Written by: Cally Worden
Shopping as therapy is not a new concept, and there is no denying the giddy pleasure of browsing the high street and returning home with a bundle of bags on your arm. Provided you know that you can afford the things you are buying then shopping can help to place a great big grin on your face and get your endorphins flowing.
So who says we can’t get that buzz from the more mundane purchases we make? With a little smart planning and a tactical approach everything from the weekly shop to utilities and car insurance can deliver bring a little light into your personal procurement world. Get the most from your money by following our smart shopping tips below – basic, but effective, they are worth keeping at the forefront of your mind when you are poised to buy:
- Know your budget – this establishes the framework for any spending you do and prevents that post-shopping crash when you realise you’ve overspent. There is nothing worse than having your shopping bubble popped in this way after such a high
- Target your purchases – knowing what you are shopping for is one of the best ways to make your money go further. If you enter the clothes store with no clear path you will doubtless exit with two pairs of trousers your don’t need, and no new top that you definitely do need for that wedding at the weekend. The same applies to supermarket shopping – make a menu for the week and buy what you need for it. Then if you have any spare cash you can indulge in what you like, knowing you have the basics covered
- Don’t get scammed by Special Offers that aren’t – when a deal sounds too good to be true it usually is. Stores love to woo us with BOGOFs and Multibuys, but they aren’t always as great a deal as they may first appear. There is nothing wrong with indulging in these, but do it with your eyes open – there is a reason why supermarkets generally post such huge profits … And watch out for insurance deals that offer you money off, or throw in additional extras – are they locking you in with their small print? Could you pay less elsewhere when you take everything into account?
- Bulk buy – when there really is a good deal going it can pay to stockpile stuff at home. Just be sure to make sure your sell-by dates are okay, and that you don’t then use more of the product than you would normally, as that could negate any benefit
- Use comparison sites – they are a quick and easy way to capture a good overview of the market, but do also be prepared to make a few spot-check independent comparisons yourself. You may be surprised at what you can save in spot-deals online
- Embrace outlet stories – these make a living from selling out of season, older, or slightly damaged stocks at a discount price. Many big brands now operate these types of store and the savings can be significant if you have a lot of things to buy
- Read the reviews – the online review revolution is an invaluable resource, as honest punters share their thoughts on the stuff you are thinking of buying. What could be better? Even if you find what you’re looking for elsewhere, there may well be reviews across the web on different sites – check them out, and make sure you really know what you’re buying before you click that ‘Checkout’ button.