Spring into action with Financial Literacy Month
Spring has finally sprung. And whether you’re shopping for a new lawn mower, a bike, or a gift for a new graduate, a little research can save you a lot of money. Even when you know what you want, it can be overwhelming to choose among dozens of products, brands, retailers and websites.
April is financial literacy month. To help you make smart buying decisions and save more of what you earn, here are a few tips from the FTC.
Step one: Think before you shop.
- Do you want the top-of-the-line product, or a particular brand?
- Are there “must-have” features?
- What’s your budget?
If you decide what’s important to you up-front, you’re less likely to make an impulse buy and avoid buyer’s remorse.
Step two: compare products online.
- Do a quick search and read reviews. Found a good deal, but aren’t familiar with the product or the company selling it? Dig deeper. Search online for the company or product name, along with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”
- Use comparison shopping sites. These sites help you find different retailers that sell the same product. Compare not just the sales price, but also shipping, handling, and taxes. Some sites also may compare prices offered at stores in your area.
- Look for price-matching policies. Some merchants will match, or even beat, a competitor’s prices.
- Check the refund and return policies. Can you return an item you bought online to the company’s store at the mall? What about sale items? Merchants often have different refund and return policies for sale items, especially clearance merchandise.
Want to learn how to save more green this spring and all year long? Check out our articles on shopping and saving.