Let's face it - we all are victim to bad shopping habits. 

We all fall for the department store sales, the value-sized products, and the marketing schemes of big companies. 

Well, I say we come together and stop shopping blind and start shopping smart!

Being a smart consumer can help you save tons of money and it's not that hard to do.  My rule of thumb is to remember that companies are not focused on saving you money; instead, they want you to spend your money so they can make the big bucks. 

So, here are a few shopping tips I picked up while working in the retail industry for six years: 

  • Avoid Marketing Schemes: One of the worst things to do as a consumer is to believe the commercials from companies promoting their new products. For example, when you go to the store to buy your makeup, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc., read the ingredients. You'll notice that the new products are really no different fromthose you have been using. Of course, the commercials make you think that this product is the best thing for you, but in reality it won't do more than the old product - the only real difference is the price.
  • Watch for Sales: I've learned that a lot of stores hike up their prices the day before a big sale. So, when you think you're getting a good deal, be careful and do your research. Compare the sale price to the price of other stores and you'll know if it's a true sale price. Also, remember that the only items that ever really get marked down are those that are out-dated or no longer a popular item.
  • Re-think Economy Size: Try this the next time you're at the grocery store. When you can't decide whether to buy a name brand or a large-sized value brand, do some math. The per-ounce price is how you should decide which the better buy is. Divide the price of the smaller container, $5.75, by its volume, 12 ounces. The result: 47¢ per ounce. Then divide the price of the larger container, $15.80, by its volume (there are 32 ounces in a quart), to get 49¢ per ounce. You'll notice immediately which the better buy is.

These are only a few tips that I have discovered or been told over the years, but they seem to work well.  If you're in the business of saving money, then these tips are for you.

Do you have any savvy shopping saving tips?  Please, share with us all of your great ideas so that we can all start saving money and not fall for retailer tricks.

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Mary Stolarik

Mary is a contributing writer for the Just Graduated & Starting Out blog. She is a recent college graduate, with an English Writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh - Greensburg, and she's in debt. Mary shares her experiences with job searching, managing her finances on a part-time job, and ways to save money along the way. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

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