Money advice: Five tips on shopping around for deals

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Money advice: Five tips on shopping around for deals

While shopping isn’t for everyone, shopping around should be. In today’s world we’re buying more than ever before, and being a savvy shopper is a great way to get what you need while also keeping your costs down.

Read on for our top five tips on shopping around for deals.

1. Do your research

You should never make an important purchase without first doing your research on what you’re about to buy. The more valuable or important the purchase, the more research you should do.

Looking to buy a new car? You’ll want to look into makes, models, mileage, and more. Thinking of going on holiday? Have a look at a flight comparison site, and make sure you’ve checked out reviews of your hotel.

When it comes to shopping around, there’s nothing like first-hand experience. That’s why consumer sites like Which? are invaluable. You can get first-hand accounts of everything from umbrellas to utilities and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

2. Don’t take the first offer you see

Not everybody loves shopping. For some people it’s a thrill, and spending a day going around the stores and comparing products is all part of the fun, even if they don’t end up making a purchase.

For others, shopping is an absolute chore. The thought of spending the day trudging around stores or trawling sites online is enough to make the skin crawl, which is why those people are the most prone to impulse-buying.

You need to ignore that impulse. The whole point of shopping around is to see what’s out there, run through your options, and make an informed decision. No matter how tempting it is, you should never jump at the first offer you see. You’re guaranteed to regret it later.

3. Keep an eye out for sales

Who doesn’t love a sale? There’s something so satisfying about seeing prices slashed and bagging yourself a great deal.

Whether it’s a summer flash sale or a Boxing Day bonanza, there are undoubtedly bargains to be had during sale season, but you need to be careful not to get caught up in the rush. Often we get so worked up over low prices that we end up buying things we don’t really need.

And it’s worth remembering that sales aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Many outlets have been known to inflate their prices right before sale season in order to make the price cut seem bigger than it actually is – so try not to get caught up in the hype.

4. Don’t limit yourself to only online or in-store

Ask certain people, usually of the older generation, and they’ll say there’s nothing like bricks and mortar retail. The staff are friendly, the customer service is tailored to you, and you don’t have to ‘research’ what you’re buying – it’s right there in front of you, to try before you buy.

Speak to others though, and online shopping is the future. You can browse through thousands of options at the click of a mouse, buy anything you need from the comfort of your front room, and have it delivered right to your door.

There’s merits to both online and in-store shopping which is why, when it comes to shopping around, you should never limit yourself to either one or the other.

Often the biggest bargains are found in-store, especially when it comes to ‘unloved’ items or perishable produce that has to go that day. And the internet is the mothership for shopping around.

You can use tricks like comparison sites, mailing lists, and email reminders to stay ahead of the game, and easy access to reviews means you always know what you’re getting in for. Only by using both channels can you count on finding the best deals.

5. If you buy (too) cheap, you buy twice

We get that this comes at the end of an article all about looking for deals, and there’s not a person out there who doesn’t love a bargain, but there is definitely something to the old adage that if you buy cheap, you buy twice.

We’ve all been stung by taking the cheap option and discovering we were getting exactly what we paid for – not very much. And it’s understandable. Nobody likes parting with cash, so if we can get what we’re after at a cut-price, where’s the harm?

The problem is that buying cheap, well, it isn’t always that cheap. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is, and you could very well find yourself replacing your £50 flat screen with a newer (and more expensive) model a month down the line.

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