The ability to find the lowest price and best value is both an art and science. The science comes from the ability to comparison shop prices, quality and value for the dollar.
The art comes in your skill at smelling out good bargains others walk over without noticing. The art also comes from your ability to negotiate down the price or negotiate up extra-unadvertised services or other perks.
To find out where you stand on the Street-Smart consumer ladder take this short quiz.
1. I use a shopping list before going to the supermarket.
2. I get at least 3 estimates before making a buying decision.
3. I purchase at least 25% on merchandise that’s out of season?
4. I am a label reader most of the time.
5. The larger of a quantity I buy – the more of a discount I expect most of the time.
6. The cheapest price is not always the best value.
7. The best way to tell if a business has any complaints against it is to contact the Better Business Bureau.
8. Laws don’t protect you if you neglect protecting yourself.
9. I check my credit reports at least once each year.
10. I avoid buying clothes that force me to buy expensive accessories with them to look decent.
11. I avoid buying clothing whose styles change from year to year.
12. I check clothing labels for fiber content, care and cleaning instructions before buying.
13. The easiest and most effective way to reduce auto repair cost is through preventive maintenance.
14. Regular oil changes is the most important action you can do to protect your car’s engine and make it last longer
15. Buying a dependable used car can save you several thousand dollars off on new car depreciation.
16. Before signing any contract, I make sure I have all promises in writing.
17. I know the importance of negotiation and do it on big-ticket items.
18. I save money on insurance by carrying a larger deductible than the minimum.
19. I avoid buying items with my credit card I can’t pay off in 30 days or less.
20. I have a monthly budget and stick to it each month.
21. I review my monthly budget each month to see how well I did.
22. I avoid trying to keep up with the Jones.
Now that you’ve finished, review each question and give yourself 1 point for each yes answer. See the graph below for your results.
15 -21 yes answers
You are a street-smart consumer.
You are moving in the right direction to street-smart consumerism. Pay more attention to how you approach your purchases and how you spend your money.
You’re missing opportunities to save more money by a lack of information and/or desire to save. Take the time to get and practice the money saving information that’s available.
It’s hard to save money if you ranked in this category, but all is not lost. If you pick up the pace now by reading and studying solid money saving information you can get on the road to bigger savings.
If you landed in this category, either you have your own software company, you’re a distant cousin of Bill Gates or you don’t like money. However, if you like to have more money in your pocket you have to make a commitment to saving money. It doesn’t just happen. Find someone to help you, a mentor, a financial counselor or one of the many free financial services offered in most cities.
Congratulations on taking the time to take this quiz. Wherever your result or the category you landed in, it was the goal of this message to inform you. Now you can make any mid-course corrections to get on the road or further down the road to saving more money.