Inspired by a recent post by Ramit, ampoule of I will Teach You To Be Rich, in which he asked for a Life Hack ideas; I thought I would provide a few of my own that have helped me be more productive and get more things done in any given day.
Today I thought I would share some hacks related to shopping:
Don’t shop when everyone else is – There is nothing I hate more then waiting and it is amazing how much faster you can get your shopping trips out of the way when you are not battling crowds – for parking, walking down the aisles etc. For that reason I only shop really early or late on any given day. I keep track on my phone of when the stores I frequent open and close so I know at a glance if I can go at a particular time.
Shop with a list that is organized correctly – Too often I found myself writing a list of items I needed from the store by recipe or by project (renovation) without paying attention to how the store was organized. This can lead to retracing steps and covering areas of the store that you all ready went to. Organize your list by categories which match the store you are in – Produce and Fruit together, dairy in another etc. The same logic can be applied to Home Depot (lumber, electrical, plumbing) or countless other stores. It also keeps you on task and prevents grazing for items that you don’t need (like a giant tub of ice cream). Some great free grocery templates can be found here.
Look for it online – For bigger ticket items I always try to comparison shop online before heading to the store. Usually you will be able to get more information (detailed specs, reviews etc.) then from asking questions in the store but you will also find the best possible price. There are a number of Apps that can help with the comparison as well if you to look up information on your Smart Phone while out and about.
Don’t always shop local – I know I will probably get my wrist slapped for this one, but in some instances it does not make sense financially to shop local. As a Canadian this is really evident when shopping at some major online retailers. Not only is the selection limited the price is often astronomically different (see Walmart.com and .ca or Amazon.com and .ca as examples). In many cases, by using the US equivalent for an online retailer I can save $100’s of dollars on the price of the product and on shipping.
Here is an example (on the same day):
Amazon.ca – LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon – $179.99, 201.44 after tax, with free shipping
Amazon.com – LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon – $109.99 (it was on sale that day regular $139.99), $119.34 after tax, with free shipping
Because I live close to the US border I can drive 10 minutes to pick up the package from a Parcel receiving service which charges me about $2 for the service.
So all in after exchange rate is factored in I save approx. $80 on one item that would be shipped from the EXACT SAME LOCATION regardless of the site I used to complete the purchase.