Shopping is a complicated business. There are so many things to consider. Right from answering the 5 Ws (and how, of course) to over analyzing your pick once you’ve bought it, it is messy. And, it gets messier with the start of the festive season or the onset of the end-of-season sale, as panic starts to grip the buyers. There’s loads to buy in a short span of time. Add cash crunch to it, where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead asking the store manager for more discounts and it’s a recipe for total disaster. Moreover, you have your rivals who eye the same products as you do. So, what are the ways in which you can shop in a smart manner, that is, be able to get things mentioned in your wish list without burning a hole in your pocket. Keep the following points in mind and you won’t have a headache.
- Start with a plan: The best way to start shopping is by planning. Chart out what you need and in what quantity. No, that cute polka dot dress that your ‘friend’ owns or those cool shades that can turn you into a dude are NOT counted as necessities. Do not get trapped in this vicious circle of materialistic gains (well, you can splurge a little. Maybe?!). Be focused. Make a list of what you NEED. This brings us to our second point.
- Stick to the list: A colorful display of clothes, accessories and home decor items can entice anybody. As soon as you enter the stores, the wide range of products can tantalize your senses which would ultimately result in hoarding your baskets with things which you may not require. Therefore, stick to the shopping list you’ve made and do not walk astray in a store (that is, as long as you aren’t getting anything good in a combo offer).
- Online shopping: Even though “real shopping” has its own charm, for those who prefer comfort and have less time to devote to the task of shopping, online shopping is the perfect gateway. You can sit in a comfortable place of your choice and scroll your way through different websites to add your selections to the ‘cart’ which will be delivered to your place as per your convenience. (Psst! Be careful. Remember point 2.)
- Always compare the rates: For an ideal and smart shopping experience, , always compare the rates. You’ll find that the item that you’ve selected has varieties that are offered by different brands at different prices. In fact, most of the times the same product is available at different prices (If you are good at negotiating, then it’s always a plus). In case of online shopping, this comparison is a matter of some clicks and bingo! you have the rates in front of you. If you are opting to go out, you can always ask the price and judge yourself.
- Street over malls: While branded clothes displayed in malls have an edge in terms of quality and style (and brand name, of course!), they cannot compete with the vibrancy, variety and affordability tags that street items offer. If you are a researcher, you would want to try scrolling through the streets. Who knows, you may bump into a fake (for the lack of a better word) version of a dress that you’d wanted to get your hands on but had to let it go because of the price tag.
- Shop during festive seasons: Festive season is the time when you are bombarded with the best deals and offers in the town. Be it a ‘flat 50% sale’ or ‘buy 2 for the price of 1’ deal, you have ample opportunities to hoard the best in the stock. In order to finish the pile, the shopkeepers wouldn’t mind your irritating queries or tantrums. Beware! These deals may have hidden horror stories in store for you – a hole here or there, rejected pieces or even pairing different items in combos in order to sell them. Hence, check, re-check and scrutinize the whole product diligently and keenly before putting it into your cart.
- Avail all shopping discounts and coupons: The end of the year is the best time to shop.”Why?” you ask. Well, it’s the festive season which means apart from getting lots of gifts, a few kind souls may offer you shopping vouchers and coupons. Value and realize their importance; after all they give you a chance to shop without even shelling a single penny. Do not hesitate and gladly collect them whenever someone offers you the same. Before stepping out of your home for shopping, don’t forget to look into your drawers, check the insides of your books and ransack every corner of the house (if you have to) to search for such coupons, discounts and gift vouchers to enjoy shopping.
- Avoid sales people at any cost: Aren’t sales people there to help us? Well, yes. But they are ‘sales’ people for a reason – they are supposed to sell things to you, even if you don’t want them. In other words, they make sure that they create a need of things that you really don’t need. Have you gone to a restaurant and found people of the place enticing you with all the freebies that you can get in the name of ‘combos’ or at stores where you are declared to be the ‘best judge’ for a (clearly) weird dress that you pick? Then you’ve encountered these salespeople. Beware! Never let them ‘help’ you when you’ve already decided what’s best for you.
- Control your senses: Believe it or not, you prove to be a hindrance in being a smart shopper. Did I hear that right? Yes. It’s your senses that deceive you. Have you tried a dish because it looks ‘appealing’ or ‘smells great’? Or bought a bag because it ‘felt nice’? There you go! Researches conducted to study habits and natures of shoppers have shown that senses play an important role while shopping. If you touch an item you are more likely to end up buying it as you tend to feel that you own it already. Therefore, don’t touch or smell or eat just to ‘give it a shot’.