In the current economy, you can stand to lose money rather than saving it if you comparison shop in excess. For example, the amount of gas you use to go from one store to the next comparing prices can actually cost more than the items in question. Instead, it’s better to take advantage of the technological jumps that have taken place over the last fifteen years, and do your comparison shopping online instead. Most major retailers have an online catalog, and it may be advantageous to actually buy the product online instead of in person.
Find Your One Stop Shop and Stick With It
Current gas prices affect not only you, but also the transportation company that ships the products you buy to the stores, the company that makes the products you buy, and so on. Prices are going up everywhere, and only the most competitive companies are keeping their edge by leaving prices as low as possible. Most pricing information can now be obtained online, so this is the way to go if you are determined to get the lowest price. When doing routine shopping, it may be best to pick up the items you need at this time, rather than making an unscheduled stop somewhere else in search of the lowest price. The amount you spend on gas to travel to another store, combined with the sale price of the item, will probably exceed the price if you simply buy it where you are.
Protecting Your Gas Budget
Some people have made comparison shopping an integral part of their lifestyle, which can make this habit, or the way it is done, very difficult. It’s important to be well-informed about the state of the economy, your budget, and how local and national economic factors impact you. This will drive home the importance of saving your gas budget, regardless of most sales and other marketing strategies companies are using to get people into their stores. Know that protecting your budget is going to depend heavily on reserving gas for essential mileage only.
How to Save Money With Large Store Chains
Comparison shopping can also be very costly when you factor in the reality that local businesses are struggling to keep up with regional and national chains, and that these chains tend to keep their prices lower because they have greater access to distributors and are able to buy in bulk. This is another incentive to buy online or from recognized chain stores whenever possible. You can really take advantage of the savings that these companies offer due to their regional and national success and access to a larger distribution chain. At the risk of sounding redundant, it’s better to save only a little by buying in one place than to actually lose money by buying from multiple stores that may or may not have a competitive advantage in terms of sales prices.
Comparison Shopping In the Past and Present
Simply put, a lot of the information that is out there about comparison shopping and the possibility of saving large amounts of money through this strategy has now become obsolete, due to changes in the market and the global economy. However, one can imagine how this news will go over with competitive shoppers who feel that they must get the lowest possible price on everything. Those with a keen eye on their budgets will be able to catch a balance between these two extreme mentalities, helping their dollars to stretch further.
Christine Gilbert is a freelance writer who has covered many matters related to personal finance including private student loans.