If you’re someone who happens to own a credit card (and let’s face it, that would be most of us), here are a couple of statistics that just might surprise you. Currently, within the United States, credit card debt is close to $850 billion. And when it comes to how much debt each individual has, the amount averages out to be somewhere around $3,800. That’s a lot of money.
So, in the effort to help you to not incur debt the next time you’re headed out to the store, we wanted to provide you with five smart shopping tips for money-wise consumers below:
Don’t make your credit card your immediate “go to”. If you do own a credit card (or a few of them), try and use them only for large purchases or to book hotel and flight reservations. Otherwise, use cash. Credit cards are loans and they come with interest. If you can avoid using them, we recommend that you do.
Have a shopping list. It’s pretty common for a lot of us to go to the grocery store with a shopping list. The reason why we do it is so that we buy just what we need other than simply everything that we might want. This is why we should do have a list at retail stores too. That way, if you go shopping for a new pair of shoes, you don’t go over budget by walking out with a coat and some new jeans too.
Wait for sales. All of us have gone to a store and seen something that we wanted to walk out with that exact same day; however, after looking at the price tag, our budget didn’t always agree with our desire. That doesn’t mean that someday you won’t be able to get it without spending more than you can afford, though. Our suggestion? Sign up to be on the store’s mailing list. That way, you will get a flyer in the mail or an email alerting you to the next time that it’s on sale.
Be cautious with online purchases. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with e-commerce, there are some things that you should do to protect yourself when it comes to online purchases, especially if you see something with a price that seems “too good to be true”. First go to their website and Facebook fan page to see if there are any complaints posted about them. Then visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to inquire about the kind of rating that they have. And even then, if things seem to check out OK, still ask the company what their return policy is and make sure to hold on to your receipt. Just in case you need to send the item back. Getting something of poor quality is definitely a waste of money.
Use coupons. One of the easiest ways to save money on your purchases is to use coupons and promo codes. Although it takes a couple of hours per week to find the ones that you can actually use, it’s a wise investment of time. Coupons.com, RetailMeNot.com and CouponLoco.com are all websites that offer lots of coupons to choose from and their sites are updated regularly. In fact, http://www.couponloco.com is a favorite among many coupon clippers. Happy shopping!