Some of us enjoy shopping, and others don’t, but we all need to buy things once in a while to survive in this world. Unfortunately, the shopping process can be full of pitfalls for shopaholics and shopping-haters alike. The folks who run big stores like to entice us with products we don’t need, and a whole science is associated with encouraging us to spend in ways that we probably shouldn’t. But there is good news, too: each of us has the power to fight back against the urge to buy something we don’t need or lazily grab the first option we see without comparison-shopping. Here, for your consideration, are some of the best “shopping hacks” we’ve found.
Shop with a list
So you head to the store (or go online — more on that in a moment). You know what you want, but you end up buying something else. What happened?
You lost focus, of course, but that’s not your fault. Stores fill valuable real estate near their entrances and on aisle “end caps” with tempting goodies, and they place things out in ways that force you to walk by things you don’t need to get to those things that you do. Online, ads for related and unrelated products populate the space near the things you’re trying to buy, and these ads are often tailored to your interests in shopping habits. The deck is stacked against you, so you need to work hard to stay focused. One simple way to stay on-task is to create a physical list of what you intend to buy. Get what’s on the list, and nothing more. When everything is crossed out, you’ll know you can make a beeline for the register. No more aimless wandering.
It may sound silly, but something as simple as a written list really can make it easier for you to keep yourself in line. So why not use a psychological trick of your own to fight back against the ones that the stores use?
The internet has changed our lives in countless ways. Some are good, and others are bad. Here’s a good one. You can save a whole lot of money by shopping online, because prices tend to be lower online, experts say. And we’re not just talking about major ecommerce sites. The internet is also full of specialized businesses that are changing the ways in which shoppers save. Take liquidation sites, for instance. You can get Target wholesale products — that’s the same Target big-box store you’re familiar with — for less online, because savvy ecommerce sites snap up excess products and pallets full of unopened returned products.
Shopping online also means that you can comparison shop quickly and without having to drive from store to store. In fact, you don’t even need to open up a browser tab for each of the stores you’re considering — which brings us to our next section.
Compare prices online
Comparison shopping can be a drag, and driving from store to store will cut into your savings because of the gas you’re using up. But, as with so many things, the internet has made comparison shopping a lot easier. Check out the many valuable price-tracking tools online to make sure that you’re getting the product you need for the lowest possible price. You can even track prices on the same site to see if an item is really on sale, or what time of year would be best to buy it.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, of course, but the tips here will help you keep your spending habits in line while helping you track down the deals that best fit your needs and budget. Shop consciously, and use all of the tools at your disposal!