THE RULES OF SMART SHOPPING

We know we need to clip coupons, compare prices, and avoid impulse purchases

By Ashley Chorpenning

AAA World Article

Smart shopping is similar to exercising, we all know we should do it, but most of us fall short. You know that doing some form of cardio three to four days a week will help increase your energy and keep you in shape, yet most Americans fail to stick to these rules.

The same thing goes for spending. We all know we need to clip coupons, compare prices, and avoid impulse purchases. But, it’s human nature to slip up on your spending habits occasionally. So, if you want to avoid overspending, here are some smart shopping rules to exercise:

RESEARCH AND COMPARE PRICES
Using sites like Google Shopping, Shopzilla, and Pronto helps consumers find the best deals and prices available. These sites allow consumers to compare merchants and products listed to discover the best price on the items they are searching for.

REMOVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FROM YOUR FAVORITE SITES
Retailers make it easy to purchase their goods by allowing consumers to save their credit card information. If you want to avoid impulse purchases with your favorite brands, remove your saved data to give you more time to contemplate your purchase.

WAIT 24 HOURS TO MAKE A PURCHASE
If you haven’t budgeted for a purchase, it’s wise to wait at least 24 hours or more before acting. Giving yourself a little more time to think, will help you evaluate if you really need this item or if you’re acting spontaneously.

FOCUS ON SAVING
Find coupons and discount codes for your everyday purchases. Sites like Ebates and Swagbucks help you find cash back offers and discount codes on qualifying purchases. These sites make it easy to get discounts on the items you already buy.

BUY IN BULK
Sometimes stores offer discounts when you buy in bulk. For instance, if you know you’ll need paper towels or toilet paper, it’s wise to purchase in bulk. This also helps you avoid unnecessary trips to the store. 

SHOP FOR QUALITY, NOT FOR QUANTITY
Just because an item is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. When shopping, it is just as essential to shop for the quality of an item as its price. For instance, if you get a great deal on a TV, but it continues to break and need servicing, it may have been better to purchase a more expensive yet high-quality alternative.

ALWAYS SEARCH FOR SAVING OPPORTUNITIES
Savings possibilities are endless. It’s up to you to discover them. Consider saving money on power by purchasing energy-efficient light bulbs or carpooling to save on gas costs. Think outside the box when it comes to saving on expenses.

PAY YOURSELF FIRST 
One of the golden rules of personal finance is paying yourself first. This means that before you make any extra purchases, be sure to prioritize your savings. For example, if your goal is to save 20% of your salary, you must contribute this amount to your retirement and savings account before you can use your money for anything else. 

Using these simple rules will help you avoid overspending and busting your budget.