5 Really Simple Money-Smart Shopping Tips

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Who doesn't like to shop? Oh, I know there are guys out there that will say they hate shopping, but you catch them on the web surfing for a new Ipad or the latest and greatest gizmo. We're a consumer society. That's what we do...we buy stuff. But there's smart shopping and not so smart shopping. Who wants to be a smart shopper? Well here are 5 tips to help you and your kids stretch your dollar:

1. Plan ahead. What? That's crazy talk. No, seriously, impulse buying is the root of all shopping evil. By planning ahead, you have the opportunity over time to determine if what you're planning to buy is something you really want. Ever hear of buyer's remorse? We all go through it. Buying something and ten minutes or days later thinking to ourselves, "Why did I buy it?" Planning helps to avoid buyer's remorse. The other great thing about planning ahead is it allows you to save. That's a bonus. Have your kids set up a goal in FamilyMint and learn how much fun it is to plan, anticipate and achieve!

2. Make a list. Well yes, this is the same as planning ahead. Good catch. Any time you run off to the store, make a list and stick to it! This will help you avoid the root of all shopping evil - impulse buying.

3. Compare prices. Whether it's a big purchase or a small purchase, do your homework. In the grocery store, it's easy...multiple brands of the same product are before you...it's up to you to decide generic or brand name. You can do the same of course on the web. There are numerous resources out there that provide price and product comparisons and reviews. Just do a search for the product you wish to purchase. Referring back to (1), by planning ahead you have the time to do the research and get the very best price for what it is you want. Oh yeah, don't be afraid to consider buying used. You can save a bundle. Just be sure it's a reliable source you are purchasing from.

4. Don’t fall for sales tricks. Stores know our buying behaviors. They've spent millions studying it and refining their tactics to squeeze out every last dollar from you that they can. Why do you think they have loaded up their check out areas with stuff to buy? Because they have your attention and understand our nature to buy on impulse. I'm in the sporting goods store and I'm presented with candy and toys at the register. Why yes, a Snickers bar would hit the spot about now. Impulse purchases are the quickest way to a light wallet. Refer to (1) above.

5. Save the receipt. Even though you planned and made your list and compared prices, this doesn't mean you won't still change your mind after you have brought your purchase home. Or by chance, the very next day, the item you just purchased goes on clearance for half what you just paid for it. If you have kept your receipt it will be easy to return your purchase or get a price adjustment.

We'd love to hear all the ways you shop smartly.