Learn to be a Smart Shopper


Shopping responsibly is an essential life skill. However, few people take the time to make good buying choices. This can lead to overpaying or blowing your budget. Here are a few things to consider before that next purchase.


Do your research

Go online and Google the item you want to purchase. Read the reviews and testimonials to see what verified buyers are saying. Look up the company that makes the item. Also, if you are looking to buy a new hiking backpack, type that into Google and you’ll be shown lists that people have created ranking them.


Stay within your budget

After you’ve paid your bills, put some in savings and/or invested money, you will have allotted a certain amount of money for your “wants”. If you budget $50/month for new clothes, then when you begin to shop for clothes, you need to stay within that amount. If it’s a bigger ticket item, consider going 3 months saving that allotment and combining the money to purchase it.


Compare prices

Get online and use shopping search engines to compare prices of clothing, toys, and other items. Look at any circulars you receive in the mail. Nothing feels better than knowing you got the best price.


Considering quality

Learn how to judge quality versus price. Look for durable products that will last, rather than cheap ones that will fall apart. In some cases, paying extra money is worth it. But if you are shopping based on the logo on the item, what are you paying for? Better quality? Not always. Again, read reviews.


Don’t shop with credit cards

Credit cards are not magical money. Purchase an item with a credit card and you will be paying more for that item because you are borrowing the money and there will be an interest rate that comes along with it. Use your debit card instead. That way the money you are spending is “real” money to you. If you do end up using a credit card, pay it off as soon as possible to avoid paying extra.


Avoiding impulse buys

Everyone has done it one time or another. You see a cute shirt and decide to buy it. Unfortunately, impulse buying leads to overspending. You could end up with a bunch of junk that you don’t need. Again, it is a “want vs need” question. Before you go shopping, make a list, and stick to it. Remember your monthly budget and question whether you have the money. Really think about what you are purchasing before you buy.


Make sure you’re ready to shop

Ever shop at the grocery store when you’re hungry? Everything looks good! Making sure that you are not hungry or tired or in a bad mood will help you make good choices. It will make the shopping experience much better.


Next time you shop online or in a store, keep these ideas in mind. You’ll avoid bad choices, losing money, and blowing your budget. So that when you do purchase something thoughtfully, you’ll enjoy it even more and be proud of yourself!