Guide to smarter shopping

Guide to smarter shopping

Bargain spotting, keeping bored kids happy and eight more great tips for making a trip to the shops fun again!


1. Plan ahead!
Before you go, make a shopping list and think about which stores you’re going to visit so you don’t waste time and energy walking back and forth across town.

2. Dress up
OK, we don’t mean a fancy a ball gown (SO not practical), but a few little details before you set off will make you feel great when you’re shopping for new clothes. Get your hair looking fantastic, splash on some scent and wear your favourite lipstick – you’ll be much more likely to love what you see in those unforgiving fitting room mirrors.

3. Shop smart with kids in tow
Set yourself a limit if you have to take young kids with you. Promise them you’ll only visit a set number of shops – five is probably about as many as their attention span can cope with – before giving them a treat or heading to the park so they can let off steam. Make sure you’ve got a couple of books or easy games to keep them occupied while they’re waiting in queues, too.

4. Escape the changing room
Save time by buying things without trying them on in the store. Instead decide what you want to keep in the comfort of your own bedroom. This way you can also see how new pieces work with clothes you already own. Before you buy, check what a store’s returns policy is and make sure you can get a full no-quibble refund for returns within 28 days.

5. Try shoes on more than once
If you’re shoe shopping, aim to try a pair of shoes on twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Feet swell up through the day and you want new shoes to accommodate this. If you don’t have time to hang around in town, take them home and try the shoes in the morning and the evening around the house, so that if they’re pinching later in the day, they’ll still be in shop condition to return.

6. Don’t be afraid to ‘bulk’ buy
If you find an item of clothing that you absolutely love, consider buying two of it, especially if it’s something you’ve struggled to find before (like the perfect black jersey dress).

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7. Check the details
It’s always worth checking how much extra work a new purchase is going to require. Is that dress ‘dry clean only’? That can get expensive. Does the label on a pair of trousers you want for daily use say ‘hand wash’? Not very practical! And when you’re buying other things like electrical goods, check what’s included in the box – do you have to buy extra wires with that new TV?

8. Get the right price
These days using our smartphones while we’re out shopping means we can save money by comparing prices online and in store in just a couple of minutes. If the same store does something cheaper online, see if you can ‘click and collect’ so you get the online price but don’t have the hassle of waiting at home for a delivery.

9. Home delivery vs store shopping
Online prices might be the same as those in store, but it’s worth adding in extra costs to decide which is best for you: online buying could mean having to take time off work for a delivery or driving to a depot, but store shopping might involving paying for car parking.

10. Savvy shopping online
We’ve got lots of useful tips for buying on the internet, too.

Safe online shopping – keeping your money secure.
Gift shopping online – tips ideas for sorting your Christmas list.
Clothes shopping online – how to make sure you know what you’re getting.

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