Planning before you purchase can save you money.

Shopping made easy with simple money saving tips.

Planning for purchases can be a very effective way to get the most for your money. However, with money management tips from Michigan State University Extension, you will know where to start. Once you decide on the product or service that you want and the amount that you can afford, then consider the following shopping tips:

Do your research:

  • Talk with family friends regarding their experiences with similar products.
  • Find information on the merchant, item or service that you are interested in purchasing.
  • Review product test results and feedback from consumer experts.
  • Make sure that the seller or provider has all appropriate licenses. Certain providers must register with state or local licensing agencies.
  • To review company complaints visit the Better Business Bureau or your local consumer affairs office.

Compare products and services:

  • Be sure to shop around and compare manufacturers and model numbers.
  • Consider time and travel costs when making comparisons.
  • Read sales ads carefully: are there limited quantities, do you have to buy something else in order to get the deal, is it a “free” gift with purchase and is the sale item discontinued?
  • Ask if they price match and what the policy includes.
  • Compare prices online.
  • Compare product guarantees and warranties.

Making the purchase:

  • Don’t buy on impulse or under any pressure, this includes making donations.
  • Request refund, return and cancellation policy information. Sometimes sale or clearance items have different return policies than regularly priced items.
  • Make sure the item rings up correctly when you check out.
  • Request a copy of the product warranty.
  • Ask about sales adjustments: if the item goes on sale after you purchase it, can you bring in your receipt to obtain the difference? If this is offered, what is the time frame?
  • Find out who to contact if there is a problem with the item purchased.
  • Be sure to read and understand any contract or legal document that you are asked to sign, do not sign a blank document and insist that anything promised to you verbally is put into writing (i.e. signed and dated).
  • A benefit to purchasing with a credit card is that purchases can be disputed if there is a problem.

By taking a little extra time to thoroughly research, compare options, and make well informed purchases of products and services you will have a much better chance of saving money and enjoying what you have chosen.

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