Spending money is easy – and saving it? Not so simple.
And the reason for that one way equation is that the odds are firmly stacked against you when you are out on the front-line of shopping. Stores and malls have had decades in perfecting their strategies to part you from your dollar – so it’s hardly surprising that they can fly out of your wallet so readily.
The way out of this dilemma, which is especially important in these days of tightened finances, is to turn the tables. Become the warrior in the retail conflict – understand the enemy’s motives and learn tactics to put you on the winning side. And rule one of any conflict is to know your enemy.
No, not the guy behind the till – but the retail organization that backs him up. The techniques of persuasive retailing revolve around convincing you that you need the products on display. And also that the store is your friend, helping to make sure you get to own these wonderful things.
It’s all about identifying you with the product, careful product placement, and making the sale seductive. The whole process starts long before you even get out of the door, to go to the mall. Here’s how to respond:
1. Stay Skeptical
So to start your quest to save money, you need to disengage from the propaganda war waged in your front room. Treat adverts with a healthy skepticism; don’t be drawn into product envy by what the neighbors have; and decide before you go out shopping – your mission is to save money, not spend it.
2. Do Your Homework
Make sure you do your intel. Check out what discount, thrift and close-out stores are in your area, and compare their prices to those on offer in the mainstream stores. These can provide you with useful basement-price information, which will come in handy when you try to negotiate prices down. Decide on your tactics before you go into the store, and then focus on getting the results you want.
3. Find Substitutes
One approach that many seasoned grocery store scrimpers take, is to cherry-pick. That means casting your net of food-stores as wide as practical, and then shopping in each for only those items on offer. If you’re prepared to substitute your usual brands and items, like-for like, for those on discount only, you will easily be able to fill your basket with bargains. Combine that tactic with a fistful of coupons, and you have an ideal double whammy – capable of slashing you grocery bill right down to size.
4. Buy More Save More
Another line of attack to is to work the volume bartering angle. This works well in clothing stores. Here you tempt the shop assistant with a relatively large sale, for several items. Then insist on a discount – or you walk. If you can back this up with evidence that similar products are on offer at lower prices in other stores, the counter-staff can quickly cave-in. Obviously this requires you to have the money for multiple purchases – and a definite need for all the items in question. But the savings can be spectacular.
5. Find Lower Prices First
Along similar lines is the commission counter-attack. This is of use when buying big-ticket items, like cars or sound systems. If you’ve done your research, and know what you want, go to the store and find the lowest price possible.
Once the salesperson thinks they’ve convinced you to buy, and has counted on your purchase for their commission, let them know about the better deal elsewhere. Once you start to move out store, the price ticket will come tumbling down.
Retail outlets will always be making money off of the every-day combatant. Just don’t be one of them – be hard-nosed, with precise tactical skill, and the best deals will be yours. Remember – war is dirty!
This article is a guest post from Edward, a blogger who writes about freeware reviews at http://www.bestfreeonline.net/