Shop Strategically to Find Savings
When You Know Where to Look, You Can Find Deals
Being a “savvy shopper" isn't always about using the latest technology or getting the best deal. Sometimes it's more personal, balancing cost and quality to get the most out of your purchases. With a few easy-to-follow tips, you'll have a chance to get more value out of your next shopping excursion.
BOGOs May Be a “No-No”
Buy-one-get-one free or half-off sales (the popular “BOGOs") are hard to resist. But are you really getting a deal? Go for BOGO only when you planned to purchase the item to begin with. If the second one's free, and the price on the first one seems good, it's a win. But if it's 50 percent off, think about whether you really need it. You may fare better using that money toward intended, necessary purchases instead.
Resist the Impulse
Food shopping when you're hungry is a delicious example of impulse buying that can rack up your bill. The same goes for being attracted to those low-priced items surrounding the checkout counters. We didn't plan to buy a super-sized tin of mints or a pair of cheap sunglasses, but temptation often gets the best of us. If you tend to shuffle through the bins regularly while you're waiting in line, it can add up. Stick to your shopping list and try to reign in your impulse buys.
Head to the Back
Merchandisers often arrange expensive items with appealing, grand displays. Meanwhile, older (and often more affordable) items are shelved plainly in the rear. Smart shoppers make a beeline to the back to stay on track and find what they're looking for on discount racks. They also shop early before the sale sections become too messy to deal with.
Grocery Shop Midweek
Weekends at the grocery store often mean crowded aisles, and avoiding those crowds can also give you access to savings. Shopping mid-week is the way to go, since you'll have space and time to make wise decisions and to stock up on sale-priced items. Many grocery chains release circulars on Wednesday and Thursday, so by shopping then, you'll get first dibs on markdowns. Plus, you may be able to use coupons from the week before and the current week. In addition, many stores start clearing shelves at that time to make room for new items and to mark down products nearing expiration. Keep a list of what you need on your cell phone, or use a shopping mobile app, to help you save time while saving money.
Get Coupon Savvy
Coupons are everywhere, yet some shoppers never use them. Circulars, newspapers, and online printouts can equal big savings. Some stores will match competitor coupons when they're not running a deal themselves, double the value of a coupon or waive expiration dates. Taking a few minutes to clip coupons the old-fashioned way, or by using services like Retail Me Not, Coupons.com, and SavingStar, can mean more money in your pocket. And check out one of the many mobile coupon apps that can help you track and use them.
Look Up and Down
Sometimes the priciest items are at eye level. Take a moment to look high and low. You may find items at lower prices, along with generic or store brands. Also, watch out for items placed at your kids' eye level; more affordable options for them may also be found higher up.
Whether you're pushing a cart or clicking a keyboard, savvy shopping can help you get the best deals and have a little something left over for your savings.
For more tips and resources on mastering your finances, visit chase.com/financialfitness.
Melissa A. Kay is a freelance writer and content strategist with 15 years of experience in the fields of family, parenting, and more. She resides in Manhattan and finds daily inspiration through the excitement and diversity of NYC.