Comparison shopping can be one of the best ways for consumers to save money. The more you develop your shopping skills, the more you will be able to save. And it is not just about the small things either. Comparison shopping on things like groceries, clothing, automobiles, houses and school tuition can save families and individuals thousands of dollars per year. The good news is that comparison shopping does not require any special skill except for basic math. There is no huge time requirement either. If you’re willing to spend an hour or two for each major purchase you make, the savings can really pay off. Here are a few areas where people often reduce their annual spending by $1,000 or more just by doing some strategic comparison shopping:
Collecting several auto insurance quotes before buying a policy is a simple task that can save you and your family plenty of money. Even among the better companies that offer auto policies, rates vary significantly. You’ll probably notice this fact once you begin viewing auto insurance quotes from the companies you select. After getting the quotes, you can further reduce your total cost by making sure not to include any policy add-ons except for the ones you absolutely need.
Oddly, many consumers don’t think of groceries as a comparison-shopping item. That’s probably because so many of us have loyalties to certain grocery chains and simply refuse to consider shopping somewhere else. That strategy might have worked in the old days, but in the modern world, you might be giving up huge potential savings by staying loyal to just one store. One recent consumer study revealed that people who buy all their groceries from a discount club stand to save more than $500 per person per year. The average annual fee to join a club is around $40, which means that just about anybody can save $460 annually just by shopping for groceries at a local discount club.
Buying a Car
In the Internet age it’s easy, and actually kind of fun, to comparison shop for cars. Once you make up your mind about the exact year, make and model you desire, comparison shopping is a breeze. There are dozens of major websites that include tools for car shoppers. You can search locally, regionally or nationally, depending how far you’re willing to go to pick up your car after buying it.
When shopping for cars, new or used ones, pay very close attention to specific features and any “deal breakers” based on your criteria. If you hate electric windows, for example, make sure you say so on the search forms. Narrow your list down to three or four “finalist” and call each owner or dealer to set up a test drive. After that, when you find a car that is a good fit for you and your budget, make an offer lower than the asking price and be ready to haggle to knock a few more dollars off the asking price.