The press, experts, friends, bloggers and everybody else continuously advise consumers to shop around before buying anything. Shopping may be fun for the items you wear or play with but not for every item. However, we don’t always think logically and money may not be the only reason we shop around. There is a thrill of seeing different items and learning about them. This sometimes requires certain interest in the subject matter.
For example, it may be fun to shop for a new car but not insurance for it. You may like to go various auto dealers, test drive several brands and models and discuss their specifications with the car salesman. On the other hand, you may not like the idea of shopping for auto insurance even though recent survey suggests that it is the one item that is easy to shop around and have the potential to offer you the largest savings.
Time Is Money
Saving money is great but it may cost you time which has alternative costs. It may appear that it is hard to put a value on your time but as far as your savings concerned you can probably find a way. Remember, money saved is money earned. Looking at how much you can save and how much time it would cost may be a good way of measuring the time value. Please check the survey if you are interested in the numbers.
It is fair to say that you will not come out as a winner each time you shop around or enjoy the process. However, most people have limited amount of money with which they want to buy a lot of things, save some of it for the future and invest as well. Therefore, comparison shopping should be utilized often to make your money go further.
According to the survey, forty percent of participants are concerned about the time it would take to look at their options properly and choose the right product. So, here are when it would be a good use of your time to compare products and services.
Recurring Expenses like Car Insurance instead of One Time Spending
You may be more excited about shopping for shoes or clothes. Nonetheless, you would be using your time more efficiently if you were shopping for items that have a large place in your household budget and recurring. One time effort on finding the best mortgage, loan, home and automobile insurance will keep saving you money month after month.
Easy to Compare Items
You cannot really compare prices on restaurant food, tuxedo rental or antique furniture. You need to taste, try and like them each time. However, exact same laptop is sold by several vendors (probably in the same mall) at different prices. It would be silly not to go around the other vendors and check their prices when you can save a quick $50.
Availability of Online Comparison
The survey participants mentioned this in two different ways. First of all, they are more likely to shop around for an item they can find online quickly. They are not keen to go around store to store to find the best price. And secondly, they like to be able to compare them on one website rather searching several of them. This suggest that websites like CheapAutoInsurance.net is highly valuable in the comparison process.
You can appreciate the time concerns in both preferences. People are happy to search online for the best prices of even the smallest items. They may only save few dollars but time commitment does not concern them as they get used to finding things on the internet quickly and easily. It is even better if they know a good comparison website. Many people have their favorite hotel, airline ticket and holiday comparison websites already.
Large Ticket Items
When you are looking to replace one of the large appliances in your home you automatically feel the need to shop around. You think that savings would be large because of the large spending and you are probably right. Also, you are curious as to what is available in the market right now. You are likely to end up spending a lot of time online and seeing them in stores. But it is not always about the money. You are probably thinking years of enjoyment or regret you will have with your choice.
You don’t want to put a hideous thing in the middle of your kitchen after all and there are other aspects to consider. Quite often, shopping is not just about checking prices. It is the process of learning and gathering information about the products and services. It is the same for automobile insurance as well. You don’t just want to find the lowest premium but also find the best coverage and insurer.
Opportunity to Repeat the Savings
Sometimes, we comparison-shop to compare the shops. Many people don’t have the time to go to various stores to buy meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and other grocery items. We have large stores that can provide everything we need in one place. Still, we need to find out which one is cheaper and nearer to us. Once we locate the most convenient and cheapest grocery store we can benefit from our research week after week and save time & money.
Some people love the challenge of finding the best prices, bargaining where possible and happy to spend more time for it. Others may be shy, too proud or lazy to shop around or simply don’t have the time. How much time you are willing to spend will depend on your personal preferences as much as how much you make per hour.
If you are a hot shot lawyer who can charge $1,000 an hour it is understandable that it would be waste of your time shopping for discounts. Most of us who are not as lucky with money will do well by keep looking for deals all the time. In time, you may even start enjoying it when you see how much better off you are at the end.