don’t have to put a number
on it, and you don’t have to say, ‘Can you give me a discount?’ you can say ‘Can you work with me on this?’ which is a little
bit softer and more to some people’s taste.” Chatzky also recommends doing your comparison shopping homework before negotiating
as many stores have price-matching policies in place.
Photo credit: Flickr/ buddawiggi
“We know from behavioral science that when you try it on, your psyche takes possession of it and if you don’t buy it, it seems
like a loss,” says Chatzky.
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Francis advises to “look at the whole picture; you might be receiving free shipping on a more expensive product. E-commerce
wouldn’t survive if the retailer really were paying for shipping. And that’s where comparison shopping becomes an important tool.”
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Chatzky has three shopping commandments: don’t shop sad, don’t shop angry and don’t shop hungry. “Sadness feels like a void
and you’ll shop to feel better. Anger makes you more likely to take risks and you end up buying things that are above and
beyond. If you shop hungry it makes you buy everything because it gets your juices going.”
Photo credit: iemoji.com
Nicole Lapin, editor-in-chief of Recessionista.com advises that “you want to spend the money you already have, so cut back on credit cards (although you want to keep them and
not cancel them for your credit score, instead put a regular monthly purchase on them like your cable bill).” To take controlled spending a step further, Lapin
suggests carrying your spending money in cash “ to keep yourself from spending it once it’s gone.”
Photo credit: Flickr/ MoneyBlogNewz