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Be A Smarter Shopper

Click here for a printable version of this tip

Becoming an educated consumer is the surest way to get
the best value for your dollar. You're far more likely to
get a good deal if you do a little research before spending
your money. Before you rush to make your next purchase,
consider these ideas on how to stretch your budget:

* Make A Checklist. A great way to make the most of the
money you have is to shop with a checklist. When you
make a checklist of what you need, it's easier to suppress
the desire to impulse shop and spend too much money.
Decide what you need and how much you want to spend
before you enter a store - and then try to get all the items
on your list for the best price.

* Shop Around. Shop around for the best deal you can
find, before you rush to make a purchase. Consider
comparing the cost of the same item at more than two
stores. One store may sell the refrigerator that you want
for $100 less than another, while a third store may even
sell it for $150 less.

Also, stores will often sell you an item at a competitor's
lower price if you bring in a competitor's advertisement
showing the lower figure. Leveraging competing stores
against each other when you're shopping for value can
get you a great price. If you don't shop around, you'll
have nothing to tip the scales with.

* Buy Quality. Buy quality the first time, saving yourself the
expense of repeat purchases. Many people think that a
cheaper price is better than the higher cost of a quality
purchase. But if you have to replace an item (such as a
dishwasher or television) every year or two, you can wind
up spending twice what you would have for a quality item
that would last for much longer.

The same applies for clothing and other products. If you
buy a shirt that falls apart after the second wash - or juice
glasses that melt or crack in the dishwasher - you have to
repeat your purchase. It's smarter to spend a little more for
quality (once) than to spend less three or four times over.

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