How To Be a Smart Shopper
Everyday Savings and Assistance
- Best Local Gasoline Prices – Here's a great site to give you the best prices in your area. You just need to enter your zip code. Go to Gas Price Watch.
- Coupons – Need to grab that last minute coupon before you go shopping. Try the Penny Pincher Gazette.
- Coupon Codes – Enter special codes at the checkout page of participating merchants for instant discounts. Find online coupon codes.
- Cash Back and Discounts - Here is a great little free program that offers discounts and cash back offers at 1000's of online stores including eBay! It pays not only on your shopping, but also, on the shopping of people you refer. Check it out at Cash Back Shopping.
- Customer Service – Ever been frustrated trying to reach a human regarding a question or problem and instead become trapped in the maze of a computer answering system? Check out Get Human Help.
Save on Your Phone Bill:
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For More Expensive Purchases:
- Decide in advance exactly what you want and what you can afford. Don't buy on impulse or because a salesperson is pressuring you.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations based on their experience.
- Get advice and price quotes from several sellers. It always pays to shop around and compare quality and prices.
- Review product test results and other information from consumer experts.
- Check out a company's complaint record with your local consumer affairs office and the Better Business Bureau. Ask about the number of complaints filed, and how the company responded. Compare the number of complaints to the company's volume of business.
- Make sure that the company has all appropriate state and local licenses. Occupational and professional licensing boards cover doctors, lawyers, home improvement contractors, and other businesses.
- Read and understand any contract you are asked to sign. Make sure there are no blank spaces and that any verbal promises made by the salesperson are in the contract.
- Get a written copy of guarantees and warranties. Compare their features.
- Extended warranties or service contracts are very profitable for business. Decide whether the extra peace of mind is worth the price. To find out more, contact the Federal Trade Commission or your state or local consumer office.
- Get the seller's refund and return policies.
- Consider paying by credit card. If you later have a legitimate dispute with the seller, you do not have to pay a charge made on your credit card.