Money Matters

Four tips to shop savvy

November 26, 2013 | Alliant Credit Union

PowerdBySavvyMoney.pngWith the holiday season upon us, fine-tuning your shopping skills is especially important. During this time of the year it’s important to take advantage of every deal that you can find, and this concept involves more than just showing up at Walmart at 10 o’clock on Thanksgiving night!

Look beyond the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. There are several tips and strategies that you can implement to become a truly savvy shopper – while shopping for holiday gifts, or just making everyday purchases.

Four Tips To Shop Savvy Header Image

  1. Conduct Internet research
    I have a personal rule that I follow when it comes to any purchase greater than $50: Always research prices online. This accomplishes two things. First, online comparison shopping offers you convenience. Why visit two or three retailers when you can do all of your research from the comfort of your own home? Second, you will know that you have found the best price when you investigate all of your options online. Take the time to compare prices using sites like,,, and Google Shopping to find the best deals on the holiday gifts you want to buy.
  2. Think before you buy
    Think carefully about what you intend to buy before you pull the trigger. Before you make any purchases, ask yourself the following questions:
    • Is this item a necessity?
    • Can I absolutely afford this item?
    • Have I done everything that I need to do to ensure that I am getting the best price?
    • Will the recipient truly enjoy this gift? While holiday shopping, make it a rule to stay away from joke or “gag” gifts.
    Instead, buy gifts that friends and family will truly enjoy and that they can really use. If you don’t know what gifts to buy, ask the people on your list what they would like to receive. Alternatively, query friends and family members to get ideas about what gifts to buy.
  3. Negotiate prices
    Surprisingly, you can often negotiate the price of an item, even when you shop at national chain stores. In fact, the higher the price of the item, the more likely retailers are to negotiate with you. It never hurts to ask for a discount, though you may have more success with this tactic at smaller mom-and-pop stores. And even if a store can’t negotiate on the price of an item, the store clerk may provide you with an in-store coupon or some other discount to reduce the price of your purchase.
  4. Subscribe to a bargain hunting website
    You can find deals on just about everything by subscribing to a bargain hunting website, such as FatWallet and These member-driven communities offers the hottest deals on electronics, toys, clothes and much more. Website members post little-known, hard-to-find deals and discounts. In essence, they do all of the legwork so you can easily find rock-bottom prices on the items you want to buy. If you want to become a savvy shopper, subscribe to these websites to learn more about new deals and discounts picked by staff and members.

Final thoughts

Savvy shopping can save you money and time. Whether you need to buy groceries, shop for yourself, or find the best holiday gifts, conducting research and negotiating prices can improve your shopping experience. Putting these ideas into practice is relatively easy, and when you consider the money you can save, the advanced planning and effort usually pays off.

© 2013 Alliant Credit Union. All Rights Reserved.

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