Compare prices before you buy and save big time!

With today’s economy scoring a resounding not-so-hot, it behooves us all to pay closer attention to our pocketbooks. It’s gotten to the point that we need to sit down when we arrive home to recover from the shock of grocery shopping and a fill-up, not to mention niceties such as clothes or electronic gear. “Did I really spend that much?! But all I got was …” Well, here are a few tricks and tips to help you keep your expenses down. Every little bit helps and all it takes is instilling a few new habits into your shopping mentality.

To begin with, one store shopping is out. This doesn’t mean you need to wear yourself out running all over town to save a buck. You just need to consult the flyers before grocery shopping. Shop the sales and compare prices. You can easily save $20 a week with this approach and it only takes a few minutes to go through the papers.

Never buy toiletries or cosmetic items at the grocery store. You’ll pay up to twice the price that’s offered at the discount or dollar-type store. Why pay $5 for a pack of disposable razors when you can get the same product for $1? If you have to go out of your way to get them, stock up with 5 packs in one stop.

Taking your clothes to the dry cleaners adds up quickly. Compare prices on the home dry cleaning kits. These work admirably and cost a fraction of your dry cleaning bill. Plus, you don’t need to waste gas and time, traveling to and from the dry cleaners.

As for clothing, make a point of visiting the ‘seconds’ and clothes outlet stores. I won’t mention names – you know who those big nationally known chains are. Some of these stores sell everything from kitchen gadgetry to stylish clothes and shoes. Some are huge and stocked like a department store. While you’re browsing, compare prices on things like stockings and men’s dress shirts. Unless you’re extremely picky, you won’t be able to figure out what’s ‘wrong’ with any item.

Other ordinary purchases include towels and bedding. Here again, shop the bedding and linen outlet type of stores. If you compare prices between the outlet and your upscale mall store, you’ll be sold on saving that much money.

For major purchases, such as a computer or a car, go online. The online electronics stores have very competitive pricing, as they don’t have the overhead of the brick-and-mortar store. Read the consumer reports on various automobiles and check the Kelly Blue Book(R) price on used vehicles before you go shopping.

The bottom line is, always compare prices. You’ll save a bundle!