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Don't Get Ripped Off - Compare Prices

Sep 16, 2008
Wanting to compare prices before buying is a tell-tale sign of a savvy consumer. In today's global market, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of selections from which to choose for any given product, good, or service. In some ways, this copious amount of selection is an advantage to the consumer. It means that you stand a greater chance of finding just the right product for just the right price.

But on the other hand, such expansive selection can make even the smallest purchase that much more complicated. The willingness to compare prices before purchasing is one way to make sure the competitive marketplace works in your favor. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Compare prices before you buy, not after. This requires some planning ahead whenever possible. If you know that you will be in the market for a purchase, try to do your research ahead of time. For example, if you know you will be making a long trip in six months, compare airplane prices as far ahead of time as possible. If you compare prices beforehand, you won't be forced to wait until crunch time to try to make the best purchase, or worst of all, learn of a better deal after you have already bought.

Start broad, then narrow your search. To compare prices, before you do anything else, take a wide look at the market. It may be tempting to start with a few familiar brands or companies, but this can get you in a limited mindset which may cause you to miss out on perfectly competitive options. Instead, start first by looking across the whole sector. This applies to everything from airplane tickets to supermarket prices.

Then, decide what factors are most important in your selection. Certainly, financial considerations are a factor, or you would not have elected to compare prices before purchasing. There are, however, other factors to consider. These vary depending on what you are buying. For airplane tickets, you may also care about how many flight transfers there are; while for supermarket prices, you are more likely to consider the quality of the food.

When you have identified the factors that are most important to you, narrow your search to three or four major suppliers based on those general guidelines. Then you can look at those four more carefully, without having wasted your time on comparing products that did not meet your needs.

Look for sales and other specials. When you compare prices, before taking the first price you see from a specific vendor, explore your top few choices a bit more thoroughly. See if a specific vendor has special sales. Some sales are seasonal, while other sales require a membership. Sometimes, this membership may not be worth your investment. But other times, the membership is offset by the savings you make on your purchase; the only other prices is an occasional promotional email. Ultimately, the choice to join or not is up to you.

When it comes down to it, choosing to compare prices before you make a major or minor purchase means that you are well on your way to getting a great deal. With a little bit of patience and some good insight, you can save a good deal of money, while still getting high quality purchases, by making an effort to compare prices before hand.
About the Author
As a discerning shopper, Zach Thompson loves price comparison shopping sites. DVD Compare rices in the UK and Ireland from different merchants.
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