Shopping Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12687/all en-US 8 Items You Should Never Buy Online http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/problems_buying_online_with_credit_card.jpg" alt="Problems buying online with credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Online shopping makes life easier. There's no doubt about that. But what about when it doesn't? Depending on the retailer, returns can be a huge hassle, and some make it difficult for you to prove that an item was received in poor condition or wasn't what you ordered.</p> <p>With most purchases, the reward outweighs the risk. However, when online shopping, just because you can buy an item without leaving your home, doesn't mean you should. Here are a few things that aren't worth buying online.</p> <h2>1. Cars</h2> <p>There's no way to tell if a car, or any vehicle, actually works unless you drive it. Since you can't test drive a vehicle online, purchasing that way is risky. Also, most used car-buying advice tells you to have a mechanic look at the car before you buy it. There's no way you can do that without having access to the car in-person.</p> <p>Besides, what's more fun than a test drive? How else will you know that you enjoy driving the car, that it is comfortable, and has the features you want? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-can-score-a-great-deal-on-a-new-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times You Can Score a Great Deal on a New Car</a>)</p> <h2>2. Pets</h2> <p>With all of the places out there that treat animals terribly &mdash; think puppy mills and unlicensed breeders &mdash; buying online is a huge gamble. After all, if you don't see where the animals were raised and get a clue as to how they were cared for, your sweet ball of fluff could arrive with a terrible and costly disease.</p> <p>Plus, meeting a pet in-person helps you determine if their personality is a good fit for you and your family. The only way to find out about that is to see the animal before you buy or adopt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-pets-for-frugal-animal-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 8 Best Pets for Frugal Animal Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Real estate</h2> <p>Buying any sort of property should be done in-person, even if you have to travel to see it. Unless you view the property, you'll have no real idea of its condition. If you've seen any real estate photographs lately, you know that they can make a home or a piece of property look drastically better than it actually is.</p> <p>Looking at property in-person also gives you a much better idea of its size, shape, and suitability for your life than you'll get if you just look at it online.</p> <h2>4. Prescription medication</h2> <p>There are many reputable pharmacies that sell prescriptions at discounted rates, but there are also many that aren&rsquo;t. While these may make some effort to get you the right drug at the right time, you won't really know what you're getting. And you won't know if the place is inspected and regulated, either.</p> <p>The only exception to this would be purchasing from an online pharmacy that you have access to through your doctor or insurance company. These are much more likely to be reputable, because they have to prove themselves to get that sort of professional affiliation.</p> <h2>5. Name brand knockoffs</h2> <p>It's tempting to buy designer knockoffs online, but the truth is that it's not worth it. Many of the sites that sell these items are not secure, or are located in countries where online security, overall, is lax. You can never know what might happen to your credit card information once it's out there.</p> <h2>6. Large appliances</h2> <p>There are great deals on large appliances online, but what happens if it doesn't work out? They can be impossible to repackage, and then you have to arrange (and sometimes pay for!) the item to be picked up again. Besides, who can tell if the color is actually going to match and be perfect for your home unless you see the item in-person first. Save yourself a massive potential headache and buy these in the store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a>)</p> <h2>7. Furniture</h2> <p>This is similar to the discussion of large appliances, above. While it's possible to get a great deal on an item when you purchase online, the potential return process makes the whole thing less desirable.</p> <p>In addition, you need to make sure that your furniture is comfortable and that you like the materials. Unless you can sit on that couch or open and close the drawers on the dresser, you won't know that until the item is delivered.</p> <h2>8. Mattresses</h2> <p>There are some mattress companies that only sell online. While some people swear by these products, it seems dubious to me. After all, we spend about ⅓ of our lives asleep! You need to know that you'll be comfortable, and the best way to do that is to try out a mattress in a store, and then to check that it comes with a warranty. Most companies will take your mattress back for a certain number of days, so you can try it out first. If you do purchase a mattress online, confirm that it comes with a reasonable trial period.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree">How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping internet scam never buy online online shopping shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1966172 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Resist the Expensive "Once in a Lifetime" Mentality http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_having_fun_shopping.jpg" alt="Happy woman having fun shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spent part of my junior year of college abroad. While I was there, I got a lot of emails from home asking me if I'd done this or that yet, and many of them ended with the reminder, &quot;You'll only get to do this once!&quot;</p> <p>While I did do some things that were out of the ordinary, I tried to keep myself in check. I knew I had a limited budget and that there'd be hell to pay if it ran out before I got home.</p> <p>As it turns out, this &quot;once in a lifetime&quot; mentality gets a lot of people in trouble. They spend too much, take on debt, end up with stuff they don't even want or need, and more. When we think that something only happens once in a lifetime (or, at least, very rarely), we feel like that alone justifies spending more money than we usually would.</p> <p>As my time in Europe shows, though, it's possible to curb this impulse and still have a memorable, meaningful time. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. You do you</h2> <p>Sure, you may only get to do something once in a lifetime, but that doesn't mean you have to say &quot;yes&quot; to every option. If you're planning a wedding and flowers are important to you, go all out. But if they aren't important to you, there are a million cheaper ways to decorate, and some of them may even reflect your personality better.</p> <p>Know yourself, and choose how to spend your money based on what you know and like. Put your money into things that will create the memories you want to have, and leave the rest behind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>2. Know your bottom line</h2> <p>Decide, preferably before you're in the middle of your once-in-a-lifetime event, exactly how much you are willing to spend. If you're going on a cruise, decide before you leave exactly how much you're willing to spend on excursions and souvenirs. Make sure you do your research before you decide how much you can spend in certain categories. This will help you keep your spending in check, because you'll know what is possible and what is way too far out of your budget.</p> <h2>3. Track your spending</h2> <p>I know, you're supposed to be having fun. But the truth is that you will have a better time knowing you're staying within your budget than you will if you're carrying around a nagging worry about money all the time.</p> <p>You can keep detailed records if you want to, but working with round numbers is OK, too. The idea is that looking at your receipts at the end of the day and adding them up will help you know where you stand with your budget. Sometimes, coming face-to-face with a big expenditure early in your trip or your event will help you to spend less later.</p> <h2>4. Remember why you're here</h2> <p>Keep in mind why you are participating in your once in a lifetime event, and why it's worth spending money on at all. If you're planning a wedding, remember how much you love your future spouse. If you're traveling, remember why travel is important to you and why you chose this trip in particular. Keeping your <em>why </em>in the forefront of your mind will help you make better choices with your money. You will be more likely to choose to spend on things that are important to you, and forget the rest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put it in the budget</h2> <p>If you like spending a lot of money on once in a lifetime events and you don't want to stop, put that in your budget and set aside some money each month for it. That way, when something special does come along, you can follow the impulse to splurge without putting yourself deep in debt later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping mental biases once in a lifetime saving money Shopping Tricks Spending Money treat yourself Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1964079 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_at_home.jpg" alt="Guy at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It used to be that drinking and shopping took some effort on your part, since you had to get yourself to a brick-and-mortar store in order to actually make purchases. It wasn't really a situation many of us would find ourselves in. But online shopping has made it possible to shop while buzzed.</p> <p>Browsing Amazon or eBay after a night of drinking may not seem like a terrible habit to indulge in. You're safe at home, after all, and you can crash in bed after your wine and shopping binge &mdash; and there's always that hilarious moment several days later when your purchase finally arrives and you get to open the mystery box. But drunken shopping sprees aren't cheap. According to a Finder.com survey, the <a href="https://www.finder.com/how-much-do-americans-spend-after-having-a-few-drinks" target="_blank">average amount of money that drunk shoppers spend</a> in a single evening of tipsy debauchery is $206.</p> <p>While having a funny souvenir of a memorable night may be a justifiable use of your money the first time it happens, making a habit of drunk shopping can throw a major wrench in your financial plans. Here are six ways you can keep your wallet safe from your worst shopping impulses when you are tempted to drink and shop.</p> <h2>1. Carry cash</h2> <p>While most drunken shopping sprees are now happening online, in-person tipsy shopping is still a problem. This tends to be more of an issue when your drinking venue is close to a shopping destination &mdash; like when you are on vacation and can drift from the bar to the cute boutiques without having to set foot in a vehicle. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to spend your money in person after a few drinks have loosened your purse strings, including &quot;Sip and Shop&quot; events set up specifically to encourage that behavior.</p> <p>The easiest way to thwart yourself from making unnecessary purchases is by carrying cash for the evening. That helps you to reduce the potential damage you can do to your finances by limiting the amount of money you can spend in one evening. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Post sticky notes everywhere</h2> <p>Believe it or not, sticky notes can be a form of time travel. Your past self can use the sticky note to remind your future drunk self why you don't want to waste your money on more iTunes purchases or cute shoes. If you know you're likely to shop under the influence, write out notes to yourself about why drunk shopping is a bad idea. Go ahead and list the reasons why you are going to regret your purchase in the morning.</p> <p>While a single sticky note can get this across, putting additional notes so that your computer screen is covered with them will really force your future self to remember that your past self is serious about this issue.</p> <h2>3. Turn off one-click ordering</h2> <p>One-click ordering means you can go from being unaware an item exists, to coveting it, to buying it, all within seconds. Add some beer to that equation, and it's even more likely that you'll be scratching your head over a delivery in a few days while lamenting your lighter wallet.</p> <p>Removing your credit card information from your favorite retail sites can help to curb your drunken shopping habits, since you will have to get up to get your wallet and enter in your credit card information in order to complete your sale. The work necessary to enter in your information will either sober you up enough to make you question your need for cardboard cutouts of the Golden Girls, or will be more typing than you can handle in your inebriated state.</p> <p>This is also a good reason to remove your account information on any shopping sites, so that you are forced to type in your mailing address every time you shop. That can be enough of a barrier to keep you from recklessly drinking and buying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">39 Mindless Ways You're Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>4. Block retail sites when you know you will be drinking</h2> <p>There are many apps and browser extensions out there to help force you to be productive when you are feeling the siren's song of your Twitter or Facebook feed. But these tools can also help you to manage your drunk purchasing behavior. Simply set your app or browser extension to block you out of shopping sites anytime you are likely to be drinking &mdash; such as on Friday evenings or after your weekly happy hour with friends.</p> <h2>5. Remove shopping apps from your phone</h2> <p>It's entirely possible to spend your rent money without leaving your house or even booting up your laptop, which means you will need to cut off this additional source of temptation: shopping apps on your phone. Not only do these apps make it far too easy to shop after you've had a few, they don't do you any favors while you are sober, either. These apps allow you to spend money without feeling any pain of payment, which makes them especially dangerous when you are drunk.</p> <p>Remove those apps from your phone, and consider replacing them with apps that will also be fun to surf without spurring you to spend money. For instance, the Pinterest app can give you the feeling of virtual window shopping.</p> <h2>6. Be prepared to make returns</h2> <p>While opening up the mystery box you receive after a night of drunk shopping can be exciting, it's a much better policy to simply return your purchases without opening them. Go ahead and send it back rather than clutter up your home with a purchase that only seemed like a good idea when you were at the bottom of a glass of wine.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping drinking drinking habits drunk shopping online shopping shopping spree Shopping Tricks shopping while drunk Spending Money Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1963764 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Problems You Can Solve With $20 http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/jar_overflowing_with_american_money.jpg" alt="Jar overflowing with American money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say a dollar doesn't buy you all that much these days. But how about $20? Other than grabbing a bite to eat, what else can you do with it that solves a problem? Fill up your tank with gas (most of the way)? Buy some new underwear? Sure, but you can actually solve a lot more problems that are costing you time and money with just 20 bucks. Here are eight you probably haven&rsquo;t thought of.</p> <h2>1. Get rid of garden pests using ladybugs</h2> <p>There are a lot of unusual items for sale on Amazon these days. But did you know for around $15, including shipping, you can have over <a href="http://amzn.to/2rEvuBQ" target="_blank">1500 live ladybugs</a> delivered to your home? And not only that, you'll also get some nectar to feed them. Ladybugs are a great friend to the gardener, and when released at sundown, they will eat aphids, mealybugs, scale, leaf hoppers, and other pests.</p> <h2>2. Look smart anywhere you go with a travel steamer</h2> <p>If you travel frequently, you know the disheveled state in which your clothes often arrive. No matter how carefully you pack, even if you roll your shirts, you're going to have items that look wrinkly. If you're staying at a hotel, you can break out the iron and ironing board, but that's a long and arduous task for a suitcase full of laundry. Instead, spend $15 on a <a href="http://amzn.to/2rm4BCZ" target="_blank">mini travel steamer</a>. It fits nicely in any suitcase, is lightweight, and takes the wrinkles out of clothes in a third of the time that an iron can do the job.</p> <h2>3. Cut energy bills using foam weatherstrips</h2> <p>Drafts. They have this nasty habit of finding you wherever you happen to be in the house. You get comfortable on the sofa, and then you feel one. More than just being annoying or uncomfortable, drafts also cost you a lot of money. Proper sealing and insulating can save you hundreds per year on energy bills. So, do yourself a favor and pick up some <a href="http://amzn.to/2rVwiPW" target="_blank">weatherstripping</a>. Amazon sells 60-foot packs of the stuff for under $4. You could buy enough to seal every window and door draft in the house, and still have a little left over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shrink-your-utility-bill-by-plugging-these-surprising-home-energy-leaks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Shrink Your Utility Bill by Plugging These Surprising Home Energy Leaks</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stop wasting money on batteries and buy a charger</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the most irritating drains on the family budget is the number of batteries we buy and throw away throughout the year. Batteries aren't cheap, and they never seem to last as long as we think they will. But that's a problem you can remedy with rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. They range in price depending on how many batteries you need to charge at once, and the brand you choose. For under $20, you can pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/2rEeZpp" target="_blank">charger with four AA batteries</a> included. Each battery can be recharged up to 1,500 times. Yes, that will add a little more onto your home energy bill, but it's a fraction of the price of a pack of batteries. You won't even notice it.</p> <h2>5. Get organized with a label maker</h2> <p>Junk drawers. Metal tins. Jars. Shelves. You name it, every house has a bunch of stuff that is disorganized in some way. And while we have every intention of sorting it out, we never seem to find the time. Well, a good <a href="http://amzn.to/2rVx3sg" target="_blank">label maker</a> can really help, and they're under $20. Use one to label those boxes and cans that you're always rifling through. Add labels to drawers in the kitchen and garage. Add expiration dates to food you bag up and put in the freezer, or store in the fridge. Once you have a label maker, you find so many useful ways to utilize it.</p> <h2>6. Drink safe water anywhere with a LifeStraw</h2> <p>Whether you're a hard-core survivalist, enjoy camping and off-roading, or are planning a backpacking excursion, you will always need access to clean, safe drinking water. In the past, you have had to rely on kits that allow you to safely turn found water into drinking water. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2qh9SeU" target="_blank">LifeStraw</a> is different. You can literally drink straight from the nearest puddle, stream, or lake, with no fear of contamination. This is essential for any traveler, camper, or first aid kit.</p> <h2>7. Find smelly pet stains with a urine detector</h2> <p>If you have pets, or live in a home that used to have them, there is probably some urine that has seeped into floors and walls. It may also be on the furniture. Chances are, these are small stains, not easily seen by the naked eye, but they cause odors. Now, you can find them and eliminate them by using a <a href="http://amzn.to/2r2grRv" target="_blank">urine detector</a>. This gadget uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the dry urine, so you don't have to get on your hands and knees to find it. In fact, it's really hard to see if it's years old. These detectors are under $20, cheap enough that you may be able to also pick up a bottle of stain remover without going over your $20 budget.</p> <h2>8. Eat in the car with a steering wheel tray</h2> <p>Most of us have, at some point, had to eat a meal in the car. Sometimes it's a necessity, like when we have to stop off for a quick bite on a long journey. Other times, we're getting out of the office for a break, or just want a little alone time to eat and listen to a few tunes.</p> <p>Regardless, it can be a messy affair. How many times have you spilled food down your shirt, or tried to rest a plastic takeout plate on your knee with limited success? Well, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2qkUs53" target="_blank">steering wheel tray</a> solves that problem. It attaches to your wheel (you can't be driving while you're eating, of course) and gives you a great temporary table, complete with a drink holder. It can also be used to hold a laptop, tablet, or phone. And it's well under your $20 limit.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping $20 money problems saving money Shopping Tricks solutions solve problems Spending Money Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1954619 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_looking_at_car.jpg" alt="Young woman looking at car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, my husband had to buy a new bathrobe. The old one, which had completely worn out after a decade of wear, was the exact same ridiculous pastel coffee mug robe that Brad Pitt sported ironically in the movie <em>Fight Club</em>. The coffee mug robe cost $188, and had been a gift from me because my husband simply could not bring himself to spend nearly $200 on something he was going to wear around the house on lazy mornings.</p> <p>He loved that intentionally ridiculous robe, but despite my urging him to replace it with the same one from the same boutique, he again balked at spending that kind of money on a bathrobe. No matter how often I pointed out that he'd be spending a little less than $19 a year on daily joy (assuming the replacement robe also lasted 10 years), I could not change his mind.This situation got me wondering, though. How do you decide whether it's worth it to spend $200 on a ridiculous bathrobe, $500 for a phone upgrade, or an additional $5,000 to get the trim package you really want on your new car?</p> <p>Here's the thought process you should go through to figure out if a major purchase is worth it.</p> <h2>The big question: Is this an investment or an indulgence?</h2> <p>The basic definition of an investment is something that will appreciate in value over time. Buying a house is a common example of an investment purchase. In addition, upgrading your flight to business class so that you can more easily get work done on the plane may be an investment (if you can truly commit to working in flight) since the cost of the upgrade will be more than covered by the money you make while working.</p> <p>But what about investments that appreciate in something other than monetary value? For instance, you might spend money on biweekly massages, which do not appreciate in financial value, but they do keep you pain- and stress-free, which might be worth far more to you than the cost of the massages. That is an investment in your physical and mental well-being, even if you never see a specific financial return.</p> <p>On the other hand, an indulgence is something that simply makes you feel good in the moment. You don't expect an indulgence &mdash; like buying your favorite gourmet coffee, driving a sporty car, or purchasing the latest trendy clothes &mdash; to appreciate in financial value. There is nothing wrong with spending money on indulgences, and in fact, they can be an important part of your budget. The problem is when you justify your indulgences by claiming they are investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>How to tell the difference</h2> <p>The fundamental disagreement that my husband and I have over the bathrobe comes down whether or not spending nearly $200 on it would be an investment or an indulgence. I believe that it's an investment in his daily happiness. He believes it's an indulgence, and therefore not worth the money.</p> <p>There are a couple of things to consider to help you figure out if your major purchase falls into one category or the other:</p> <h3>Length of use</h3> <p>In general, the longer you can get good use out of a product or service, the more likely it is that you are looking at an investment. That means that clothing fads are more likely to be indulgences, whereas well-made classic pieces like a suit or little black dress are more likely to be investments.</p> <h3>Is there a possible substitute?</h3> <p>If there is no other way you'd get the same feeling from another purchase, then it's likely that you're looking at an investment. For instance, you may feel more professional, put-together, and relaxed when you get a weekly manicure. Painting your own nails does not feel the same, and in fact, you feel less professional with your DIY manicure. That means your weekly manicure date is likely an investment in your positive outlook, rather than an indulgence.</p> <h2>Just because it's an investment doesn't mean you should buy it</h2> <p>Even though the big ticket item you want to buy will be an investment in your well-being, that doesn't necessarily mean you should buy it. Major expenditures can derail your finances, even if your purchase will appreciate in value in some way. Before you make your investment purchase, ask yourself if you can afford to make the purchase. If you can't, commit to saving up for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>Know what you value</h2> <p>Ultimately, determining whether or not you should make a major purchase is all about knowing the things you value most. Spending money on things that will appreciate in value &mdash; whether financial or emotional &mdash; can be a good investment. Spending money on things that will offer more fleeting value is generally an indulgence.</p> <p>Knowing which is which can help you decide when to spend, when to save, and when to just go ahead and buy the silly robe.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping major purchase mental bias mental tricks question saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money Fri, 26 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1953939 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-613338282.jpg" alt="Woman finding great bargains at unusual stores" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it pays to go off the beaten path in search of bargains. Shopping in a specialized market with fewer buyers puts the law of supply and demand to work in your favor. When I talk about the nice mountain bike that I bought for $7.50, people want to know where I found a deal like that. Here's a hint &mdash; it wasn't at a bike shop where most people buy bikes!</p> <p>Here are some unusual stores where you may be able to find some of the greatest bargains.</p> <h2>1. Military surplus store</h2> <p>Military surplus stores sell new and used military items, often at much lower prices than sporting goods stores or home improvement stores. Check the smell of fabric items, as some items may be musty from storage.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Rope, camouflage netting and material for outdoor projects, footlockers, unique storage containers, and affordable gear for camping/hiking/outdoor adventuring.</p> <h2>2. Amish market</h2> <p>An Amish market is a store or open air market run by members of the Amish religion who are known for their simple lifestyle and high quality workmanship. These markets feature high quality products at very reasonable prices. Bring cash, as some Amish markets do not take credit cards. You may need to check out the market in person since some do not have websites.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Cheese, meat, produce, hand crafted items, soup mixes in Mason jars, honey, and homemade candy.</p> <h2>3. Pawnshop</h2> <p>A pawnshop takes valuable items as collateral for loans, and sometimes the shop ends up selling these items when loans are not paid back. Check out items carefully before buying since returns may not be accepted. A photo ID may be required to make purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 7 Best Objects to Pawn</a>)</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Leather jackets, bicycles, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, and binoculars.</p> <h2>4. Auctions</h2> <p>Buyers bid on items for sale at an auction, and the highest bidder gets to buy the item. Auction houses are businesses that hold auctions on a regular basis &mdash; typically every week. Auctions are also held at estate sales and going-out-of-business sales to liquidate items quickly since everything gets sold during the auction. Use <a href="http://www.auctionzip.com/" target="_blank">AuctionZip.com</a> to find auctions in your area to attend.</p> <p>Set a maximum price in your head before the bidding starts &mdash; it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and spend more than you planned. I bought the $7.50 mountain bike I mentioned at an auction in January.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used items: furniture, collectibles, antiques, tools, appliances, and vehicles.</p> <h2>5. Unclaimed Baggage Center</h2> <p>Airlines sell unclaimed baggage to the <a href="https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com" target="_blank">Unclaimed Baggage Center</a> where items are sold at a retail store in Scottsboro, Alabama. Don't miss a chance to check this out unique store if you are passing through the area.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Luggage, books, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, electronics, and cameras.</p> <h2>6. Sales for property seized by governments and the TSA</h2> <p>Surplus office equipment, weapons seized at airports, jewelry and vehicles confiscated by police departments, and many other treasures are up for auction in almost every state. You can find lists of auction sites on a handful of websites, including <a href="http://www.eyeflare.com/article/where-buy-goods-confiscated-tsa/" target="_blank">eyeflare.com</a> and <a href="https://www.govsales.gov/govsales/govsales/" target="_blank">govsales.gov</a>. While many sales let you to go and view the items in person, plenty hold online auctions, too, allowing you to bid for items without ever leaving home.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Vehicles, office equipment and furniture, knives, electronics, and clothing</p> <h2>7. Consignment shop</h2> <p>Consignment shops sell items previously owned by customers, and share the sale price with the original owner. Learn the codes on price tags for markdown dates. Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-deals-to-look-for-at-pawn-shops-thrift-shops-and-other-weird-stores" target="_blank">consignment stores drop prices</a> significantly after an item has been on the shelf for a certain period, such as 30 days. Consignment stores are also great places to sell your unwanted items to pick up some cash.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used item: housewares, clothing, furniture, sporting goods, books, and CDs.</p> <h2>8. Habitat Restore</h2> <p>People and businesses donate building materials and home improvement items to Habitat Restore, which are sold at very reasonable prices to fund Habitat for Humanity charitable projects. The selection varies, so multiple trips may be needed to find what you need.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Doors, mirrors, lighting fixtures, paint, building materials, and plumbing supplies.</p> <h2>9. Landfill salvage and recycling areas</h2> <p>Some landfills and junkyards set aside items that people may want and give them away (or sell them for a nominal fee). Check websites of local landfills and junkyards to see if they have salvaged materials.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Bikes, building materials, mulch, and compost.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-stock-up-on-school-supplies">6 Genius Ways to Stock Up on School Supplies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-effortless-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping auction farmers market pawnshop saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks surplus store thrift store unusual stores Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1945351 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things It's Better to Buy at the Last Minute http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543665766.jpg" alt="Woman learning things it&#039;s better to buy at the last minute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you an anxious planner when it comes to deals? Me too! But sometimes, acting <em>strategically spontaneous</em> can be rewarding. The early bird doesn't always get the worm. Here are six things it's better to buy at the absolute last minute.</p> <h2>1. Hotel rooms</h2> <p>Sometimes planning a vacation is the best part of the process. But if you want to get a deal, it may pay to be a little late to pull the trigger. With apps like Hotels Tonight, or discount-minded broker sites like Booking.com, it's easier than ever to book a last-minute stay. This is especially true at the nicer three-stars-and-above hotels, which are more expensive. They tend to have lots of vacancy on Sundays and weeknights, so if you can handle the uncertainty of waiting until the last minute, you could score really posh lodgings. </p> <p>The downside is that you may end up with your second or third choice of hotel if your favorite option sells out before you can snag a deal, but it's still likely that you'll end up with more value for your buck when you scoop up unbooked inventory at the eleventh hour.</p> <h2>2. Show tickets</h2> <p>From sporting events to plays, there are ways to sneak in under the wire and get a last-minute deal. An empty seat is lost money, so venues would rather sell a last-minute ticket at a discount than lose that revenue altogether. Take advantage by buying your sports tickets one to three days before the game using sites like SeatGeek. For music and theater shows, wait until the day of. The best deals await you at the box office &mdash; visit once they open to inquire about discount remainder tickets.</p> <h2>3. Farmers market fare</h2> <p>After a long morning of selling fruit, veggies, cheese, and other perishables, farmers market stalls are eager to sell everything. That means when 2 p.m. rolls around, deals can be made. This is especially true for produce, meat, and dairy &mdash; items that will likely be a hassle to repack and transport, or may perish en route &mdash; so they'll want to unload them fast. Swoop in to make your offer, and they will likely accept. You'll finally be able to afford items that are sometimes not worth the extra expense otherwise. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Buy This &mdash; Not That &mdash; at the Farmers Market</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cruises</h2> <p>Cruises remain a very popular and cost-effective way to enjoy an all-inclusive vacation. Nevertheless, many ships don't fill up to 100 percent capacity, so it's a great opportunity to get an even better deal on a cruise. Especially good times for deals are right before or after a major peak holiday, and during hurricane season, but sometimes you can even get lucky on a cruise during peak time.</p> <p>You may have to settle for a cruise that ends in a different port than you departed from, or you might need to take more time off for a longer cruise, if that's what's available during your last-minute buying window. Still, you might get lucky!</p> <h2>5. Flights</h2> <p>Despite the unpredictable nature of plane tickets, there are so many flights daily that it is still possible to get lucky with a last-minute fare. If you live near a hub, you can be especially lucky. Use Google Flights regularly to check in on your options. They do a good job of sorting through the best costs and departure times. Southwest has sales all the time, so if the time is right, pounce! Tuesdays are ideal to shop if you're buying flights for the coming weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>6. Holiday gifts</h2> <p>Are you someone who buys all your presents early and gets mad at your partner for waiting until Christmas Eve to shop? Well, maybe they're onto something. Sure, there are lots of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but at many big box and department stores, the better deals on the stuff you want happen the week of Christmas. Coats, pajamas, boots, appliances, holiday-themed merchandise, undersold video game consoles, and more get deep discounts. At drugstores, you may see stocking stuffers like candy, toys, and bath gift baskets move to the clearance aisle, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping booking flights last-minute shopping saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money travel tips Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1940413 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537954141.jpg" alt="Woman shopping for food once a month and saving big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've changed my grocery shopping habits quite dramatically, and it's really paid off. First, I've saved several hundred dollars on food in a single month. And beyond that, I've saved a ton of time. What exactly did I do? Well, I started shopping for the majority of my groceries on just one day each month. It may sound overwhelming, but it's definitely doable, and has worked well for my family.</p> <p>Here's how you can try this method, too.</p> <h2>Take stock</h2> <p>Before I even began meal planning or thinking about shopping, I took a look around my pantry and refrigerator shelves. We actually did a &quot;use-it-up&quot; meal week before the big shop. We ate the remaining pasta, cooked all the beans, and snacked on that rogue pudding cup in the back of the fridge. You know, just so we'd be down to basically nothing.</p> <p>You don't have to clear out all your food to get planning. Still, it's a good idea to take stock of what you have before you start making grocery lists. That way you'll avoid buying duplicates. Heck, you may also realize that you mindlessly pick up a can of salsa or jar of jam every week even though you don't need them.</p> <h2>Begin meal planning</h2> <p>After you've assessed your situation, you can get to meal planning. This part of the process is the most important. It may even be the most time consuming. Taking time to plan your meals, though, is the key to success. You don't want to buy a mega load of groceries and then not know what to do with them.</p> <p>What I do is sort of old school. I have a regular notebook and I write down the number of weekdays and weekends for that month. From there, I'll start planning the dinners. I write out how many we'll cook at home and how many nights we might eat out (or be out of town, in meetings, etc.).</p> <p>Last month, I ended up with a total of 23 dinners at home.</p> <p>Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are a bit different. We tend to fall into habits with those. I'll eat oatmeal every day, my daughter likes cereal, and my husband noshes on eggs and toast for breakfast. On weekends, we may do something like pancakes.</p> <p>Lunches are pretty much the same: PBJ, pretzels, and applesauce for my daughter. My husband packs salads and big Greek yogurt creations. I usually eat leftovers. The baby eats bits of what we eat since she only just started eating solid foods.</p> <h2>How to plan your meals</h2> <p>So, how exactly can you plan meals efficiently? We have a running list of the dinners that have been hits in our house. I'd say there are 15-20 meals on this list. When I'm meal planning, I choose maybe six of these meals to incorporate into our month.</p> <p>For example, we may do something like this for our 23 dinners:</p> <ul> <li>Breakfast for dinner x 4 nights</li> <li>Slow cooker chili x 4 nights</li> <li>Homemade pizza x 4 nights</li> <li>Sloppy lentil sandwiches x 4 nights</li> <li>Tofu stir-fry x 4 nights</li> <li>Slow cooker chickpea curry x 3 nights</li> </ul> <p>From there, I go through the recipes (they may be in my head or on a website, but it's helpful to actually look at them) and write down the ingredients I'll need for each. It can be helpful to pick recipes that use similar ingredients, so you can take advantage of bulk pricing, if available. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso" target="_blank"> 10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Good a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <h2>Pick a day and a store</h2> <p>Choose a day for your big shop when you have plenty of time and energy. For some, this may be the weekend. I am able to do my big shop during the week, so I avoid the crowds. I also try to leave my kids at home if I can.</p> <p>You may not want to go to just one grocery store for this shop, either. I hit up Aldi and Wegmans and sometimes a bulk place like Sam's or BJ's. Where I go has a lot to do with what's on our meal plan and my knowledge of prices. Aldi wins out on most items. I've seen their eggs as low as 70 cents for a dozen. Their Greek yogurt prices can't be beat and I buy six tubs of it at a time. They also carry avocados for a fraction of the price I can find them anywhere else. I can't say enough wonderful things about Aldi.</p> <p>But there are some things, like our favorite huge jars of organic peanut butter, that I like to buy at Wegmans. Tofu isn't an item I've seen at Aldi, so I buy a three-pack of that at Wegmans, as well. They also have certain bulk items, like lentils, beans, etc.</p> <p>Find the best prices in your area and choose where you'll go from there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a>)</p> <h2>Set aside funds</h2> <p>For our monthly shop, we set aside $350 for our family of two adults, one kid, and one baby. We also set aside $150 each month for grocery trips throughout the month, when needed. That's to buy things that spoil more easily, like milk or certain produce (berries come to mind). Because we do the big monthly shop, these trips to the grocery store are extremely quick and easy, since we only buy a few items from the fresh sections of the store.</p> <p>That means that we are spending $500 total on food for the month &mdash; a little over $100 a week. But as I got used to shopping this way, we've started spending less than the allocation. We were spending $800 a month on food before. This process has cut our monthly food spend by almost half.</p> <h2>Cook, cook, and cook some more</h2> <p>The other critical piece that makes this way of shopping work is to cook. Cook all the meals you have planned. You may feel like you're on food-overload when you first come home and put everything away. But if you stick to your list, you'll be using everything by the month's end. Stick with your plan and you'll be fine.</p> <p>If you have the space and the time, I have found it incredibly helpful to batch cook and use our freezer space to make things ahead. For example, I make my daughter homemade Uncrustable sandwiches for each school day and store them in the freezer. I have even started experimenting with freezer dump meals where you do all the prep, put everything in pre-portioned freezer bags, and then cook in the slow cooker the day of your planned meal.</p> <p>I also buy more frozen foods that won't spoil and can carry over into the next month if we don't use everything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save Time and Money With a Monthly Assembly Cooking Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>What about meat?</h2> <p>You may have gathered that I'm a vegetarian. Meat eaters can totally follow this type of shopping, too, though. Freeze your meat and thaw the night before in your refrigerator. If you don't have the freezer space, simply figure in how much meat will cost and add it to your small weekly shop.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries">Shop the Salad Bar and Other Ways to Save Big on Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping clipping coupons food shopping grocery shopping grocery store saving money Shopping Tricks Mon, 01 May 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1936650 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-613134306.jpg" alt="Woman shopping and ruining her whole budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As your income rises, you tend to experience &quot;lifestyle inflation,&quot; defined as the tendency to increase spending over time to upgrade your lifestyle. You get a nicer place to live, buy better food, eat at restaurants more, buy a nicer car, spend more on vacations, spend more on pets, hobbies, and other nonessential expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-youre-suffering-from-lifestyle-inflation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs You&rsquo;re Suffering From Lifestyle Inflation</a>)</p> <p>Even if your income is not rising, there is still pressure to spend more and upgrade your lifestyle as you grow older. You see your friends and neighbors &quot;moving on up&quot; and feel like you are working hard and deserve to move up as well. Once you start spending more, you reset your baseline expectations, and your increased level of spending becomes the new normal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>The problem with lifestyle inflation</h2> <p>This habit can keep you stuck in the mud forever, financially speaking. Lifestyle inflation is typically a repeated behavior rather than a one-time splurge, so you keep paying more month-after-month and year-after-year for things like a bigger house or nicer car. This extra spending saps money that could be funding investment accounts and paying off debt. Even worse, lifestyle inflation spending is sometimes funded with borrowed money &mdash; such as charging a vacation to a credit card. It can keep you living paycheck-to-paycheck and delay reaching financial independence by decades. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck cycle</a>)</p> <h2>How the Diderot Effect makes it worse</h2> <p>What benefit do you get from all of the extra spending to inflate your lifestyle? The simple answer is that you get nicer stuff. But is buying the nicer stuff making you <em>happier </em>than you would be without it?</p> <p>According to a phenomenon called the Diderot Effect, buying nicer stuff can actually make you less satisfied and lead to spiraling consumption. The Diderot Effect is named after the French philosopher Denis Diderot who described the following scenario in the 1700s: He received some very high quality clothing as a gift. The new clothes made his old clothes and even his furniture and artwork seem shabby in comparison. Diderot was no longer satisfied with his possessions and went about upgrading most of his belongings to try to find satisfaction again.</p> <p>The Diderot Effect is a driver of lifestyle inflation today. Let's say one of your kitchen appliances breaks down and you decide to replace it. You find a good deal on a fancy new appliance and buy it. Now all of your other appliances seem outdated and you can't wait to upgrade the rest of your appliances as well. And after you upgrade the appliances, you might decide that upgrading your countertops would make sense to go with the new appliances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a>)</p> <p>Another aspect of the Diderot Effect is that people tend to buy possessions that form a culturally complementary set. In other words, you see yourself as belonging to a particular cultural group and tend to buy possessions that reflect this status and that are consistent with your other possessions. However, if you get some higher status possessions, this can drive you to see yourself in a higher cultural status. You will then strive to upgrade all of your possessions to match your perceived status and be complementary with your other possessions. So getting a fancy refrigerator can make you feel like the kind of person who has fancy things and lead you to upgrade accordingly.</p> <p>Lifestyle inflation is a vicious cycle. You spend more money to buy nicer things that ultimately make you less satisfied. You then spend more money trying to find satisfaction and the cycle continues. Unfortunately, no matter how much money you spend, there will always be something newer, nicer, or better that you want to buy.</p> <h2>Break the cycle with &quot;lifestyle leveling&quot;</h2> <p>The way to break the cycle of spending more and more money in pursuit of happiness is to realize what is happening and short circuit the Diderot Effect. When you do spend money, buy things that are consistent with your other possessions. In the kitchen appliance example, you could buy a midrange appliance instead of the high-end model, or even find a used appliance the same age as your other appliances. This way you will spend less, and keep your lifestyle level and consistent instead of buying something much nicer than your current possessions that could spark dissatisfaction and send you into a spending spiral.</p> <p>The concept of <em>lifestyle leveling</em> will help you to maintain a consistent lifestyle &mdash; and spending level. Gain control over lifestyle inflation by upgrading your lifestyle by choice, not as an unintended consequence of the Diderot Effect. When it comes down to it, you don't need the nicest things money can buy &mdash; especially if you don't have the money to spend. All you need are things that work well and make your life easier. And there are plenty of ways to find items that fit those requirements without letting the Diderot Effect destroy your perception of needs vs. wants.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping diderot effect lifestyle inflation mental biases saving money shopping Shopping Tricks Spending Money Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1922315 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-472367518.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever picked a checkout line at the grocery store only to realize that every other line is moving faster than yours? If you're like most, it can drive you crazy and make you feel very unlucky. Here are some checkout line tricks, many of which are based on science, to help you pick the fastest line and get you out of the store as quickly as possible.</p> <h2>1. Get Behind a Full Cart</h2> <p>This one will surprise many of you. If you have the option of getting behind a shopping cart packed full of groceries, or a line with several smaller purchases in it, always opt for the full cart. This is due to the fact that it takes significant time to complete the purchase when you consider bagging, paying, and exiting of the checkout line.</p> <p>According to the New York Times, each shopper will take approximately 41 seconds to complete the purchase (including pleasantries) once the items are scanned and bagged. So if you opt for the one full cart, instead of several smaller ones, you'll quickly remove all of the fixed time it takes to complete those purchases.</p> <h2>2. Avoid Chatty Cashiers</h2> <p>Nothing holds up a line more than a cashier who likes to chat you up and ask you about your day. If you want to get out of the store quickly, avoid them like the plague. Focus on cashiers who are all business and are scanning items at a quick rate. As you begin to shop regularly at stores in your area, you'll quickly determine who the chatty cashiers are and learn to pick another checkout line.</p> <h2>3. Head Left for Fastest Checkout</h2> <p>According to Robert Samuel, who stands in line for a living, you should always head to the left cashier when walking up to the front of the store. This is because 90% of us are right-handed and tend to head to the far right cashier because of it. Be the fish swimming upstream and start with the cashier furthest left and you'll typically find shorter lines and get out of the store quicker.</p> <h2>4. Pick a Line That Leads to Several Cashiers</h2> <p>Single lines that lead to more than one cashier are good things. They tend to move quickly and are often a better option than a single line leading to a single cashier. While not prevalent at grocery stores, you'll will see these types of lines at banks and discount and department stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, and Marshalls.</p> <h2>5. Examine Self-Checkout Lanes</h2> <p>As a general rule, if the self-checkout lanes are stacked with shoppers, go stand in line at a regular register. This is because a trained cashier can scan your items, collect payment, and bag your stuff much quicker than most shoppers can on their own. Also, if you're buying large items, it can be a bit tricky navigating the self-checkout lane as they require you to place items on a scale. Large items typically won't fit and will require you to get the attention of a store attendant, making it a longer process.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries">Shop the Salad Bar and Other Ways to Save Big on Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping checkout line food shopping grocery shopping grocery tips Shopping Tricks smart shopping time management Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Kyle James 1905173 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sneaky Ways Supermarkets Get You to Spend More http://www.wisebread.com/5-sneaky-ways-supermarkets-get-you-to-spend-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sneaky-ways-supermarkets-get-you-to-spend-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2934638171_befddf731a_z.jpg" alt="supermarket" title="supermarket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever wander through the grocery store and end up spending more than you were budgeting for? Don't beat yourself up over it &mdash; supermarkets actually have several different strategies to trick customers into blowing bucks. Be on the alert and watch out for the sneaky psychology tactics these stores will try to use on you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Making-Groceries-Last-Tips-16971878">RELATED:&nbsp;12 Tricks to Make Groceries Last Longer and Save Cash</a></p> <h3>10 For $10</h3> <p>10 for $10 sounds like a great deal. However, you'll get the same savings even if you only buy one item, according to the New York Times. A <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/business/grocery-stores-use-big-quantities-to-entice-shoppers.html?ref=business" target="_blank">grocery store survey</a> recently found that people bought way more items when they see 10 for $10 deals vs. five for $5 and one for $1 sales. Even if you aren't buying 10 items, your mind will trick you into thinking that the item is such a great deal that you end up buying more of it.</p> <h3>Growing Carts</h3> <p>No, you're not shrinking; it's the grocery carts that are growing. The larger the cart, the more likely you'll end up spending more, so try to stick to a hand basket instead.</p> <h3>Pre-Cut Vegetables and Fruits</h3> <p>Pre-cut veggies look so attractive, with their colorful packaging and its promise of less work (no need to wash or chop!). However, they aren't exactly a good deal. Consumer Reports found that pre-cut veggies and fruits can be a lot more expensive than the whole items. The team noted that a $1.50 six-ounce bag of shredded carrots <a href="http://consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/may-2009/food/supermarkets/13-ways-to-save/supermarkets-13-ways-to-save.htm" target="_blank">costs about five times more </a>than a similar amount of whole carrots.</p> <p>Not to mention, these pre-cut veggies and fruits go bad faster than their whole counterparts.</p> <h3>Items at the Checkout Counter</h3> <p>Ever wonder why all those magazines and yummy candy are crammed in the front of checkout counters? It's one of the supermarket's tricks to get you to succumb to last-minute purchases while you're waiting in line.</p> <h3>Where Is Everything?</h3> <p>You think you have the layout of your local supermarket down pat when you find out they changed shelves again! Darn it. The stores are actually doing it on purpose, because if you don't know where the items are, you'll end up spending more time in the store. More time to browse means more chances to tempt you into buying more items.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Want to know how grocery stores are parting you from your hard-earned cash? Learn about these supermarket psychology tricks. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Extreme-Coupon-23755667">7 Smart Extreme Couponing Tips</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Items-Buy-Bulk-22919982">12 Items You&nbsp;Should Not Buy in&nbsp;Bulk</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Organized-When-Grocery-Shopping-21843868">6 Ways to&nbsp;Stay Organized When&nbsp;Grocery&nbsp;Shopping</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sneaky-ways-supermarkets-get-you-to-spend-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree">How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping psychology Shopping Tricks supermarkets Mon, 09 Jul 2012 10:24:13 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 939956 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Shopping Jedi Mind Tricks and How to Spot Them http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/jedi.jpg" alt="Jedi" title="Jedi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="184" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retailers are students of human behavior. It's an experiment on a grand scale and as consumers, we're the guinea pigs. For years, adept retailers have been tweaking all sorts of methods to help us part with our money. With the advent of the Internet, data analytics, and complex algorithms to tailor offerings to your profile, retailers have become complete marketing gurus, sometimes knowing our shopping behavior better than we know it ourselves. We all need to consume goods and services, and when we can score a great deal on something we needed anyway, that's a big win for the budget. But the moment you set foot in a store (online or physically), you are subjecting yourself to subtle retailer Jedi Mind Tricks &mdash; and you may not even know it.&nbsp; Here are a few tricks retailers routinely employ in order to increase their bottom line.</p> <h2>Loss Leader</h2> <p>Using a loss leader is a common tactic where a product is sold at a loss or substantial discount in order to generate sales elsewhere. Grocery stores commonly employ this tactic with goods that are perishable so you can't stockpile them or exploit their system. They may also limit the purchase to a small number of units per customer. While it's admirable to plan your weekly meals around these discounted food classifications, people are often lured into other higher-margin parts of the store by the initial lure of the loss leader, and they spend more money than they planned.</p> <h2>Location, Location, Location</h2> <p>Once they reel you in with a loss leader, a common tactic is to house popular items you need far away from the entrance or bury them at the center of an aisle so you have to walk past many other alluring items to get there. Once you're in that aisle, stores often place higher-margin items at eye level and less-profitable wares lower &mdash; they make you work for it. Additionally, you can't help but notice all the seemingly cheap (but high-margin) items at the checkout counter. A whiny child or a candy craving often gives way to these unplanned candy purchases.</p> <h2>The Upsell</h2> <p>Upselling is a somewhat related technique employed by salespeople where you are initially lured into a store or discussion for a particular item and end up buying something much more profitable.&nbsp; Some common examples include the &quot;supersize&quot; option at the drive-through or selling warranties on common appliances and electronics. These warranties are highly profitable to stores and often, employees are compensated handsomely for selling them. With that end of the equation in mind, it's no surprise that warranties are almost always a bad deal for consumers.</p> <h2>Hard Sell</h2> <p>The hard sell is frustrating to experience, yet effective against unprepared or timid consumers. An example would be a very aggressive sales pitch that includes an ultimatum. For instance, one major retailer tells first-time walk-ins that they have to sign up for an expensive membership fee on the spot to join their discount chain or else they're not allowed to enter a store again for several years. As outrageous as this sounds, my best friend fell for this and spent several thousand dollars up front, &nbsp;saving very little over the following few years due to exhorbitant shipping fees and other add-ons that rendered the &quot;benefits&quot; of the membership rather moot. The reason this hard sell was employed was that if he was afforded the time and resources to research the opportunity further, he would have found it wasn't such a great deal. Multi-level marketers (MLMs) often employ hard-sell techniques as well, imploring you to join their &quot;network&quot; quickly before everybody else jumps on board and ends up on the top of the pyramid. Sometimes, the fear of missing out on an incredible &quot;passive income&quot; opportunity is too great to bear. Meanwhile, the vast majority of all MLM participants actually lose money and don't stay with the programs once they realize they've been had.</p> <h2>Going Out of Business Sale</h2> <p>I used to see the same &quot;Going Out of Business&quot; signs up for a furniture store in town for months on end. I started to wonder about whether they were really going out of business. On a couple occasions, my wife said, &quot;Hey, maybe we can get some furniture for the kids at a great discount,&quot; but I reminded her that the guy in the chicken suit holding the sign has been out there for months. It appeared to just be a ploy to get people into the store. Some states are now enacting laws limiting the amount of time a store can advertise that they're going out of business. Depending on where you live, you may fall prey to this gimmick only to find the same owner happily advertising another liquidation sale a couple years later.</p> <h2>Discount Gimmicks</h2> <p>Stores will often offer something like $10 off a $50 purchase or take it a step further and offer a $25 gift card for a $100 purchase with the caveat that the gift card can't be used until a future visit.&nbsp; If it's a high-end clothing store where that $25 can barely get you an accessory like a belt or some socks, you'll end up spending another $25 over the gift card amount just to get what you really wanted like pants or a shirt, and this is on top of the extra money you'd spent the last time to reach the $100. Another one I love is when a store offers something at 2 for $5. You can buy the one that you actually need for $2.50, but for whatever reason, this labeling entices consumers to buy 2 for twice the price. It doesn't make sense to me, but it's effective.</p> <h2>Black Friday Switcheroo</h2> <p>Black Friday is just around the corner. It's very common to see thousands of shoppers lined up for hours outside an electronics store trying to get their hands on that $500 flat-screen only to find that the store only stocked four of them. After standing on line for an hour in the cold and seeing that there are other seemingly attractive discounts, the impulse to buy these other items is often overwhelming. Somehow, this monstrosity has become an American tradition. My wife makes the trek each year with her girlfriends. They claim to enjoy it. I don't get the allure of subjecting oneself to the madness for questionable deals, but the stores seem to have it pretty well figured out.</p> <p>The message here isn't that all retailers are evil and they shouldn't be trying to increase their sales. They should &mdash; as you would too as a business owner. However, knowing what you're up against and spotting a Jedi Mind Trick in the works goes a long way in ensuring you're not tricked into buying something you didn't need or paying more for something than you should.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes">5 Things Other Grocery Stores Should Steal from Trader Joe&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping black friday sales grocery stores Jedi Shopping Tricks Wed, 10 Nov 2010 12:00:15 +0000 Darwins Money 289638 at http://www.wisebread.com