It’s September and you know what that means? The holiday shopping is upon us! It is quite an exciting season to buy gifts for loved ones but before you whip out your cards or withdraw your cash, think about one thing for a minute.
Although it gives us a good feeling to exchange gifts and all these other stuff, you need to be very careful about putting yourself in debt because of the holiday shopping. This is when frugality will really come in handy. A frugal way of thinking will prompt you to exhibit smart spending habits to keep you from getting too excited about the things that you have to buy for family, friends and colleagues.
In lieu of the upcoming holiday shopping, we have come up with a 2 part article series about frugality in making purchases. This is the first part and we hope can help you save a lot of cash and still be as generous as possible with your loved ones.
About bargain shopping and your frugal lifestyle
Frugality and bargain shopping always go hand in hand. When you are out bargain shopping, you try to get the best value for your money by negotiating for a much lower price than what is displayed in the store. It is an effective way to stretch your limited resources and still get the purchases that you want to have. It encourages you to practice smart spending because you really think before your make the purchase – which is what frugality is really all about.
There was an article published on BBC.co.uk titled, “The Psychology Of Shopping For Bargains,” and it reveals an interesting idea about this type of purchase arrangement. A consumer psychologist of the London Metropolitan University, Dr. Dimitri Tsivrikos, says that retailers use pricing strategies to make consumers believe that they are spending less on the purchase they are making. The most common strategy being use the is .99 price tag. It is generally a dollar already but it gives you a different feeling when the price is displayed this way.
When a product is shown to be reduced even further, Dr. Tsivrikos mentions that it becomes even more appealing to the consumer. They think that they get the upperhand on the retailer but can actually be quite confusing. The excitement that you feel when you see an item on sale or offered at a bargain can seriously compromise your ability to be smart about that purchase. Your heightened emotional state will prompt you to make the purchase – sometimes even when you know that you do not need that product in the first place.
This is where smart bargain shopping must be enforced. Buying a product at 70% off even if there is no need for it is not frugality. You did not save 70% of the purchase price. On the contrary, you just wasted 30% of the purchase price because that is an unnecessary transaction.
Frugal tips to be smart when bargain shopping
When you go out shopping – whether that is for the holidays or a simple grocery errand, make sure you create a spending plan first. List the things that you have to buy and as much as possible, set a budget for each item. While you are in the store, stick to your list and do not go overboard. It is important that you stick to the plan and if the price is not as you expected, do some serious bargaining.
Here are some tips that hopefully helps you when you implement frugality as you go about your bargain shopping.
Before you buy from any store, make sure that you know about their return policies, and if they accept coupons or not. Also, always make sure that you will be getting the lowest price from them. If not, go to another store to make your purchase.
If the shop owner is present, try to negotiate the price with them. Compared to their sales personnel they have the best grasp of the profit margin on each item in their store. They will not be as cautious in giving you a discount.
Be careful when you are dealing with difficult store employees. If they cannot cooperate with you during price negotiations, you may have a difficult time with them when it comes to returns. But if they go out of their way to let you know future sale events and similar store activities, then you know that they will be very cooperative.
Buying from people on commission can sometimes be a benefit if you know how to utilize it. They are more willing to go for a small commission than none at all. You can get more freebies like in delivery charges or something similar. Just ask them when you enter the store so you know how to bargain with them.
Frugal people usually get better prices when they shop off season. The chances of you being able to negotiate a low price is better when not much customers are coming in to buy. So if you want to get the best deal out of your holiday shopping, buy a couple of months before the actual season starts.
Shopping online with a credit card can sometimes produce more savings and protection for you as well. In case you do not receive the product or you are not satisfied with it, you can withhold the payment and dispute the transaction. Not only that, you get to benefit from reward points too.
If a purchase does not have a price reduction but the store offers free delivery or a similar deal, ask them how these freebies can be translated into a cash discount. For instance, if you will forego the free installation or delivery, ask them how much can be taken off the purchase price if you do these yourself.
Try to be open minded when you are out bargain shopping and always ask yourself if the purchase is necessary. Frugality will tell you when a purchase is a good idea or not – and it will also give you the confidence to negotiate with retailers.