Now That We’re Out Shopping, Tips for Comparing Prices
Between businesses re-opening and a stronger economy, more Americans are back to spending their dollars, both in person and online. People are eating out, hitting the malls, and nearly half of consumers are spending more money online than they did before the pandemic.
But many remain concerned about their personal finances. If you can’t resist a good deal – or just want to avoid spending more than necessary – there are more ways than ever to compare the costs of items you need. Those dollars saved will add up and give you more buying power in the months to come.
Read Unit Prices on Household Products
One of the best ways to know if you’re getting a good deal at the supermarket is by comparing unit prices. You may have to squint; they’re typically posted beneath the product in smaller writing. Unit prices describe products, often by weight or quantity, to make it easier to know how two differently sized items compare to one another. That larger bottle of shampoo may seem more expensive at first, but the per-ounce figure often tells a different story.
When buying food, beverages, and household goods, keep an eye on the cost per unit. If the unit prices aren’t listed, you may need to break out your phone calculator and divide the total price by the number of units of similar items. That way you’ll know if you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Check Comparison Shopping Websites
Comparison shopping websites are great tools for analyzing prices and other criteria. These search engines are online aggregators, meaning they scan the web and gather sales and pricing information in one place. By comparing products based on criteria like price, reviews, and availability, they save consumers the time and hassle of online research.
Check out these four websites that help consumers save big on just about any item available:
Bizrate: Search Bizrate products by “department” or merchant while getting access to online discounts and free shipping. Click on product links to see all the matches and descriptions so you can easily compare products.
Google Shopping: Because it’s an Amazon competitor and has such a powerful search engine, you’ll probably find more products here than anywhere else, from electronics to toys to furniture.
Bing Shopping: Did you know Bing has a sister shopping site like Google’s? It may not be as expansive, but it’s an option for those who want to support Google’s lesser-known competitor.
Camelcamelcamel: Amazon lets you compare reviews and prices on similar items for every category under the sun. But this price-tracking website dives in a little deeper by providing a history of Amazon product prices and alerts when prices drop.
Upload Price Comparison Apps
More and more people are shopping on their phones. Price comparison apps can be especially helpful when you’re on the go and comparing costs in real time. A quick search on a price comparison app will tell you whether the item you’re about to buy is the best bargain. Sometimes they include coupon codes to sweeten the deal.
Coupon Sites Provide Savings and Negotiating Power
Coupon websites like BuyVia dig up product discounts so you don’t have to. They’ve become so ubiquitous that employees at chain stores like Bed Bath & Beyond are sometimes willing to look up discounts for you at checkout.
Asking about discounts before buying pricey products can help you negotiate. For instance, GoodRx allows patients to compare prescription drug prices and find coupons at pharmacies across the country. And health insurance doesn’t always guarantee that drug prices will be affordable, even for generic brands. Check the website and ask the pharmacist to apply any discounts to refills so you don’t overpay for meds.
Don’t Overlook Value
If a coat is $50 less online than in the store, ordering from the website may seem like a no-brainer. But anyone who’s ever gotten a regrettable haircut on the cheap can attest that other factors can add or subtract value from the item you’re buying. Paying a bit more in-store may be worth it if you’re short on time or want to support local businesses.
So, before making an important or pricey purchase, ask yourself: what matters to you? Here are some factors other than pricing to keep an eye on when comparison shopping:
- On-time delivery
- Order tracking
- Quality of product
- Return Policy
- Brand reputation
- Online reviews
- Delivery options
When all is said and done, being financially educated is still the best way to make smart choices when it comes to your money. The Community Currency Exchange Association has loads of information and services to help you make fiscally wise choices with an eye on your future. Stop by your nearest location today and take advantage of our countless convenient and reliable services.
With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.