3 Unconventional Shopping Tips

Sales and coupons don’t always save you money.

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There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a good deal. But sales and coupons may sometimes cause you to spend more than you otherwise would. Here are three unconventional shopping tips that could save you money.

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1. Sales can lead to more spending. The reason that stores hold sales is because it helps them generate revenue. They understand that if they can coax you into their stores, you’ll spend more money. There are a few people who only buy stuff they need. If you’re one of them, go ahead and take advantage of the sales. But most people don’t just buy the items that are on sale. They go to the store for what they need and then, while they are there, they pick up a bunch of other things at full price. This is why sales are expensive. Don’t go to sales unless you need what’s on sale and you only buy the item you need.

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2. Coupons can cost you more. Coupons and discounts are another form of a sale. They get you into the store with the hope that you will spend more on other things. If you use a coupon for a restaurant because it’s giving you half off the price of a second meal, you may feel tempted to splurge on desserts or drinks. And, even with the discount, you’ll still spend more than eating at home. A restaurant discount may help you spend $20 rather than $30. But if you stay at home and cook, you could spend less than $10 and have a healthier meal.

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3. Choose shopping companions carefully. You need to think twice before inviting a partner to waltz down the shopping isles with you. I don’t take people with expensive tastes with me when I go shopping. I either go shopping alone or go with someone who is more frugal than myself. If you do have friends who like to spend cash more freely than you do, invite them over for tea after you go shopping. You’ll save a fortune and you’ll get to show off your new purchases in a safe environment.

Not all discounts lead to excess spending. If you find online deals for airline flights or auto insurance, you should take advantage of them. Just make sure you aren’t adding extra items to your online shopping cart, just to get the free shipping.

Neal Frankle is a certified financial planner and runs Wealth Pilgrim, a personal finance blog that helps people make smart decisions about their money. As a start, he suggests that you strive to understand your credit score range.