Better Shopping Guide: How to Save Money When Shopping

The Better Shopping Guide is designed to help you to cut back on your spending. Learn how to save on your grocery bill, travel expenses and other consumer expenses whilst maintaining a satisfactory quality of life.

There are lots of ways to save money when shopping. It’s more about developing a smart strategy and ignoring impulse buying. Being a savvy shopper also includes being able to spot a scam and to look at products and assess their quality. The worst thing is to pay your hard earned money for a crappy product and then get the run around from the vendor when you seek restitution.

Supermarket Money Saving Tips

It’s difficult to cut back on a food bill but it’s possible to find savings and reduce how much money you spend at the supermarket. I could easily tell you to buy no name brands or buy in bulk, but those are popular tactics that everyone should be using already. Instead, I want to focus on a few tips that I use which I’ve found to make difference in my spending.

Write a List

I’m an organisation addict and I write everything down. Even if I’m going to the supermarket for two items, I write it down. Writing a supermarket list allows you to save money on the shopping trip and buy the things that you need. How many times have you gone into the supermarket and bought everything that you did not need and forgot what you were supposed to buy?

Out Smart the Deals

Not every deal that is listed in the supermarket is deal. I remember seeing ten apples being sold for $5.99. When I did my little math, that worked out to just about $0.60 per apple. When I checked the price of one apple, it was only $0.50. I’m not sure if it was a error, but I bought the single apples and saved! Read those signs carefully and do your own calculations.

Grow Your Own Vegetables

This is for the long term strategists like me, who are willing to put in some hard work now for some rewards in the future. Vegetables are not cheap and I think that I would get a better deal by growing some of my own stuff. Another benefit of growing your own vegetables is that your crops will be organic and not filled with pesticides.

In recent times I’ve decided to increase the amount of vegan dishes in my diet. I now eat more peas and beans and reduce the amount of meat products that I consume. Although this might not work for everyone, it’s a good option to save money when shopping.

Score Cheap Travel Deals

I love to travel. But travelling and paying full price is a huge burden. I created a travel fund where I save specifically for travel and the associated expenses. But, this is not practical all the time, so I tend to look around for deals on all kinds of websites. Although there are lots of travel agencies around, they do not always have the best prices. And, using the internet is so much easier than driving to the travel agency.

Expedia

I love Expedia* simply because it allows me to compare airfares and car rental rates all on one page. Many times I check Expedia first just to get an idea of what the fares are like. If I see a fare that I like, I go to the airline’s website and check to see if their price matches or betters Expedia. When looking for cars, I go through the same process. I check for the best deals on Expedia – type of car and price and then go to the individual vendor to see what their prices are like.

Rental Car Websites

The trick to saving on rental cars is to join the programme. Earlier this year I was searching for a rental car for my vacation. I searched Expedia and a few other sites and then I checked the car rental vendor. When I signed into my account, the vehicle that I was interested in was about USD $900 less than what was being advertised on the other sites. There are times that I found ridiculously low deals from other car vendors, but something did not feel right about them. When I read the reviews, they were awful. The cheapest deal is not always the best deal.

Airline Websites

Sometimes when a random moment hits I check airlines’ websites. If I’m lucky, I can get an awesome deal that could really work in my favour. The beauty about using airline websites is that you can pay with airline miles. Over the years, I’ve had about two or three trips just by using miles that I’ve accumulated. Where possible, sign up for any traveller’s programmes. On my last trip I earned miles for my car rental. If you’re using Expedia or another travel site, you should still check airline websites to see how many seats are left on the flight. I do this to see if I can continue to wait for fares to drop or if I should just go ahead and book.

Avoid Airline Fees

Since airlines now charge for everything under the sun, it makes sense to try to avoid those extra fees as much as possible. I usually travel with my carry on suitcase when I’m heading to the destination. This can save me as much as USD $60! Some airlines allow you to book your luggage at the same time you are booking the trip. This can save you a little bit as well because it’s more expensive to pay for luggage at the airport. If you can, take a light snack with you. Most airlines serve a beverage, which you can use along with your snack.

Better Shopping Guide FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) that may be able to help you make some good decisions when you shop.

Should I Buy Damaged Goods?

I would buy damaged goods if they only have cosmetic damage. A washer that’s scratched or a fridge with a dent is fine with me. Stores would usually sell these items with a small discount, which I can live with. However, outside of that type of damage, I would not risk it.

Is Expiring Food Safe?

I think it depends on what it is. But I can tell you that I would not buy expiring meat, dairy products, bread and some canned goods because that is a recipe for disaster. I once opened a tin of tomato paste that expired because I forgot about it. When I opened that can, it was the most putrid scent ever and it was yucky. Some people say that the expiry date is just there because it’s required by law and you can use the items after that date.

Is Haggling a Good Tactic to Use?

Yes! Haggling is an excellent tool that can reward you with a discount or a free item.

Where can I find discounts and coupons?

Everywhere. The internet is filled with hundreds of sites that offer discounts and coupons. If you’re in Barbados, your best bet to find discounts and coupons is to follow your favourite stores on social media and sign up to online marketing advertisers.

Have you started planning for your retirement. June made several good decisions in her life, but planning for retirement was not one of them.

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