Are You a Savvy Shopper?
According to the American Time Use Survey, the average woman spends 219 hours per year shopping. Retailers are obsessed with making sure their advertising, displays and pricing all “scream out” to attract you towards their goods and services. But your dollar only stretches so far and in this economy it’s important to understand what kind of buyer you are. Being a savvy shopper is easy when you have strategies for spending smarter.
Here are some common shopping styles:
Description: You are loyal to the brands that you use. You always look at the labels first, and feel that the extra money you spend is worth the quality of the products you receive.
Pro: Buying based on quality means that the products you use last longer.
Con: Sometimes there’s an extra price for paying for labels. There might be products out there that offer the same quality without the label price tag.
Tips for Shopping: Shopping by brand can get expensive, especially if you’re always paying full price. Try joining customer loyalty programs for extra discounts, and shop for your favorite brands at outlet stores and designer sample sales. It might not be the latest thing, but it will save you money and you won’t have to give up your favorite brands.
Description: You never pay full price for anything. You know where to find the coupons, store discounts, and get more out of the money you spend.
Pro: Never paying full price means that you’re getting more for your dollar.
Con: Sometimes in the shopping excitement, you can end up buying things that you didn’t intend to.
Tips for Shopping: Many Sales Divas think they’re savvy shoppers. However, if you never intended to buy the item, and get it because it was on sale, then you didn’t save money. You spent it. A sale is only good if it saves you money on items that you need. If your closet is busting at the seams with things that you bought on sale but just haven’t found a use for, then you need to reconsider your shopping strategy.
Description: You buy whatever catches your eye in the moment. When you go to the store, there’s nothing on your “To Do” list and you shop strictly by impulse.
Pro: You’re never afraid to try something new.
Con: You’re prone to impulse buying.
Tips for Shopping: In this economy, you can’t afford to shop on impulse. Take a step back and repeat after me, “Can I use my money in a better way right now?” And then start breaking the bad spending habits by creating a budget and using a shopping list whenever you go to the store. Being a savvy shopper doesn’t mean restricting your creativity. You just have to channel it frugally.
Description: You know exactly how to get the most out of your money without compromising on style. The economy might have tightened your belt but your know how to stretch your dollars.
Pro: You know how to shop smart and save.
Con: None. There’s nothing wrong with being a savvy shopper.
Tips for Shopping: You’ve got a good foundation for frugality, but you can always take the time to learn more. Consolidated Credit offers tips on shopping, budgeting and using your credit wisely. When you have a chance, visit our debt learning center and hone your skills.
Whenever you go to the store, remember to have a budget and a plan. Stick to your list and don’t let the sales pull you off target. Never compromise quality. After all, being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to be cheap. It’s all about being a savvy shopper.
If you’re still not sure what kind of shopper are you, take our shopping quiz.
About the Author
The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.