Going Shopping? Save Money Using These Tips That Stores Don't Tell You About
Pairing these tips with coupons and sales may help you to save as much as possible
Bargain hunters already save money regularly by cutting coupons and shopping during sales. However, there are many other ways consumers can save money when shopping—ways that stores don't tell them about.
Combining these shopping strategies with coupons and sales may help you save as much as possible!
- Look at the Bottom and Top Shelves
- Prioritize Price per Unit over Size
- Dig Through the Clearance Mess
- Follow Your List When You Walk In
- BOGO Is a No-Go
- Resistance Is Not Futile for Impulse Buys
- Pay with Cash
- Don't Be Drawn In by Fancy Displays
- Double-Check End-of-Aisle Displays
- Don't Open a Credit Card
- Be Cautious about Shopping with Friends
The products that stores place at the average consumer's eye level are those that are most expensive. Why? They're the first thing you see and the most convenient to reach. Look above and below these shelves for the less expensive products.
We often make a product's size the deciding factor when choosing whether or not to buy it, but this is not always the best decision. Instead, look at the item's price per ounce to figure out what will be more expensive in the long run. This information will be on the price label in most grocery stores.
If you've been to a store like Wal-Mart or Target recently, you may have noticed how unorganized and downright messy the clearance sections are. Retailers keep it that way on purpose so you will be less likely to pick items from that section. You can sometimes find good discounts by rummaging through the mess.
Stores generally display their most expensive and trendy items on the right side just inside the entrance. Why? Most Americans are right-handed, and according to studies, this often leads them to turn right as soon as they come in. Make sure you avoid this trap by making a shopping list beforehand and heading straight to the first item on the list when you enter the store.
Who hasn't seen a two-for-one/buy-one-get-one free offer and jumped at it? The trouble is that stores often put this promotion on the items that consumers wouldn't normally buy, which encourages them to spend more. Buy these products only if they're already on your shopping list, and even then, make sure you know how much they cost at other stores.
Remember all of those little items on display at the checkout line? Those are items that stores put on display at that location in particular in the hope that you will have—and give into—a sudden impulse to buy them as well as your other items. Such products are generally unnecessary, though, and they can add up very quickly. Your best bet is to ignore them and head straight for the register.
Who carries cash on them these days? Savvy shoppers, that's who. Studies have shown that people spend more when using a credit card rather than cash. This is probably because credit cards encourage indulging in impulse buys (see above). Unless your card has a particularly good cash back rate, cash is the better choice.
Retailers sometimes hire experts to craft fancy displays in the store window or inside the store itself. Such displays are often so unique or artful that you get drawn in to find out more about the product, at which point a salesperson can swoop down in reel you in completely. It's okay to admire nice displays, but make sure to always do so from afar, where you won't be tempted.
Stores often relocate products to the ends of aisles (known as "end-caps") to try to catch the shopper's eye, especially during holidays. When we see products on display like this, we tend to assume that the items are on sale—but sometimes they are not. When you see something at an end-cap display, find its original location in the store and compare the price. It may be on sale, but it may not.
At some stores, the salesperson checking out your items will offer you a certain percentage off in savings if you open a store credit card account. Remember, however, that opening credit cards does more than give you a discount—it affects your credit too. If you aren't 100 percent sure that you can pay off the card right away without even waiting for the statement to arrive, don't sign up for the card.
According to financial expert and author Ellie Kay, different people have different personalities when it comes to shopping, so be careful who you go shopping with.
"Some people get frustrated easily, some shoppers are impulsive and some shoppers persevere more than others. If you're going to take a friend shopping with you, take someone who can balance your impulsiveness with their perseverance (or vice versa if your friend needs the help)," she said.