Mar 18, 2016

Nine Shopping Myths Debunked

Myth, You Should Always Buy in Bulk
When confronted with a big package and a small package of the same item, cost-conscious shoppers often reach for the larger of the two, assuming a bulk discount. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you want to know whether you are getting a good value, calculate what you are paying per unit or per ounce. You may be surprised to find smaller packages can be just as or more economical than larger ones.

Myth, You Don’t Have to Pay Sales Tax for Online Shopping
While some retailers do sell goods online without charging state sales tax, this is not always the case. “These days, that myth boils down to a mix of misinformation and misunderstanding,” says Ryan O’Donnell, director of marketing for a sales tax software company. “While it is true online shoppers can search and find options for tax-free purchases, in most cases, these amount to the seller failing to collect the sales tax.”

Myth, Sports Fans Buy New TVs Just for the Super Bowl
Another myth that is pushed by the wave of hype surrounding a big event is the idea that everyone rushes out to buy the biggest big screen they can afford before the Super Bowl. Polling shows the majority of TV buyers said they bought their set in November or December, likely taking advantage of pre-Christmas sales to get TV deals. Every other month of the year, TV sales are fairly evenly distributed.

Myth, Black Friday Is the Best Day to Shop
This is not always true. Black Friday has some of the best deals of the year, but only on certain products. Do not get so caught up in the shopping holiday hype that you forget to consider whether you are getting a great buy or just an okay buy.

Myth, After Christmas Sales Can’t Compare to Holiday Shopping
While it might not always qualify as the best time to shop, the week after Christmas generally offers very good deals. After holidays, retailers use steep discounts to bring shoppers into stores to clear out holiday inventory. Some of these post-Christmas sales actually start just before Christmas.

Myth, Retailers Always Clear Out Old Inventory in January
Though it is true that retailers are eager to get rid of old, outdated inventory when new products come out, not all products have straightforward release schedules. Consider cars, which have new models every year. The 2016 models were released in the fall of 2015, and by January those models were likely long gone.

Myth, If It is On Sale, Buy It
Not all sales are created equal. You have probably noticed that in certain stores things seem to be always on sale. When goods are always on sale, the sale price is really just the retail price under a different name. Be wary of these always-on-sale items. Think mattress, there seems to be a 'huge' mattress sale every day of the year.

Myth, Outlet Stores Have the Best Prices
Outlets suggest they are offering steep discounts on brand-name merchandise, with labeling that says you are paying $100 for something that sold for $300 at a flagship store. According to some estimates, more than half of merchandise at outlet stores was made specifically for those stores, using lower-cost materials and designs. Much of outlet stores also sell 'seconds' and discontinued items. Be aware that you are not getting as much value as the tag suggests. In addition, sales at the regular retailer sometimes beat outlet prices.

Myth, The Cheapest Retailer is Always Best
The best price is not always the best deal. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business suggests that shoppers consider a retailer’s reputation as well as its prices. Savvy shoppers will think twice before buying from a less reputable merchant. Will that seller not honor the price, not have the item in stock, add on extra shipping fees?