Successful Shopping Secrets

Hey, it’s FruGal Friday again. (I know the name is corny, but the thoughts are sincere ;)

Today when I was doing some research for a product I wanted to purchase—and find at a discount—it occurred to me how much money I’ve saved over time by researching products beforehand.

The obvious thing to do is to research the quality of the product you’re interested in. The key is to find a reputable site where your product is their niche. For instance, whenever I want to find out if a health or beauty product is worth its salt, I go to MakeupAlley and check out the product reviews, which are written by consumers just like you and me.

I also love Consumer Reports for in-depth research and advice on best buys, as well as for general usage reviews on products.

Spending time doing a little research can save you a ton of cash over the long haul, especially when you consider the lifespan of the product, possible repair costs, replacement costs, etc.

And another frugal tip: after you’ve Googled the product name plus “review,” or “complaint,” is to Google the product name plus “coupon.” Many coupons are now printable, and if you don’t mind email solicitations, you can often get larger discounts or free products. For me the extra email is only worth if for large purchases.

If you’re planning a large purchase, such as an appliance, (and you’re set on a new one) try to build enough time into your plan to find a discount and possibly even some perks. Sometimes even an hour or less online can make a difference. As an example, a few years ago after burning through three used washing machines, we decided to upgrade to a more energy efficient front loader. This was a last-minute “emergency” purchase, for reasons I’ll spare you. Yet, the final cost of the machine was hundreds of dollars less than the advertised cost in the store because 1. I had a coupon for a percentage off; 2. I asked for free delivery; 3. The price in the store was considerably higher than one I’d found online so I asked for the lower price, which they gave me.

One note of caution: Don’t fall for the discount that’s tied to using the store credit card. If you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey you’ll know why. If you’re not, just know that statistically people spend more when they use credit cards, and with the current economic situation, credit card rates—and the percentage of people defaulting on payments—are going up.

I’d love to hear your favorite sites for product reviews and your best retail bargain experience! (We’ll talk about retail alternatives another time.)


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About LivingLaVidaMama

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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at