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5 secrets to seeing through sneaky sales schemes to become a savvy shopper

Wouldn’t it be great to be a savvy consumer who always gets the best deals? It only takes a little preparation to shop with purpose and walk out of the store with what you want every time.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a savvy consumer who always gets the best deals? It only takes a little preparation to shop with purpose and walk out of the store with what you want every time.

We all want to get good value for your our money, whether buying a car, hiring a contractor, or purchasing a new vacuum or dehumidifier. Whenever you enter a store or office that is selling a product or service, you immediately become a selling target. Actually, in the age of the internet, we are all constantly sales targets with ads, commercials, email marketing, and direct mail. Everyone on the internet seems to have an agenda; even things that are “free” seem to have ulterior goals. Wouldn’t it be nice if when you went to the store, people always told you the truth? Or we already knew the value of the product? With groceries and style, this may not be as hard for you, but with big ticket items and appliances, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of specs and jargon. Here are our top 5 tips for becoming that savvy shopper who walks in knowing what they want:

1. Read reviews religiously. While not 100% accurate, look for repeated consistencies between what people are saying. There will always be naysayers and owners that try to bump up their own product, but repeated feedback is more likely to have authenticity behind it. If you’re trying to decide what vacuum to get and see 5 reviews that all say one of the parts doesn’t work or that it’s noisy, there just might be something to that. And since reviewers are users and consumers, they don’t have the same agenda sales and marketing does, which can work to your benefit.

2. Prioritize what features you want. And only spend money on them! Don’t let people sucker you into purchasing bells and whistles you know you’ll never need or use. If it’s not the right size or functionality for you, no one should be pushing it on you. The more features you want, the more you should be willing to spend. If your expectations are low, the price should be, as well. Put some thought into why you are purchasing before you go in – knowing what you want is half the battle.

3. Do a little research. Or go with someone who knows the industry already – they won’t get played a fool. If you have a friend who seems to always be getting the best deals when they go out, go on a shopping trip with them. By learning what features are out there, you’ll know a crappy product or a good deal when you see it. And when people start throwing out numbers, you’ll already have a range in mind. If you take a little time to learn about an item before you buy, you will know what others are offering and won’t be tricked by their inflated specs. If you’ve seen the other fish in the sea, it’s easy to put one fish into perspective.

4. Don’t be a pushover. Have the attitude of a constant skeptic that has no idea why you should purchase an item. Don’t buy things because the salesperson is nice or the website is pretty. Don’t let your budget, tastes and desires be pushed aside by a pushy person. You’re the one spending the money, so push back. Depending on the product, if they have close to the deal you want but not quite, you can even try to bargain with the manager. So they had that appliance 25% off Black Friday and now it’s higher than the original selling price? Ask them if you could possibly buy it at the sale price. Tell them about a competitor’s offer. The worst they can say is no.

5. Gauge customer service. Do these people seem willing to help you out or replace parts if something goes wrong? If the service is horrible, don’t expect timely or correct repairs 8 months later, and beware that a pushy or manipulative salesman can you steer you off course. Are they pushing one product on you, not listening to what you really want? Do they seem to be trying to inform you so you can make the decision that is right for you? You don’t want to be a pushover and ideally aim to walk out with the product you want for the money you wanted to spend, but it’s good to recognize helpful service and have someone friendly and helpful to go back to if something goes wrong.