BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY — Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, you can ensure you’re getting the most for your money with a little extra planning. These savvy shopping tips can help you score the most savings and added benefits while you’re at it.
1. Time Your Purchase
Before any big purchase, spend time researching the product and retailers to find potential upcoming sales or promotions. Also be conscious of the calendar and holidays or gift-giving events that might prompt special offers on an item you’re looking to buy. Another smart strategy: shopping end-of-season sales when items are marked down to make way for new inventory.
2. Use Digital Shopping Tools
You may be leery of signing up for promotional emails, but remember it’s only junk mail if it isn’t useful. Putting your name on mailing lists of your favorite retailers and brands is a good way to get early or exclusive access to special offers and coupons. Downloadable browser extensions and plug-ins are other cost-saving tools that are increasingly popular. When you’re shopping with one or more of these tools installed, your browser automatically checks for coupons or price comparisons that allow you to get the best available deal.
3. Take Advantage of Benefits
Understanding the terms of your purchase can help protect you if there’s a problem and may even allow you to take advantage of special rewards. Before finalizing a transaction, check into the warranty options. Even refurbished products can come with warranties for a specified time. For new items, some retailers offer the option to extend your warranty beyond what the manufacturer provides. In addition, some retailers offer money back incentives on certain purchases or allow you to accumulate rewards for discounts on future purchases.
4. Save on Shipping
When you’re researching an online purchase and comparing prices, be sure to factor shipping into your total cost. Many retailers offer free shipping once you spend a certain amount, extend free shipping to preferred shoppers, or offer periodic shipping promotions. So it’s worth exploring the options! Also be aware that buying items on sale can drop you below free shipping minimums, so ultimately you pay more than you would have by paying full price. In some cases, you can also save money by having an item shipped to the local brick-and-mortar store and picking it up there.
5. Shop Refurbished
Whether it be for savings or sustainability (or both) refurbished products are a top choice among savvy shoppers. You can often find quality, like-new products at deep discounts from premium brands. Don’t be shy about visiting your local thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, swap meets, and flea markets. You may find that something 30 years old that is better made and in better condition than something that is selling new today. And often at giveaway prices!
With inflation and scarcity issues remaining top of mind for consumers, shopping refurbished provides another option to buy in-demand products. In addition to value and availability, sustainability is another motivator for purchasing like-new. Shopping for refurbished goods extends the life of the product and reduces harmful waste. For example, the U. S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) estimates that:
- Purchasing a refurbished desktop computer displaces the energy used to charge more than 30,000 smartphones.
- Purchasing a refurbished TV displaces around 360 miles driven in a car.
- Purchasing a refurbished gaming console displaces around 180 miles driven in a car.