Sunday, 29 October 2017 09:31

Can You Really Save Money by Shopping Around?

Indeed, you can. But there are smart ways to do it, and ways that could end up costing you money.

For example, if you normally visit one supermarket but you want to shop around at two others to get the best deals, you’ll probably end up out of pocket. That’s because the cost in time and petrol (or bus fares) to go to the two additional supermarkets will probably outweigh the savings you might have made.

The solution to this one is to review prices online first. There are comparison sites that take the hard work out of this one, and make it easier for you to tell whether a trip to a second store is worth it or not. If you are going to visit more than one store, make sure it is worth your while and you are going to get a good deal, perhaps on more than one item. And remember, there is always the risk you will get there and find the items you need are sold out.

Shopping online is easier because you can visit lots of websites in a short space of time without wearing out your shoe leather or wasting petrol. But don’t simply look at the price tags of the items. Consider whether sites have a minimum order value, or whether you will be charged P&P. Let’s say two websites sell the exact same item you want. One sells it for £25, and the other sells it for £30. The first one seems to be the better option, but they charge £5 P&P, while the second one is free. Additionally, the second site is offering a gift with any order, and you’re thinking you will either use that gift or sell it to make some cash. In that case, the second deal is best.

Another point to think about is whether you are at risk of spending more than you need to by shopping around. Are you always tempted by special offers? Can you be strict and walk into a shop (or look online) to see if one item is cheaper elsewhere, without being tempted by anything else you see at the same time? Sometimes, it can be better to restrict yourself if you know you are prone to getting side-tracked like this.

Most people would say it is easier to save money if you shop around. Most of the time, this is true. But you can see there are occasions when you might be at risk of going over-budget if you do this. Trying to save money is admirable and it should be done, but make sure you assess your own situation and consider what you want to get out of it, too. Reducing spending risks might be more important to you than anything else, if you are trying to save and be more diligent with your spending. For some, the idea of shopping around is simply too big a risk to be tempted by.