The art of shopping is very important these days of high prices and inflation. In country after country, prices have hit alarming highs, with little hope of a downward trend in the future. In many families both parents have to work just to make ends meet. Therefore it is important for you to know how, where, and when to shop and how to spend your money in the most prudent way.
Knowing the value of things is one of the most important elements of being a good shopper. A sale item such as clothing, appliances, or food-will not represent a savings if it is of poor quality, needs drastic alterations or repairs, or is not used.
For example, when buying clothing, you should ask yourself the following questions: Is the material of good quality? Is it well made? Does it have to be altered? How often will I wear it? Is it a style that will last? Is it easy to keep clean? An item that needs to be dry-cleaned can be more expensive in the long run than a washable item that is higher priced initially. So maintenance is a factor. Real bargains are those clothes that fit well, flatter your face and figure, and can be worn and enjoyed for years.
The same principles apply to purchasing furniture and appliances, whether new or used ask yourself the same questions again. Especially when shopping at garage and yard sales or flea markets.
To get the best value in appliances, you should know what they cost to operate. Big maintenance and utility bills can add greatly to the cost of an item. Think too of where the item will be used. For example, an air conditioner placed in a sunny window will take much more electricity to cool the room than one placed in a window away from the sun. The length of time the appliance is on as well as its size, age, and efficiency will determine how much energy it draws and, the overall cost.
Another tip is knowing when to buy. This can at times be more important than where. Usually, the best bargains in summer clothes can be obtained toward the end of the summer season. Most clothing stores have clearance sales at this time to make room for their fall outfits. The same is true at the end of the winter season. Although you may be limited in variety, it’s still a good bargain and you can usually find several things that you really like.
Since most car models do not change much from year to year, you can save by buying a new car toward the end of the year when dealers clear their lots for the next year’s models. Do not be afraid to ask questions as to what warranties and service go with your purchase. Also when buying a car you may want to research what kind of gas mileage a particular vehicle gets, so that you know before you purchase.
Try your best to resist impulse buying. Especially when shopping for food. It is one of the most costly items in a family’s budget. What you pay for food can usually be reduced a great deal by careful planning. Therefore you should never shop for food when you are hungry. You will invariably buy things (usually sweets) that you would not ordinarily buy. Make a shopping list with a budget and stick to it. Before shopping, you should also check the store’s fliers for sales. If your budget allows, you can stock up on sales items and plan the next week’s menus accordingly. Knowing the items and their usual prices will help you to avoid marketing gimmicks where an item is promoted but really not at a savings. You should also try shopping in the middle of the week. The store will be less crowded, you will be less hurried, and you can still benefit from the sales.