When we make decisions in life, it is important to have as much information as possible. Without information, we can only make guesses and that will not result in good choices. When you are shopping, one of the biggest factors in your choice is the price of the products. Do you compare the price you pay for the different items?

When you are out shopping, it is not possible to get all the information. For example, it can sometimes be difficult to establish the quality of an item or what the item contains. Unfortunately, not all producers of different items are interested in letting the consumers make informed choices. They might try to hide certain things or exaggerate other things to persuade you to buy their products. One thing that they cannot hide is the price and, if you want to be a savvy consumer, you need to compare the prices of the items you purchase.

You can compare prices in several different ways. First of all, you can compare prices between different shops. Make sure you compare a wide range of items, so you don’t get the wrong picture because the items you compared were not representative of the shops. Sometimes one shop will be the cheapest and you can do most of your shopping there. Other times, it is not so easy. Then, you might decide to buy some items in one shop and other items in another shop. Be aware you don’t spend too much time and effort in the bargain hunting, resulting in higher spending after you consider how much time you spend and the price of the transportation. If you shop every week, you could decide to shop in one shop one week and in the other the next week. Find out what works for you.

Another way you can compare prices is between different items. You have to make sure you compare the same number of items. If one sells in packs of 10 items and the other sells in packs of 6 items, you need to adjust the prices for this. In this case, you could take 60% of the big pack price and compare this with the small pack price. I know this can be difficult for some. Maybe it will help if you bring a calculator when you go shopping. Another suggestion is to start by calculating it roughly until you get into the habit, so you don’t get too discouraged if you find it difficult.

When you have gotten prices that you can compare, you have to adjust for a few things. First of all, you need to adjust for the quality of the product, but you might also need to adjust for your preference of one product over the other. If the one you prefer is the cheapest, it is easy. But if the expensive one is your preference, then you have to ask yourself: “Do I really want to pay that extra price to get this particular item?”

Remember, it is not about always buying the cheapest products. That can be very counter-productive if you really prefer the more expensive products. What I do advise you to do is take all possible information into account, so you can make an informed choice – instead of the habitual choices we tend to make in everyday situations, such as in grocery shopping.

Brian Ullitz, personal finance expert, author of the e-book Enjoy Healthy Personal Finances and founder of http://Finance4Everyone.org If you find finances complicated, boring or intimidating get our free e-book now by enlisting to our newsletter. With this e-book you can learn to manage your debt, save money and enjoy a happier life.

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