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How To Be A Pro At Bargain Shopping

Updated on September 3, 2012


There are some rules across the board that apply to everything you purchase over your lifetime. 

I don't care if it's a new car or if it's new underwear. 

There are ways to save money and there are ways to throw away money.

Let's look at my personal ideas on how to save money on everything.



Evaluating purchases is far more important than actually buying them.

  • Getting real. First rule is always to evaluate need versus want. So you want a new car but do you really need a new car? It's the wanting that gets most people into debt over their head because they don't know how to curb their spending and just say no.

  • Why do we buy? Going hand in hand with that is....are you buying something to replace some other emotion in you. "Things" can't buy you happiness, make you feel loved or make you look better, no matter how expensive they are.

  • Giving into impulse. Impulse buying is the leading budget breaker in the world. Every time you buy something that isn't on your grocery list or you see a "deal you just can't pass up", you're impulse buying. If you know that this is one of your behavior patterns, enforce a walk away rule. You have to walk away and think about the purchase for at least 2 days before you're allowed to go back and get it.

  • Credit card pitfall. Thinking you'll pay it off in full this month but you just don't do it. Once you do this one time and you continue to do it, you need to stop buying period! You've adopted a pattern that will get you into financial trouble and you'll never get out of this kind of spending habit if you don't end it now. Make yourself give up buying on credit until all your debt is paid off and then vow to never do it again. It's possible! You can change spending habits and you'll be better off financially for the rest of your life.

  • Sales only. If it's not on sale, leave it on the shelf. Everything sometime goes on sale and if you can just teach yourself to only buy on sale, you'll save thousands over your lifetime. Nothing is that great that you can't wait for it to go on sale. Think of an alternative to what you were going to buy if a grocery store item isn't on sale. Then if you see things you can stock up on that are on sale, grab them and stock up!

  • DIY. Do it yourself in every aspect of life. By making your own food, cleaning your own house, washing your own car....all these things are tasks most of us can perform ourselves. Again, the savings over a lifetime will be in the thousands. Every time someone touches something, whether it's making a processed food, washing your car, or cleaning your house for you, it's costing you, the consumer, more money than it should! Why not cut the middle man out and do it yourself and save money? Some things of course you can't do yourself but for the things you can do - just do it!



  • Comparison shop. If it's at the supermarket, figure out the price per unit not the overall price that you pay. If you're looking for an item and you see it for one price in the store, think about looking online or at least price comparing it between several stores. If you do find a cheaper price somewhere else, whether in a real store or online, ask stores to match the price you found as the lowest price. You'd be surprised how many say yes.

  • Evaluate your "stuff". Periodically evaluate what you have and get rid of it if you don't need it! If you periodically evaluate your stuff, chances are you're not going to buy replacements for things you already had and forgot! Most of us have so much additional "stuff" that it's incredible. If you haven't used things for a month to 6 months at a time at least, sell it - have a garage sale, put it on Craigslist or eBay or put an ad in the paper....just get rid of it. Then make a vow to quit accumulating so much stuff! The more stuff you have the harder it is to make sure you're using it all. In many ways, less is always more.

  • Top of the line versus middle of the road. Sometimes the best product in any category is somewhere in the middle. You don't always have to have the top brand of something or the most expensive model. Learn to look at something in the middle of the road. You don't have to buy the cheapest model of anything or the cheapest brand either. But you can evaluate, based on the item in question, if buying somewhere in the middle won't serve you as well. The most expensive is not always the best. Quality in anything you buy should be the most important factor to consider and its overall value, not just the price tag.

  • Be money smart. Never spend more than you earn and always look for ways to live frugally. You don't have to be a cheapskate to get ahead in the world but you do need to learn to spend less and expect more. Save money and learn to budget for everything. It will keep you from being in debt and having to dig your way out of a pit. Always ask yourself the burning question "How can I save money and how much can I put away for a rainy day?" and most important question of all "Do I really need to buy this?"

  • Have a care. Being financially solvent is a great thing. However, having your health and being able to enjoy what life has to offer is another. Take care of yourself and take care of everything you own! Care for yourself as if you were going to live to be 100 years old. Also care for all your possessions the same way. Think of things as what if that was the last car I ever buy? An ounce of prevention in all things is worth a pound of cure.

  • Think of the planet. No matter what you buy, what businesses you are in or invest in, give the planet a nod and do whatever it takes to remain eco friendly. Be kind to the planet as it's the only one we have left. Don't waste - time or things. Don't look at life as disposable or at things as one in a long line of many. Think in terms of preservation and conservation and your overall attitude will have far-reaching effects on the world.

  • Be street smart. If an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a money saving scheme sounds like just the thing with no risk and no effort at all, it's probably a scam. If a product claims to do outrageous things for pennies a day, it's likewise probably a lie. Listen to what your brain tells you in life and always weigh spending money against those gut feelings. Don't throw good money after bad by letting yourself be suckered into money saving gimmicks that turn out to be pie in the sky. Be realistic and always look at things from the perspective that most things only come to us through hard work and devotion to the task at hand.


  • Learn to appreciate the simpler things in life.
  • Vacations don't have to be thousands of dollar affairs to be good vacations.
  • Presents don't have to be baubles and designer perfumes.
  • Meals don't have to be gourmet extravaganzas to be spectacular.

Think simple and think about the things that don't cost huge sums of money. You'll be happier and you'll be able to sleep better at night knowing you're not going into debt to please yourself and the world around you.

Give of yourself freely and think of money as a tool, not a replacement for feelings or your presence.

Those are only some of the how to save money "bible" tips and ideas. I believe that saving money is actually part of a lifestyle that also includes saving the planet and destroying less by waste and ignorance.

Money is just a bargaining tool to get through life but there are other more important things in life such as humility, kindness, and helping others.

By saving money and being more frugal in our approach to life, we can assure ourselves financial freedom but we can also give ourselves the opportunity to help others less fortunate than we are and we can give something back.


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Darski - you are too kind. I probably could be an impulse shopper but then again, I'm too cheap so I think that curbs my 'enthusiasm' so to speak!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Hi Audrey, I always learn so much from you, your writing and all your hubs are really some of the best I have ever seen, isn't it amazing how the more we write the better at it we get? I am an impulse shopper I buy stull I don't need and I must stay away from stores. I rate this up, it is a wise hub crammed full of great advise. I love love you, and congrats on all your wins, rate this up Love & Peace darski

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Pamela, I think my financial steam engine is just about out of steam!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Audrey, As usual you have great tips and a well-written hub.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      I totally agree with you - labels mean nothing and I even pulled that little trick with our oldest son! He thought he was getting some great name brand and too bad it was plain old Kirkland! ha ha

      Fiddleman - Thanks so much for stopping in - my pleasure and I learned a lot!

      Ahmar2 - Thanks for stopping by.

    • ahmar2 profile image


      8 years ago from Lahore

      Great tips..Keep it up..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub and advice we all can use. Thanks for doing the homework for us.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Great advice, Audrey. I worked in a textile plant in college. we cut clothing out of the same cloth and sewed different labels into it depending on how much inventory the "label" desired. Buying labels is a farce and even more so today when most of it is produced in Asian sweatshops and sold here at absurd pricing. They take us for fools. Thanks for some good advice! WB


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