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For consumers, the opportunity to exert control over their money often seems tenuous. The banks control the interest rates for loans and credit cards. Retail stores and supermarkets control the prices of goods that are listed for sale. Insurance companies set the premiums from car insurance to life insurance. Nonetheless, it is possible for consumers to exert some semblance of control over their money simply by using a few steadfast rules for strategic buying.
Strategic Buying in 5 Simple Steps
Controlling your money and where it goes is easier if you use a few simple steps when spending it. These strategies are primarily important when shopping for large ticket items. Strategies such as: reading reviews on different models/brands/sizes of the item, researching for the best price, re-evaluating your decision to make the purchase, re-evaluating the method of payment that you intend to use, and the final purchase.
Read up on Reviews of the Product
First, you should do yourself a favor and take the time to read several reviews about the type of product that you are thinking about buying. Read up on the different features that the product offers and see what other consumers have to say about these features. Is there anything about the item that many people seem to complain about when reviewing it?
Don't rely solely on the manufacturer's website for your reviews since most of those reviews (if not all) are going to be positive ones that do not mention any problematic issues.
Research Local Stores and Online Businesses for the Best Price
If you want to save money on large purchases, do some of your shopping on the Internet. You should be able to narrow down the stores that you will actually visit to do your shopping. For example, if you are shopping for a new stove, you might want to visit at least two different appliance stores especially if you are interested in more than one brand or model of the stove. Since prices can vary, take advantage of the flexibility of using the internet to locate which stores are currently offering the best prices for the item that you want to purchase.
Re-evaluate Your Need for the Product
Before making any purchase, it is important to consider whether or not you actually need the item. Are you are simply replacing an existing item just because it is a few years old or are you replacing it because it is broken? If you determine that you need the item in question, then go ahead with the purchase. If you decide that you don't actually need it and can get along without it, you probably should re-evaluate your decision to buy it.
Re-evaluate Your Method of Payment for the Product
It is important to consider how you are going to pay for an expensive item since any interest charges on the purchase actually increase the cost for you. For most purchases that consumers make, they have three options:
If you can pay cash for the item, then you won't incur any additional cost at all. However, if you elect to use a credit card or a long-term installment plan, the cost of the item is actually going to be greater than the selling price once you add in all of the interest charges. If you must use credit to buy the item, you might want to re-evaluate your decision to buy it, holding off until you can pay cash in order to avoid the interest charges.
Making the Purchase
Once you have carefully followed each step of your strategic buying plan, you are ready to make your purchase. At this point, you need to carefully review the sales receipt to ensure that you have been charged the appropriate amount. Mistakes do occur, so look over the sales receipt for errors of any kind. If you discover any errors on the receipt, have them corrected before you leave the store. If you are paying for your purchase online, look at the order summary carefully before you finalize your online purchase. Controlling where your money is going involves careful