Shopping to Save in a Recession
Several years ago, when I retired, one of the first things I noticed was that I had time to do things with some forethought. That included shopping. No longer did I quickly run in after work and pick up something off the shelves. I was able to read labels and do some comparison pricing. Now, with the current recession, I am doing comparison shopping, but with a different goal: saving money. On a limited budget, finding ways to save is a necessity and I have become one of the best. Here are some of my tricks:
There is a certain sense you develop when shopping retail. If you see something you want, let’s say a dress, you have to assess whether it will go on sale. If there are a limited number in your size and if you don’t act, you have to weigh how disappointed you will be if you donÃ¢â‚¬Ëœt get it. Nine times out of ten, things will go on sale and then the real game becomes how low will it go. In this economy, stores are marking things down to incredible savings. Now, the beauty of retirement kicks in. When you read the ads or see something on-line that you have been wanting, you have the time to beat everyone else to the sale.
Shopping for cosmetics is also an art. I have tried to hone the skill of waiting, but am not always successful. If I see something I want, I ask for samples. At least then I can try it before spending a lot of money. Also, if I decide that it is something I must have and call a store to send it, they will often waive the shipping fee, if asked. Also, if you develop a rapport with staff in certain lines, they will alert you to sales, or give you complimentary gifts. I have a friend who always buys her perfume from the same salesperson. She is alerted to the new scents of the season and she is also rewarded with free samples.
Clipping coupons is something I would have never bothered with when working. Now it is fun. Sunday’s paper if full of coupons and as more and more papers disappear, coupons are available on line. I try to plan our weekly menu around what is on sale. I also look for two for one specials and share them with our neighbors.
This is also a time when companies are willing to negotiate to keep their best customers. Always pay your bills on time. Never be afraid to ask if you are getting their best price. Things change and although you might have needed 70 cable channels in the past, you might not need them now.
My last trick is really a wake-up call. Again, it is practicing the art of patience. Instead of buying spontaneously, I write down what it is I want and how much it costs. In a week or two, I go back and review the list. If it is something that I still want, I may buy it, or I will note how much money I have saved by waiting. Remember, the whole art of negotiation is being able to walk away if the price is too high!
Retirement is tricky. There is a fine line between having enough money to enjoy things and being too frugal that you forget how to enjoy things. Becoming a savvy shopper helps.
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