How to Be a Savvy Consumer

This means finding the best deal and making it work for you. It’s about knowing where to look – finding the places others don’t know about – and knowing when to buy to get the best price.

Think outside the box

Getting the best deal isn’t always about getting money off or the cheapest you can find – you should always weigh up what’s the best deal for you.

Sometimes what you’ll be offered in terms of extra service or added extras will be worth more in monetary terms than any cash discount on offer. If you’re given the choice between having a free three-month extension to your gym membership (worth, say, $150) or $25 off the annual membership price, then unless you’re planning to give up your membership in a year’s time, the first one is likely to be the best deal. But if you’ve scrimped and saved to afford that membership, the $25 cash discount may well swing it for you.

Giving the customer more in the way of goods and services rather than discounting is usually a deliberate ploy on the part of the retailer. If companies can keep you as a customer or give you ‘goods to the value’ rather than lose cash from their till, they will.

Know when to shop for quality and when to shop for price

Sometimes you’ll want something that will last for years and go the distance, so you’ll be prepared to spend more. Other times you’ll want something cheap and cheerful that does the job in the short term. There’s no point spending a fortune on a top-of-the-range model if you’re not going to get your money’s worth from it, which is where the cost-per-use equation comes in.

I love this one as I’ve often used it with clothes usually to justify to myself why I’ve just spent rather too much money. Spending several hundred pounds on a suit might sound a lot of money, but if you’re going to be wearing that suit to work every day, even within a year you’re looking at a cost per wear of around a pound a day. While you could spend heaps more on a suit, at the other end of the scale you could probably find a more budget-priced one. But while this might do in the short term, chances are that, worn regularly, it’s very unlikely to look as good long term or clean up as well, which could mean you may need sev­eral replacements over the course of a year. Just as with the scenario of buying those cheap and cheerful T-shirts for your summer holiday back at the beginning of the book, there are times when you’ll need to decide whether your priority is qual­ity and whether your decision is based on price alone.

Buy with selling in mind

This means buying items with a high resale value; something you need short term and can sell on afterwards, hopefully even for a profit.

This can be anything from tools and equipment needed for a DIY job (which may prove costly to hire if you need them for a couple of weeks), to clothes bought for a one-off special occasion that are unlikely to be used again. Some baby equipment, including buggies, baths, baby monitors and such like, you can practically get ‘on loan’, as you can easily recoup most of your money by sell­ing them on later, providing the items are in good condition.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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