How many times do you shop in a month? Do you think you have a tendency to spend too much whenever you shop? Learning how to shop smarter is one of the most effective ways to cut down on your expenses. Never fall prey to store gimmicks again as you follow these tips:
- Don’t let stores deceive you
Unknown to a lot of consumers, retail stores utilize plenty of subtle tricks that encourage people to buy more without them even noticing. Here are some examples:
- Shopping baskets and carts in the stores are big in order to seduce a consumer to fill in the whole basket instead of buying only a few items.
- Fitting room mirrors and light fixtures are manipulated to make you look better than usual as you try on clothes.
- Getting discounts after signing up for store credit cards doesn’t save you money. Aside from enticing you to buy more, store credit card terms are not often discussed before you sign up.
- The ambiance of the whole shop is also meant to stimulate your senses because there’s a higher chance a consumer will purchase your product or service if they associate it with a positive feeling.
Knowing that you’re being tricked into buying will help you resist the urge to shop for things you don’t need.
- Same price, different size
Reference price refers to the amount people are willing to pay for a product. Because increasing prices may have a negative impact on sales, companies would rather downsize a product and keep the price the same in order to earn more profit. For example, if a litre of milk always costs around $2, instead of increasing the price to $3, the merchant would just downsize the product to 800mL. Allotting some extra time to shop by yourself gives you a chance to compare unit prices among different brands.
- Only your opinion matters
There are two types of shoppers: those who shop based on what they want and those who shop based on what other people want. Nowadays, social media makes it easier to know what’s trending and posting an update regarding your latest purchase can easily gain you some likes and instant popularity among your friends. If you’re trying to save some money or improve your spending habits, your personal preferences should matter more than the desire to fit in. Know what you really want and ignore what others are going to say…after all, it’s your money and not theirs.
- Think twice about freebies
When you see a product or service being offered for free, think twice before grabbing it. Whether it’s a free sample, free shipping, or a free trial, there is always a marketing strategy behind it. Check out the following:
- Free samples
A consumer will be more likely to buy a product they’ve already tried instead of switching to a new one to prevent wasting money in case they find the new product unsatisfactory. Companies give out free samples to gain the trust of potential customers, convincing them to switch to the products they offer.
- Free trials
A free trial is often only offered when you’re currently subscribed to a certain service where you get a monthly bill (such as internet, cable, or mobile) or when you provide your credit card information. In addition to seducing customers to subscribe to a pricier service, companies also profit whenever you forget to cancel the “freebie” before the trial period ends. People only realize they were being charged once they receive the bill, and only some will dispute the charge, therefore earning more profits for the company.
- Free shipping
Items from online shops are sometimes cheaper than the retail price, but some people still refrain from buying due to shipping costs. Free shipping attracts more customers but the “free” being offered usually takes 6-8 weeks. If you want the shipment to arrive faster, you’ll have to pay. In cases where free shipping only takes a day or two, online businesses usually distribute the shipping costs on top of the item price. Always compare prices among different platforms and shops to know which offers the best deal. And don’t forget to read shipping terms to know how long the delivery takes.
- Do your shopping alone
Smart shopping takes time. Shopping with a friend or two will hinder you from taking your time to study which items are worth buying and a better deal. Moreover, your taste and opinion will be influenced by that of the group or the person you’re with. You might end up buying something other than what you like just to satisfy another person’s opinion.
- Use the internet to save money
Various online stores offer cheaper prices compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Just don’t forget to inquire about the shipping terms and fees, return policy, and the items’ expiration dates. To ensure a smooth transaction, buy only from reputable online stores and make sure you check the reviews left by other customers. Once you receive the item, use it right away so that you can return it within policy in case it’s damaged or defective.
You can also look for coupons online that you can use if you prefer shopping at your local grocery store.
- Use the search bar
Although we’ve told you it’s a good idea to buy things online, you’ll save yourself from impulse buying if you use the search bar. Search for specific items you’re looking for and stop browsing cheap deals that can tempt you into buying things you don’t need.
- Stay within your budget
You may find yourself craving for some luxury from time-to-time, especially after an accomplishment. First ask yourself if you could afford it. If you are in debt, maybe it’s better to adjust to the situation and reward yourself once you’re free from debt. But if you can’t help it, then just make a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend $100 to “reward” yourself only to feel guilty afterward because of how much money you spent.
- When traveling, skip buying a souvenir
You don’t need to buy material things to remember a place. Your memories of the place and a smartphone or a camera to capture the moments you want to cherish are enough of a remembrance.
- Save the receipts
A receipt is the proof that the item you bought came from the shop you’re returning it to. Returning items, particularly used ones, will be difficult if you lose the receipt. At the same time, you can also keep track of the expenses you made. Save your receipts for at least 30 days from the date of purchase.
Try these tips and see how much you’re going to save on your next shopping trip.