Shopping tricks and traps cost you money — Here’s how to avoid them
You did your shopping homework. You have your coupons. You have your sales flyers. You have your lists. You’re all set…right? If you’ve done all these things, you’re ahead of the game, but if you don’t know these common tricks and traps, your shopping trip could be a costly disaster.
Shopping Trap #1 — Return policies
One of the most common ways to lose money in the shopping game is with limited return policies. Different stores have different policies so check the policy on returns before you buy.
Shopping online? Even though the store may be a major, local retailer, their policy may be that you must ship it back and pay the shipping costs yourself. Some stores are so picky, they require you have the receipt, original packaging and the retailer’s enclosed mailing label.
Shopping Trap #2 — Restocking rees
Many items, especially electronics are subject to restocking fees ranging anywhere from 15% to 25% unless they are returned in a factory-sealed box. Special orders and refurbished items are especially susceptible to these costly restocking fees so beware when shopping outlet shopping malls for bargains.
Shopping Trap #3 — Warranties
When you buy products that have extended warranty plans, be on your guard. These warranties are notoriously bad deals and the retailers get as much as 50% of the price so they push hard to sell them to you. Products very seldom break during the warranty period so you usually pay for something you never needed.
Shopping Trap #4 — Gift cards
When buying gift cards, watch for hidden fees. Many cards come with purchasing fees, processing fees, transactions fees, and inactivity fees. If that’s not enough, gift cards now have expiration dates. So, if you or someone you buy a gift card for doesn’t use it during a certain period of time, it could be completely worthless.
Shopping Trap #5 — Loss leaders
It’s true. On certain days like Black Friday, you can find some great deals. Problem is, once you’re in the store, you often get sidetracked and buy many items that are full if not more than full-price. This is exactly what the retailer is counting on during Christmas shopping and why your shopping list is so important. Make your list and stick to your shopping game plan.
Learn these commonly used shopping traps and add them to your pre-shopping strategy. By doing this, you’ll save a bundle when shopping and won’t lose money.