Shopping around for items is normal, but many people are moving towards shopping for items and services that used to not be questioned. Prices can be very different from one place to another depending on the vendor. And things that used to be a monopoly have a high degree of competition now. This week I saw a friend on Facebook complain about a new medication he needed be $500 a month and not covered by insurance. Within an hour he had people telling him how to get it for $60 and places he could maybe get it free (from manufacturer) and how to do it.
Facebook and other social media channels are helping people collaborate and share information to find better deals on things. But are you looking for better deals when it comes to some of these things?
- Utilities – By shopping for utility providers, you can reduce your rate significantly. Put when your contract is up on your calendar and reshop for it once it expires or your rate will go up and not one will notify you.
- Medical – The exact same procedure can be radically different from place to place. Some people even find it cheaper to go to another country and have a medical vacation versus just taking the first offer on a medical procedure. (Please do not shop around if it is an emergency though!)
- Auto Repairs – If you are one of those people still going to the dealer, you are paying too much for some things. I do like the dealer for maintenance but not for big jobs unless it requires a specialist. That said, this is one area asking around is very important. Just taking the cheapest person to fix your car can be a nightmare.
- Prescriptions – Not only does the place matter, but there are programs that will give you a discount at your pharmacy. Check out online programs but be careful what information you are sharing.
- Cars – Sure we all shop around for cars already, but did you know if you know what you are looking for and you start calling dealerships (especially if you are a little flexible) you can get a great deal without ever setting foot on the lot (until you buy)?
- Entertainment – I cannot even say “TV” or “Cable” anymore because there are so many options for entertainment. Do you just watch movies and tv shows? You probably only need a streaming service. The trick here is to know what you can’t live without and then shop around for the entertainment necessities and cut out the unused stuff.
- Insurance – If you got the best price on insurance more than a year ago, why have you not shopped it around again? For example, we got a great deal on insurance a year ago and this year they raised the price about for no reason. Clearly the first year was a discount to get the business and they hope people will not move after year one and the price increase. Time to start calling around.
I wish it was not such a hassle. It is an unfortunate byproduct of our hyper capitalistic economy that businesses are always using gimmicks, specials and tricks to squeeze more money out of you. You can either accept the games and pay more or you can manage your buying and pay less. The choice is yours.