Posted on Jun 26, 2024

Are you getting the best deal?

Are you getting the best deal?

Price Comparison Shopping

There are always ways parents can be involved in helping their kids learn about finances, and I've had some instances over the last few months where my parents have stepped in to keep me or my siblings from making a quick purchase to stop and think about it and do some research before buying.

One instance is when my dad took us fly fishing for the first time back in March. I loved it! And I came home and right away started filling up my cart with brand new fly fishing gear. I wanted to go fly fishing again.

My mom, however, was like, "Why are you buying new gear? Save your money and search trading sites and yard sales for used gear. You'll be able to spend half the money. You don't need to buy new, especially at your age."

I knew then I needed to think more about comparing prices and options before I spent my hard-earned money. So, let's talk about how to get the most bang for your buck!

Skills of Price Comparison

First, you need to learn the skills of price comparison. This means taking the time to research and compare prices of similar products from different retailers. We can easily do this at home online. Many websites offer price comparison tools that allow you to easily compare prices from different retailers.

We use a Chrome extension called "PayPal Honey" that, while we shop around online, it will bring a pop-up telling us the price comparison difference of this same item across different stores. Then when we go to check out, it will try out various coupon codes to see if any will work with our purchase. Another option is Simplycodes. It's an app and an extension online that pulls up coupon codes and deals.

A Word from Mom

Cash Kid: Now, I'm going to bring my Mom into this conversation to share a few of her thoughts on price comparison. What are some skills you were taught or learned around price comparison?

Mom: Well, I come from a long line of very frugal women in my life. Until probably my 30s, I had what I termed "Full Price Phobia," which meant I would literally go without something I needed just because I wasn't willing to pay full price. I've grown out of that over the last ten years and we'll talk more about that later.

I can remember though, my Mom taking me grocery shopping and it felt like it took forever as we took our time searching through coupons my Mom had clipped to only get those items that were on sale and we had to have a coupon. My grandmother was one of those people who was savvy enough to use coupons and watch sales to go to check out and the store would owe her money. I remember seeing the receipts, it was pretty impressive.

Using coupons grocery shopping like that isn't as big of a thing anymore, so it's been a shift to buying store brand items to save or buying things when it's buy one get one free and stocking up. 

Buying in bulk at places like Costco and Sam's Club is a way to save with a lot of household items. 

Cash Kid: You sometimes talk about whether it's worth the time to save money. What do you mean by that?

Mom: Well, before the internet, if you wanted to price compare, you had to drive around from store to store, which took up a lot of time. But today, we can easily do a lot of price comparison shopping online, especially for large items.

But sometimes, there's what's called a matter of convenience and factoring in your time. A small example is it's summertime and we love watermelon in our house. I mean, we've even educated ourselves on how to pick out the best watermelons at the store to make sure it's really ripe and going to be sweet.

Last week, we made a last-minute decision that we wanted to get one to take to my parents' house to have with dinner. To get one was $10 at our local farmer's market. Now, I knew watermelons at Costco were only $6.99. I had been in the store a few days earlier and saw the price but didn't grab one at the time. But now, it pulled on my frugal instincts -- uh huh, three dollars.

But, in no way would it have been worth our time to spend the extra 25 minutes it would have taken to run to Costco to save three bucks rather than just get the perfectly good one at a store on the road to where we were going. That happens sometimes where I've got a long list of items I need from one store but maybe only a couple of items from that store I know are cheaper at another store but depending on the price (and dragging three kids to another store), it's better to just get all from one place.

Cash Kid: Is the quality of an item ever a factor in price comparison shopping?

Mom: Oh yes. And this is something where I know kids don't like to ask for their parents' input sometimes on things they want to purchase, but you need to get their advice, especially on a large item. This also comes honestly with experience. It's important to learn how to be a smart and conscious buyer. Do your research first. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I stated earlier how I used to say I have full price phobia. I would buy the cheaper quality item. But over time, I realized if I would focus on buying more quality items, especially staple items like good shoes for instance. Sometimes a lower price may seem appealing, but if the quality is poor, you'll end up spending more in the long run. So always make sure to check reviews and do your research before making a purchase.

Now, that doesn't mean I still don't try to shop for a deal on quality items. That's where your tips come in from earlier of shopping around online, using coupon sites. When there's a holiday, it's usually a good time to get a deal on an item that's usually not on sale.

Conclusion

So let’s recap some tips here:

  1. Don’t settle for the first price you see.
  2. Dont’ rush into a purchase. Do you research and pull up various store sites to compare prices. 
  3. Search for coupon codes and deals. Check out places like simplycodes.com or the PayPal Honey app.
  4. Consider buying used. Check Facebook local trading sites or Ebay.
  5. Sometimes buying in bulk is a better deal for families.
  6. Consider your time in spending extra time to get the best deal.
  7. And try to buy good quality items.

What tips do you have for price comparison shopping? We’ve love for you to share that with us by emailing cashkidpodcast@gmail.com

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