Ready for another tip in my Think Like a Saver Thursday series? This series of posts is designed to help you retrain your brain to stop thinking like a spender and start thinking like a saver.
You can do better.
That statement has been said over and over again between me and my best friend from college, Sloan. Most of the time we are talking about clothes prices or the way an article of clothing looks. While the statement has also been used to refer to boys, we usually keep it shopping related.
I say that statement over and over to myself when I shop for anything. Doesn’t matter if I’m shopping for food, clothes, books or housewares. I always know that I CAN DO BETTER. It pays to follow prices and have an eye on the things I want in order to watch them fall in price. I always know that even if I can’t do better on the price, I can at least try.
If you don’t absolutely need an item right away, don’t buy it. Pay attention to prices in different stores and online sites before making a purchase. This doesn’t have to be time consuming, just pay attention to prices as you walk down the aisles of Target or your favorite stores. Pretend like you are preparing to go on The Price is Right. When you find the lowest price, snatch it up!
These are some tips for comparison shopping:
- Start a list on your phone and keep prices handy
- Know the price point you are looking for. For example, if you know that your favorite brand of toilet paper is usually $9.99, you’ll be better suited to spot a good deal.
- Be open to alternatives. You may find that something similar is cheaper.
Here are some ways I have recently comparison shopped:
- Last week when I was grocery shopping, I found some pre-shucked corn. I put it in my grocery cart in case it was the lowest price. Later in my trip I found the corn in husk for a quarter of the price. I immediately switched out the corn for the lower priced ones.
- I’ve wanted maxi skirts for a while and instead of going out and buying one on a whim, I held out until I found one on sale at a boutique. It was cheaper than the ones on sale at Target! I love when that happens.
- I always keep an eye out for high end items at consignment stores. It pays to know the prices of the items brand new so you can make sure your getting a good deal when it is used.
I also find that it helps to have an ongoing list of things you would like to have. Instead of buying something you want as soon as you want it, make a list and start looking for the best deals. Don’t buy until you find the best price possible. I’m currently doing this with a camera bag. I really need a new one for my DSLR and I have a feeling I will find something that works at a consignment shop. If I don’t find what I want by Christmas, it is going on the top of my list (hope you are reading this, Tom).
Here are all the steps if you want to revisit them:
- Identify your goal and continue to remind yourself of it. Post it somewhere around the house and think of it often, especially when tempted to spend money.
- Learn to be confident in your money-saving and spending habits. If you aren’t confident in the way you are saving money, it will be impossible to go on to the next step.
- Be honest with your friends and family about your financial goals.
- Identify your spending weaknesses and be aware of them.
- Make a list of ways to overcome your spending weaknesses.
- Decide whether to spend time or money on certain items.
Next week we will discuss the importance of designing a budget and how to follow it.
What are your favorite ways to comparison shop?