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We shop in different ways, every day. Maybe it’s a quick stop at the drugstore, a week’s load of grocery shopping, walking the mall, or surfing endless products online from the comfort of home. So why not shop smarter instead of harder? Of course, the main benefit is saving money, but believe it or not, developing smart saving habits takes practice. Shopping with the mentality of wanting to save money primes your brain to avoid mindless spending, and makes it easier to learn to save a little bit each day. Put into practice the five smart shopper tips below and start saving right away. 

Pull Back from Impulse Buying

Stores love filling the lines to their cash register with seemingly harmless products in hopes you will impulse shop right before making your final purchase. What seems like just one more little item, is actually taking away from money that could be going toward paying for greater priorities such as debts and loans. The same can be said for sales racks because while these can be great money-savers it’s important not to just buy something solely because it’s on sale. Make sure the item is something you really want because what good are half-price shoes that just sit in your closet year-round?

Shop Your Local Thrift Store

You may need to spend some time digging, but the effort can be more than worth it as there are some great finds. Items such as books, clothing, home decor, and even full furniture sets can be found while thrift shopping, and the price tag will definitely save you money. If you don’t feel like making a trip to the store there are great thrifting apps and websites that sell lightly used products for less, such as Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, and Depop

Look for Store or Generic Brands

Your bigger grocery chain stores most likely sell their own brand of products along with name brands. Generic brands are essentially the same product with the same taste but almost always at a lower cost to you. 

Extra Smart Shopper Tip: Many grocery stores are now making you pay per bag to carry out your groceries. Instead of doing this every time, spend a one-time purchase of 99 cents on a couple of reusable bags and bring those with you to avoid what can add up to a costly fee. 

Cancel Any Unnecessary Subscriptions

Make a list of anything you are currently subscribed to, from streaming services, websites, subscription boxes, or store memberships, and think about how often, if at all you use them. It can be easy to sign up for a free trial then forget you’re paying for a service you’re not even using anymore. Some subscriptions can run you over 10 extra dollars a month, by cutting these out of your spending, you may be pleasantly surprised how much you can save. 

Take Advantage of Rewards Programs

Many retailers offer you the chance to be a part of their rewards programs for free, either in the form of a store card or as part of their app. Though each company’s perks program is different, many include great benefits like birthday month gifts, free shipping all year round, and exclusive discounts. Think about it this way—your daily coffee obsession could be earning you a free cup after a certain amount of purchases. 
After putting in the effort to become a smarter shopper, pay attention to your savings and rewards. While some of these smart shopper tips may seem small in the moment, seemingly small changes add up over time in the form of greater benefits. And Greater Niagara FCU Members have even more opportunities to save at certain retail locations with an entire list of rewards, perks, and benefits.