haute read: tips for frugal shopping (guest post)

Our guest contributor Catherine wrote a haute post on frugal shopping. Enjoy! http://ow.ly/caaau

Shopping can be a necessary evil or a fun, therapeutic activity. Whether it’s to stock up on grocery items or treat ourselves to a new outfit or the latest gadget, it can be difficult to keep costs down. Some of us are better than others at spotting a good deal but there’s a lot more to being a frugal shopper than just bargain hunting.
Some shops, especially supermarkets, are laid out in certain ways to encourage spending: popular items are distributed at opposite ends of the store so customers will pass by more products, while well-known impulse buy items such as chocolate and magazines are sold near the checkouts.
In a supermarket, the best deals are found below or above eye-level; pricier stuff tends to be on shelves we’ll see first, so get used to crouching down or stretching up to get at the cheaper brand items.
Up until relatively recently, supermarket value range products were value in price only. However, nowadays there’s generally very little difference between these cheaper generic brands and the traditionally more expensive household names. As such, always go for own-brands where possible.
Being aware of typical supermarket tricks and knowing how to get best deals, such as buying in bulk (often cheaper), makes for pretty easy frugal supermarket shopping. But other items such as clothes, electrical appliances and gadgets are harder to spend less on, especially if you need to splash out on a pricey appliance once in a while.
The rule of thumb here is to do your research. Use consumer advice and price comparison sites to check the latest models to ensure you’re getting the best value for money. It’s always tempting to buy the first cheap model you like the look of, but this can be a false economy if it has a bad reputation.
If you’re an impulse buyer, start to question your reasons for wanting certain items. Do you need it? Is it essential? Walk away and sleep on it if it helps – you can always return another day.
Voucher codes and store cards are another great way to save money on your shopping; the more you spend, the more points you earn. Amex UK rewards credit cards work in similar ways: you can earn vouchers, tokens or even receive cash back. It’s a great way to save as you shop.
The author of this article is part of a blogging team that works with brands like American Express. The content contained is for information purposes only and should not be used to make any financial decisions.

~Catherine M. L. (Pearls and Peacocks Guest Writer)