7 Steps to Smarter Shopping

As we head towards the Festive/Spending Season, it’s timely to consider just how we can stretch our money (no matter how much or how little we have) as far as possible. You’ve no doubt worked out your own strategies for surviving the shopalypse; here are a few more for you to consider.

    1. Try not to buy into the notion that you (or your significant others) simply must have the latest and the greatest — otherwise you’re almost certainly going to pay full price. High-demand goodies to avoid this holiday season (drawn from PriceMe’s list of the most sought-after items right now):

    • Apple iPad demand up 1,800 percent
    • Samsung Galaxy S up 600 percent
    • Amazon Kindle up 240 percent
    • Microwave ovens (general) up 101 percent
    • PSP video games up 92 percent
    • Fridges (general) up 45 percent
    • eBook readers (general) up 40 percent
    • Apple iPhone up 36 percent

    Instead, look kindly on items like these, dropping in popularity on PriceMe (and thus potentially available at a good price on Trade Me):

    • Freeview (TV) products down 53 percent
    • Apple iPods down 31 percent
    • Expresso machines (general) down 29 percent
    • Trampolines down 26 percent
    • Kinect  games down 25 percent

    2. During your prelimininary research phase, when you’ve decided on the sort of product you want to buy but are not sure which brand or which model, make Google your best friend. Search for information about the product category — magazine articles are usually a good place to start, because they tend to look at all the products in a particular field and give you a good overview. Depending on the product category, you’re likely to find those sorts of articles online. If not, go browsing at your local newsstand or even your local library (where you’ll usually find a wide range of magazines, although often not the latest issues).

    3. Once you’ve chosen your desired item(s) to purchase, head to Google again. Search for information about that product — and particularly search for product reviews (search for the product/brand name and add in the word ‘review’). At the very least, you’ll gain an understanding of what other consumers, journalists or industry gurus think of the product; at best you’ll find out any flaws before you hand over any hard-earned cash.

    4. In many cases, you’ll come across names of competitive products in the reviews. Search for information about those products as well – and even search for comparisons with your current favourite (search for compare BrandA BrandB). Again, you’ll end up with a better understanding of the comparative virtues of each product.

      5. You might also like to put the word out amongst your more friends on Facebook or Twitter, letting them know what you’re after. Usually, a positive recommendation from a well-informed friend who you know personally is the most powerful endorsement of all.

      6. Decision made? Okay, time to search for the actual item. Naturally, we recommend searching first on Trade Me (either by browsing through the relevant category on the site or by putting the product name into the search box). Once you find some parties offering the item for sale, browse their details (including their feedback rating — look for sellers who’ve amassed at least 100 positive feedbacks and better than 97% positive rating). Once you’ve decided which auction listings look good, add those auctions to your watchlist — you still have a little more homework to do before bedtime.

      7. Before you do the deal on Trade Me, check out the pricing of your desired product at traditional retailers (just in case a retailer is selling the product at a lower pricetag than the Trade Me seller). Start with a trip to their website (although not every retailer lists every product online); if that doesn’t work for you, go to PriceMe.co.nz or (for technology-related items) PriceSpy.co.nz and search for your chosen product. Also check out the daily deal sites (GrabOne, Treat Me, Cudo, Groupy, Groupon et al) just in case there’s a special offer currently in place.

      Happy that the best deal available to you is on Trade Me? Great! Follow the buying advice in our Trade Me Success Secrets book and you’re done and dusted!

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