We are off to an interesting start, because I have begun looking for furniture and other types of items for university. Things that I will need in my new home. God, that’s weird to think about.
Anyway, I have found this task to be a little more challenging than I thought, so I put together a small list of what you need to do before buying something.
Look for used stuff online first
If you need a piece of furniture it’s best to buy a used one. Places like eBay and Amazon are great for doing so. You will spare a lot of money this way and the quality will likely not be all that worse. There is a good chance that you will still get something in great shape for a lower price.
Although, don’t do this with every little thing. Right about now I’m thinking of pillows, because I don’t think you should ever buy a used one, unless it’s from a person that you are close with and you have seen the state of their house. I’m sure you don’t want surprise head lice.
Electronics should also be bought new. That way you can have the safety net of the money-back guarantee and you will be sure that the item works. I know that it’s much cheaper if you buy a used phone, for example, but you can never really be sure about how beaten up it is until you use it for a couple of days.
Compare the prices of stores online
Most stores already have a webshop set up, so you can just look them up to find out which place has the best price. And you will also be able to see unannounced sales this way.
I like to do this every time I go grocery shopping. I check sales, prices and possible coupons so I can get the most out of my money. And since I walk to every store, gas isn’t a problem for me. I can take a walk through the city to do my shopping if it means saving a little money.
Frugal? Hell yes. But does it help me save money? Also hell yes.
Check the prices on the shelves
Seems obvious, right? Well, not as much as you think.
There are times when companies use a small little trick that gives you less product for the same price. Gatorade is becoming slightly infamous for this, because they make fancy seeming bottles that don’t have as much fluid in them. Short term it doesn’t seem that bad, but those mls add up over time.
Just the other day I went to a DM store (German drugstore that sells high quality products for a fair price and has their own brands) to get myself a new bottle of shampoo. And guess what? There were two bottles. I just grabbed the first one and wanted to check out at the cashier because I couldn’t see a difference. But something made me turn back.
One of these bottles was shorter, but wider. The other one was taller, but slimmer. Same price. I tried to find the difference, thinking it may be an ingredient or something. Nope. One just had 50 ml extra shampoo in it.
Take several things into account. Quality, quantity, price and reviews. These are the most important things you need to watch out for.
With small items like shampoo, for example, most stores state how much it costs by liter. At least they do so in Hungary. That way we can easily compare how expensive something really is.
These are just the first and simplest steps you can take to spend less money. If you liked this short list then tell me in the comments below and I will be sure to give you even more tips on finances.