Everyone likes saving money. Most of the time people just get lucky when they find sales, but you can comparison shop with a plan if you think ahead. In the old days, that consisted of reading sales circulars in the paper, and going from store to store.
You can still do that but thankfully, these days there are many more ways to comparison shop.
Know the Value
You can’t compare something you buy at Walmart to something you buy at a specialty store like White House Black Market, for example. This is not to criticize Walmart, but they are set up to sell cheap things, not well-made things - especially when it comes to clothing. If something wears out after one wash it’s not very valuable.
Set Aside Time
Shopping isn’t something you should do without a plan, so set up a time and plan of action that you can take. You’ll need to use several resources to find the right items at the right price with the right value. But if you do it carefully, you’ll buy quality merchandise at the right price.
Use the Internet
Using the net to price compare is a great way to accomplish price checking from a distance. Not only that; you can often buy used name-brand quality merchandise that looks like new due to the quality of the brand on Craigslist, eBay, and the Facebook Marketplace. And if you are planning a vacation, you can use some of the bargain finder sites like Hotels.com and Priceline.com to find deals online.
Know What Brands are Quality
This is a lot harder to do if you’ve been used to shopping at cheap department stores. But there are brands known for being quality brands that are worth buying at the right price if you find them. You may need to venture into some higher priced shops that you’ve never gone into to find out the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of those items, so that you know when you’ve found a deal.
Outlet Stores Aren’t Always Good Deals
Therefore, it’s important to know the normal price for the types of items you’re looking for before you go into an outlet store. You need to know whether these items are regularly sold 50 percent or more below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Some items never sell for the MSRP, ever.
Check the Actual Store
Whether it’s a flight, a hotel, or a pair of jeans, if you see a good deal be sure to check the source. For example, if you find what you think is a good deal for any of these online, check the actual store or website if you can. Go to Delta’s website to find out what their price is. Call the hotel directly to see if they can do better. Check to ensure those jeans really are the best price.
One awesome aspect of looking online for deals is being able to read the reviews of a product. But if you’re in a store and you see a product you like, you can still look that up online to see if you can find reviews from the online store. Or if it’s sold on Amazon, you may be able to read reviews there. Also for some items, you can check Consumer’s Report which is a magazine (online and offline) that takes no advertising dollars and honestly reviews various items.
Consider Used Items
When an item is a well-known brand that is easy to care for and made well, designed to last a decade or more, buying used is a great alternative to paying full price. If you buy used online, check the reviews; if you buy used in person, you can look at the item for flaws in person and turn it down if you choose. But a used wool pea coat is just as good as a brand-new one except you’ll pay less. The value is the same.
Comparison shopping takes planning, an understanding of the value of an item, and the willingness to use your time to shop online and in person looking for the best deal. If you are ready to do that, you can save a lot of money on awesome brands that will last you a long time.