Mothers are vessels of practical advice and wise words. Not only have they helped us tackle dilemmas and encouraged our dreams, but they influenced our smart money management and shopping skills. Though the budgeting basics introduced by our mothers has helped us save in the past, not everything they taught us applies today when it comes to bagging the best bargain.
Here are five shopping tips to ignore.
1. “Try It Before You Buy It”
The days of purchasing with absolute certainty are over, thanks to the rise of e-Retailers who offer free shipping both ways. This convenient service lets you order multiple styles and sizes and return what you don’t want for free. Consult this list from FreeShipping.org to find out which online stores offer free return shipping.
2. “The Sunday Circular Has the Best Coupons”
You no longer have to spend Sundays clipping coupons. From printable coupons, e-newsletters and exclusive Twitter and Facebook deals, you can access coupons directly from your computer whether for the supermarket, department store or nail salon. Smartphones have made finding coupons on the go a quick and easy feat too. Download the CouponSherpa mobile app for in-store savings or “check-in” on Foursquare for instant discounts. Some retailers are doing away with coupons altogether: JCPenney is eliminating coupons as part of a new pricing strategy, something that Walmart has been doing for years.
3. “Credit Cards Get You in Trouble”
While this advice isn’t wholly untrue, paying for your purchases with plastic doesn’t always equal pandemonium. Used wisely, credit cards can reap practical rewards including discounts on travel as well as cash back. According to Colloquy, credit card companies distribute $48 billion worth of reward points annually. Find one that suits your needs and commit to paying off your balance each month to avoid interest rates and high debt-to-credit ratio.
4. “Hold on to All Your Paper Receipts”
Though retaining receipts for price adjustments and returns is important, you don’t have to carry around a sack full of them everywhere you go. Nowadays, stores will e-mail receipts for easy access on your phone, or you can turn them into PDF files using TurboScan. Even if you loose the receipt, you don’t have to freak: retailers like Target can access purchase details by swiping the credit card used for the purchase.
5. “Impulse Buys are Bad”
We all know to avoid candy bars at the checkout line and to curb our desire for retail therapy on a glum day, but not all impulse buys are created equal as some last-minute purchase decisions can be quite good for our financial health. For example, in the midst of researching deals for a story, I found a much-needed pair of black peep-toe pumps marked down from $70 to $35 online. Since I’ve needed to replace an old pair due to floppy soles, I made the impulse buy. Two (free shipping) days later and those practical beauties were mine for nearly 60-percent off.