They say knowledge is power, and when it comes to shopping, nothing beats an informed customer. When you’re educated, you make better choices. Part of being a smart consumer includes learning all you can before making a purchase. Sensible shopping includes reading online reviews, avoiding impulse buying, shopping around, and knowing how to spot a scam.
Read Online Reviews
Reading online reviews is one of the easiest and best things you can do before buying anything. Review websites like BBB.org or Google reviews offer a wealth of information from real customers. In fact, you can check photos and even video reviews as found on PissedConsumer.com that let you do the proper research of the product or service before you buy.
A survey conducted by Power Reviews revealed that a whopping 97 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Reviews are considered essential with 70 percent of those surveyed reading reviews before purchasing from an online business and 39 percent consulting them before buying from brick-and-mortar businesses.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Buy only what you need. Advertisers use all kinds of tricks to make you spend money on products you don’t need. From generating positive emotions such as excitement, pleasure, and trust, ads are meant to separate you from your money.
You should also avoid buying the latest version of anything. Whether it’s a car or a cell phone, you will pay top dollar for it. Waiting a year or two will save you money. In addition, waiting will also give you the advantage of learning what others think of the product.
Look for deals, compare prices, and put off buying until stores have sales. Black Friday is not the only time to save money. Many online businesses offer Cyber Monday deals as well. Many local businesses offer sales on holidays such as Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day.
According to U.S. News and World Reports, the best time to buy furniture is either February or August. If you’re buying a home, March, August, and September are the best months to shop around. September is the best month to buy a car, and wait to buy appliances until the end of the year. The best time to look for a new television or other electronics is on Black Friday.
While the internet has made shopping easier, it has also made scamming artists. Scam artists can contact you through an email or a phone call. According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers try to trick you into believing that they are with a legitimate company before claiming there is a problem with something you ordered or one of your accounts (bank or credit card). Some might even offer you a prize.
You are almost always dealing with a scam artist if they want personal information such as account numbers and/or your social security number. They generally ask for money through a money transfer or a gift card, and they pressure you to pay them immediately.
Watch out for scammy business practices, such as free trial scams. As evidenced from reviews on Pissed Consumer, users often alert online scam and fraud. The BBB informed that reports of these kinds of scams have increased over the past several years, and encourage customers to always read the fine print on any contract before signing up for any trial service.
Learning how to be a smart consumer is one of the best things you can do to save money (and possibly a hassle). The internet equips you with one of the most important weapons there is: online reviews. consumer reviews. It’s your chance to learn from the experiences of others.
In addition, don’t be in a hurry to buy anything. Advertisers take advantage of people wanting immediate gratification. Take time to shop around and find the best deal. Finally, don’t fall for any scams. Educate yourself about the kinds of scams there are.