Sometimes, being a smart consumer can mean doing things that seem counterintuitive at first. For example, buying the less expensive item or using coupons may make you feel like you’re a savvy shopper, but that’s not necessarily the case. Spending your money wisely means more than just looking at the dollar signs.
What Is a Smart Consumer?
Being smart doesn’t always mean getting the best price for an item. Sometimes, a low-cost item is also lower in quality, and you’ll only end up having to replace it several times at a higher cost than you would have paid for the more expensive one in the first place. Coupons and sale prices can also be tricky because you feel like you are getting something for less, but are they even things you would have bought if they hadn’t been cheap? Smart consuming is not just about spending less money. It’s about identifying your needs and getting the product or service that most closely matches them. It’s also about knowing where to find the right information to make the right choices.
Review Your Financial Arrangements
Understanding your needs and doing the research isn’t just about buying things. You also should make sure you are getting the best deal on your cell phone, that you have your money in accounts that maximize your interest and that you are paying off debt smartly.
This means that if you have a credit card with a low interest rate and one with a high one, you should pay off the high-interest rate one first or move the balance onto the one with the lower rate. You may be able to lower the interest rates on other debts as well by refinancing them. For example, it may be possible to refinance your student loans and pay less with more favorable repayment terms.
Assess Your Needs
If you have a problem with impulse buying online or off, this can help you manage it. What do you really need, and why? You may want to go through your wardrobe or your kitchen and see what you already have, what can be repurposed, what you need to get rid of and what’s missing. This can prevent situations in which you end up with clothes you’ll never wear or kitchen appliances you’ll never use. Make a list of the things you do actually need and take your time in getting them.
Do the Research
When it comes to buying anything, you need to do the research. This means talking to people, reading reviews online and understanding what the product does. Research can also give you a good idea of the price range for the product or service and whether there are good reasons to pay more. Salespeople can be knowledgeable as well in certain situations, but keep in mind that they do ultimately intend for you to buy something from them. You should also take the time to read the fine print associated with anything you buy or sign whether it’s an insurance policy, plane tickets or a new home theatre.