Consumerism is the plague of the 21st century. We buy way more stuff than we need and would ever use. As a result, it starts cluttering and causes other problems like unnecessary financial expenses, not to mention the environmental impact.
An average American child gets $6,617 worth of toys before reaching their teens. One in ten homes owns a collection of over 200 toys, while children usually play with no more than twenty. The numbers for clothing and other goods are also staggering. An average person spends $161 on clothes monthly.
Reviewing your spending habits and shopping smarter can save money and help you make better decisions. Instead of impulse purchases, you will only buy things you really need.
Would you like some guidance on the ways to shop smarter? Learn how to shop smart and save money with our tips.
30 ways to shop smarter online, at a grocery, and more
These tips cover the main types of offline/online shopping and product categories. Whether you want to eat or look for new shoes or accessories, they should help you shop smarter.
1. Compare prices on several websites
The best thing about online shopping is that you can stay agile and quickly go from one store to another. Hence, if you need a popular product sold on many marketplaces, you can check the pricing on several web resources. It’s an excellent opportunity to get a bargain. Yet, at the same time, you shouldn’t place an order if the price seems too low to avoid fraud.
2. Read reviews
Easy access to reviews is another online shopping advantage you should leverage to shop smart. Once you pick something on a website, go to the reviews section to read what others say about it. You may learn about quality issues, find tips on choosing the right size, see actual photos, etc.
3. Use Monetha app to get rewards
Rewards apps like Monetha can give you access to benefits you would never get otherwise. Download the app to your iOS or Android phone, find your favorite brands, complete an order, and enjoy rewards. Thanks to the extensive partner network, you can get rewards for almost any product.
4. Look for coupons
Coupons enable buyers to save more money during both online and offline shopping. If you prefer Internet purchases, the website will prompt you to enter the coupon code at the checkout. Where to get them? Store brands usually deliver coupons by post or to your email.
5. Wait for a sale
Internet sales are even more convenient than offline since you can sign in and place an order the minute they start. Some brands even automatically notify subscribers about special offers or discounts. If you want something but can live without it for several weeks or months more, it’s worth waiting for sales.
6. Double-check the return policy
Ordering through web stores, you may order the wrong size or be disappointed with the quality when the product arrives. Therefore, you’d better check the return policy before buying anything. With most sellers, you can return the item during 15-30 days and have your money back. Some stores even offer a 90-day return policy. Just make sure to keep the check and that there are no wear-and-tear signs.
7. Add to favorites and wait
If you are prone to impulse purchases, this is one of the best tips. Once you like something in an online store and feel the desperate need to have it, wait. Add the item to your favorites or bookmark it to get back after some time. This way, you will cool down and then decide whether it’s a good deal. Chances are you will change your mind.
8. Set a monthly budget
Shopping for clothing often leads to spending over budget. You may either buy too many items at once or visit a mall so often that you have nothing left weeks before the next salary. If this problem sounds familiar, setting a monthly budget may be the only way out. 5% of your income is the recommended share.
9. Know exactly what you need
There is no point in buying the tenth pair of similar shoes even if they are beautiful. Hence, going to a store, you should focus on items you will wear often. Ideally, you should decide what you need before shopping.
10. Take your time
When in a mall, check several shops before you buy. It will help you research the market offer, compare prices, and pick the best option. Remember that you don’t have to buy anything just because you are in the mood to spend money.
11. Read washing instructions
Shopping tips rarely mention this advice, but it’s super important. When you buy a new item, you must ensure you can care for it properly. If the clothing is for dry cleaning, and you usually use a washing machine, you’d better not buy it. Otherwise, you will throw the new dress away after the first wash.
12. Remember that current styles fade
Retailers intentionally promote trendy items to make people convert with every new collection. But you should be strong and don’t fall for their offers. Fashion will change with a new season, and it’s too expensive to keep up with. Buying basic and quality clothes is a much wiser choice.
13. Buy off-season
The main reason to shop after the season ends is cost-saving. Sellers lower prices and do their best to sell the previous collection to clean up the space in their stores. Besides saving money, you will also be better prepared for the next season and avoid overspending in six months. Summer/winter clothes, swimsuits, and sports gear are the most popular options to buy in advance.
14. Visit thrift stores
Although thrift shopping isn’t for everyone, it’s an excellent way to spend less money and find something unique or old-school for your wardrobe. Such a shop has clothes you would never find in regular malls to enrich your style. Needless to say, they are considerably cheaper than traditional shops.
15. Keep your existing wardrobe in mind
The main problem with clothes is that even if you get something nice, it may fail to match what you already have. Has it ever happened to you? If yes, you should always think about how to style the clothing before putting it into the cart. This way, you are more likely to be left satisfied with newly purchased clothes and put them on as soon as you get home from the store.
16. Prefer quality over quantity
Instead of getting five cheap dresses, choose one with decent quality and nice style. You will wear it over and over, enjoying how you look. The problem with low-quality clothing is that it loses its shape very soon, and we throw it away after several washes. What looks like a great deal may turn out to be a waste of money.
17. Take a grocery list
Planning ahead is a key to successful grocery shopping. Since you will likely need to buy many goods, it’s easy to forget something. That’s why you should list everything you need at home before going to a market. The grocery list will let you go step by step to get all ingredients for your next meals.
18. Buy veggies and fruits locally
If you have a farmer’s market nearby, lucky you. It’s a perfect place to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. They are home-grown and healthier than what you can find in a supermarket. Even though such markets usually take place on a specific day once a week, it’s worth waiting to get top-quality products.
19. Check your fridge before going out
You may forget that you have a milk cartoon in a fridge and buy another one to realize you don’t need it when it’s too late. As a result, some food will expire, and you will throw it in the garbage. Hence, be sure to open your fridge before leaving for grocery shopping.
20. Plan to avoid food waste
You must know what you will cook to put into the cart only the food for the next few days. Otherwise, you risk buying some unnecessary items or junk food to realize later you have nothing to eat.
21. Buy for the entire family
If you have a large family, use this as a great opportunity to shop in bulk and save money. Bigger packs are usually more affordable and budget-friendly.
22. Check expiration dates and price
Although this rule sounds like a must-do, not everyone follows it. If you don’t read the information on the packaging in a grocery shop, you may take food that is about to expire or is much more pricey than its alternatives.
23. Make sure it’s worth it
We know how beautiful that new car is, but saving money is no less attractive. Big decisions require careful thinking and planning. You must ensure that what you pay for will improve your life or is essential to completing your everyday activities.
24. Research many options and ask for professional advice
If you are sure you need that big purchase, know the model, and are ready to place an order, use your last chance to ask for advice. You may call a family member that knows more about this product, go to forums, or talk with a consultant.
25. Split the bill with someone
Do you live with friends and need a new TV? Discuss splitting the bill. It will be fair and will reduce the load on your budget.
26. Prefer functionality over big names
Getting the latest iPhone version may not be worth it. You can find another phone that will be less fancy but equally good in terms of functionality and technical characteristics. The same relates to other big purchases, like cars, devices, or real estate. There is no point in overpaying, only to have a trendy brand name written on the product.
27. Consider buying in installments
If the purchase doesn’t fit into your budget, tap into the buy now, pay later (BNPL) model. By paying in installments, you won’t need to have the full price at once or pay interest on a credit card.
Shopping for kids
28. Remember that in most cases, you don’t need it
Don’t buy too many toys since it is expensive and spoils your child. If they start a tantrum, try to stay calm and explain that they cannot have everything and there are some limits.
29. Mind your kid’s opinion
When you pick something for your children, it’s better to take them with you and ask what they think. This way, they are more likely to love the purchase and keep playing with it or wearing it for much longer.
30. Join loyalty programs
Even though this is a universal tip for saving money, it’s particularly effective when buying something for kids. Parents usually go to the same shop and can considerably benefit from loyalty programs. Given how fast kids grow and that they need something every other week, make sure your frequent purchases are as cost-effective as possible.
PS: if you have liked this post, you might as well like the article we’ve written about passive income ideas. Let us know what you think!
Know your budget, and don’t spend more money than you have planned. It will save you from emotional purchases you may regret later and help manage weekly/monthly expenses.
Install a rewards app like Monetha to get bonuses for purchases. Such applications enable you to join a loyalty program and earn points to spend the next time.
Add products to favorites and wait. It will give you time to decide whether you need this item or can do without it.
To successfully shop online, you should check product reviews before placing an order, compare pricing on several websites, and, most importantly, avoid rushing. It’s better to bookmark a product and wait to decide with a cold mind.
The main rule for buying clothes is setting a monthly budget for this product category. Besides, you should always keep your current wardrobe in mind to avoid purchasing something that doesn’t match what you already have. Also, be sure to pick quality products you will wear for many years.