No matter how much we try to avoid materialism, at some point you will probably end up buying something. Purchases are necessary since few of us can grow or make everything we need. You probably even buy things that you want, even if you do try to limit the amount of stuff cluttering up your house.
Being a smarter consumer can help you save money and reduce unnecessary purchases. As you try to figure out what makes the most sense for you, here are 3 tips that can help you make better buying choices:
1. Start with What You Value
Before you buy anything, know your values. Figure out what is important to you. Too often, we make poor spending decisions because we aren’t clear on values and priorities. It’s easy to make impulse purchases when you don’t have a framework for deciding whether or not something is worth buying.
Sit down and work out your long-term goals, and identify your values. Then, create priorities for your finances and your spending. You will be a smarter consumer when you change your spending habits to match with what really matters to you. Before you buy something, ask yourself if it meets a need or helps you reach your lifestyle and financial goals. If a purchase doesn’t move you forward, don’t make it.
2. Comparison Shop
Looking for the best deal isn’t just about saving money. The cheapest item isn’t always the best choice for you, or the item that will save you the most money in the long run. Pay attention to quality as you comparison shop. When you decide you need to make a purchase, take the time to compare your options, and figure out what will offer the best quality in the long run. The fewer times you can buy something (like tools or shoes), the better off you will be in the long run. Comparison shopping is a good way to get an idea of what is likely to offer you the best bang for your buck. You want to be a smarter consumer who gets the most value for your money, rather than someone who just gets things because they are cheap. (And what happens when the poor quality means you have to turn around and spend more later?)
3. Look for Deals
Don’t forget about the deals. After you have shopped around, and you know your purchase is in line with your values, it’s time to look for deals. You can use coupon and rebate sites to find promo codes and savings. From free shipping to 50% off (or more), it’s possible for you to get even more out of your purchases. You can also use rebates and loyalty programs to stack deals and reduce your overall costs. Before you buy something, check to see if there is a coupon, discount, or rebate associated with it. Checking doesn’t take very much time at all, and you can stretch your dollars even further when you take the time to see if you can get a discount.
As you look for ways to be a smarter consumer, you will save money and enjoy higher-quality items — and a higher quality of life.