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The art of comparing prices

If you are trying to economize and live frugally, one of the first steps you are likely to take is comparing prices. Being an aware consumer is certainly a big plus when it comes to saving money, but there is more to comparing prices than meets the eye. Sometimes a high ticket item is actually a better deal than one that costs less, for instance. Here is an analysis of the art of comparing prices for various types of purchases.

At the Grocery Store
Checking price stickers is a great move. Go even further and look for the per-unit price, which is may be posted on the shelf nearby. (There are also apps for your phone that can do the math for you.) You may find that that jumbo “bargain pack” of anything from chocolates to oatmeal works out to a higher price per ounce than the smaller package.

At the meat counter, compare prices by the pound, but look at other factors as well. A pot roast that is mostly bone may offer fewer servings for your food budget dollar than a higher priced boneless one. An inexpensive whole chicken is not the best choice if your family will only eat white meat.

In any Store
Before you head out to the shops, write down what you are looking for. Try to get a ballpark idea of about how much to pay. If the prices at one store seem way out of line, check to see whether you can get a better deal down the street. If you choose, you can also allow yourself a “fun money” budget to be spent on small items that do not require rigorous price comparison.

Keep a lookout for in store offers and specials. You already know approximate prices for your shopping list, so you will be equipped to decide whether these promotions are as good as they promise.
Don’t buy based on price alone. Better quality and an extended warranty may justify a higher initial investment.

Online
Shopping online, whether on your desktop or smart phone, has taken much of the footwork out of comparing prices. There are many sites dedicated to price comparison which find the cheapest location for the item of your choice. You never have to step into a brick and mortar store, because you can simply proceed to order your purchase from the most reasonable dealer by Internet.

There are still a couple of areas, though, where it pays to do some digging. First of all, check to make sure that the electrical appliance or whatever you plan to buy is the best option for you. Check out online reports by professionals and fellow consumers to see how they rate that model and similar ones.

Next, check out the merchants you plan to buy from. Are they known to deliver on time, with have a reasonable return policy? Do they have a reputation for good customer service?

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Grace Chen
Grace Chen - Writer & Editor
A graduate of the Haas School of Business, University of California, which is one of the top three (3) business schools in the U.S., Grace Chen has 10 years of experience in this field and have been delivering stellar business content through her written word. She’s the chief editor of Communicate Better and has written and edited thousands of content published in various online and printed media, including the NYSE-sponsored research studies and MEC Global. Connect with Grace on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-chen-9254ab8/

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