Easy Ways to Save Money On Shopping

Posted by Amy Category Credit Cards

Whether it's shopping for fun, necessity, or a bit of both, the things we buy can quickly add up to a lot of money.

Despite the wide range of shopping options now available through both brick-and-mortar stores and online, saving money on shopping is still one of those elusive ideals many of us carry without a very clear idea of what strategies will get the best results for your bank account.

In fact, traditional ways of saving money at the shops is more confused now, thanks to the wide range of choice and competitive offers we’re exposed to online.

Should you buy that pair of shoes from the shop down the road, or an almost identical pair from online? Will shipping add up to a bigger cost than the in-store price? How long would something that’s bought online take to get here? Is it worth paying more to support local jobs and shop in an actual store?

These kinds of questions are asked on a daily basis by shoppers everywhere, and it makes it hard to figure out how personal values match up to financial ones. So we’re simplifying at least one part of the process by sharing some of the best ways to save money on shopping, wherever you are and however you choose to do it.

On This Page

Introduction

  1. Writing a list
  2. Comparing prices between stores
  3. Showrooming
  4. Checking out catalogues
  5. Waiting for sales
  6. Signing up to loyalty programs and mailing lists
  7. Swapping brands
  8. Finding stores that match prices
  9. Using credit card price guarantee schemes

Summary

1. Writing a list

This simple task is often suggested for grocery shopping to help curb impulse buys, but it’s also effective when applied to other kinds of purchases.

If you’re shopping for clothes or homewares, for example, writing a list of what you need will help you stay on track when you go to a shopping centre or browse options online. It also makes it easier to look at a wider variety of options and stores because you won’t forget what you actually need.

Having a list also means you can prioritise your purchases more efficiently – if you’re shopping on a budget and can’t get everything in one go, you can at least tick off what you do buy and refer back to the list for what you still need to stay organised with your finances and your life.

2. Comparing prices between stores

Comparing prices means you can find the best deal on everything you’re buying because you will be looking at prices for a range of competing stores.

In a shopping centre, this could mean browsing a number of stores for the same product, while online it’s more likely you’ll look at a few websites or even check out a comparison shopping site such as GetPrice.com.au or MyShopping.com.au.

Broadening the search for what you want to buy increases the chances of finding it on sale and/or at the lowest price possible, so comparisons have the potential to save you a lot of money on whatever you buy.

3. Showrooming

Showrooming is an evolution of traditional comparison shopping, where you visit stores to check out the products in their physical form, but then search for a better price using a smartphone.

This comparison process is designed to give you the best of both worlds: you get to try on or test out what you want to buy in a store, but then find the very best price, whether it’s in that store, another store or online. If you plan on using showrooming to save money, there are a few things to remember:

  • Remain polite to the customer service staff in the store,
  • Factor in any shipping costs for online products,
  • Consider when you need the item/s; and
  • Check for any loyalty discounts or promotions that may be exclusively offered at the time.

Both brick-and-mortar and online stores regularly run exclusive offers for customers, so if you find what you want to buy at a bargain price through showrooming, get it as soon as you can to make sure you get the deal you want.

4. Checking out catalogues

Catalogues are a great way to see what deals a store is promoting and how much money you can save. It’s even more effective if you’ve listed everything you want to buy because you can stay focused as you look through the catalogue for deals that are relevant to you.

Catalogues also help you plan ahead. If you’re shopping in a traditional store or going to a shopping centre, for example, checking out relevant catalogues before you go can help you map out the best way to do your shopping while taking advantage of sales.

5. Waiting for sales

Sales aren’t always easy to predict, but there are a few strategies for figuring out when things might be offered for a cheaper price. As well as sales catalogues, the time of year is an important factor to consider when you want to save money.

When it comes to fashion, for example, waiting until the start or end of a season will help you shop within a sales period, as that’s when moving stock is a priority for companies. The same goes for seasonal homewares such as heaters, fans, blankets and so on.

There are also certain times of the year when most retail companies will have sales – such as at the end of the financial year – and a number of online sales such as the annual 24-hour shopping event Click Frenzy. Planning ahead for these kinds of promotions means you can stick to your shopping list and save a lot of money at the same time.

6. Signing up to loyalty programs and mailing lists

These days almost every retail brand has its own loyalty program, or a mailing list at the very least. For them, it’s a way to promote themselves to you and also gain insights into how, when and where you shop, but for you, it’s a way to get exclusive offers and discounts that could save you money in the long run.

Some of these loyalty programs even offer discounts as an incentive to sign up. Craft and sewing store Lincraft, for example, offers 10% off your first purchase when you sign up to Club Lincraft. Jeanswest, on the other hand, gives you a $10 voucher and 5% off full priced items when you sign up for the Jeanswest Rewards Program in store or online.

While 5% or 10% might not seem like much, it is still a saving – and it makes it easier to save money even if there isn’t a sale.

7. Swapping brands

Another easy way to save money is to swap between similar brands. Generally, the better-known and established brands will have a price point that reflects that reputation, while lesser-known brands, or home brands will be priced lower.

Aldi’s Expressi coffee machines, for example, retail at $89, while similar options from Nespresso start at around $139, and Breville versions retail for more than $200. Similarly, stores like Big W, Kmart and Target often stock homewares and other products at a lower price than those from well-known brands – and sometimes you can’t even tell the latter from the former.

The key to swapping named brands for generic or home brands, is to assess the overall value of each option. If a generic brand option looks cheaper or like it might not be reliable, then obviously paying a bit more could be worth it. But when both offer the same value aesthetically and practically, going for the lesser-known brand can lead to huge savings.

8. Finding stores that match prices

Some stores advertise “price matching” as a way to increase value for customers. What this term means is that if you see a product they stock listed for less with a competitor, they will match it for you.

Price matching is great for shoppers because it means you can buy what you want in the store you’re in (or with a company you like if you’re shopping online). It also gives the store a chance to boost business buy matching the price of competitors.

Some of the stores known for price matching include Dick Smith, Office Works, Dan Murphy’s and Toys R Us. Department stores including Big W, David Jones and Myer also have in-store price matching policies, and it can be worth asking other stores if they offer this service too – you never know when it could save you money and time.

9. Using credit card price guarantee schemes

If stores won’t match a competitor’s price, another option is to take advantage of a credit card price guarantee scheme. Also known as Guaranteed Pricing or Best Price Guarantee, this feature can be used to save money on purchases made with an eligible credit card.

Basically, if you buy something with your card then see it offered for less within a month of the purchase date, you could make a claim through your issuer and get the difference refunded. That means you can save money even if you buy something just before it goes on sale, and will get the best prices on everything you buy from month-to-month.

Summary

These days there are all kinds of ways to save money on shopping, not to mention a huge web of information and tips to save money available on the net. The only problem is that it takes time to sift through all this information to get to the nuggets of gold that save the most money.

But these nine tips offer easy, practical ways to save money on shopping so that you can include them in your daily life without making any really drastic changes to the ways that you do things. So just find the tips that sound good to you, and you will be able to save more money without making big compromises on how, when and where you go shopping.

back to top



Creditworld RSS

0 Comments

    Add Your Comment