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Financial Wellness

6 Costly Mistakes Shoppers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Whether you are buying clothes, groceries, or products just for fun, shopping is something you do all the time. You may shop online or visit stores in person, but in the end, you will exchange your money for the items you want and need.

Making mistakes as you shop is common, and the cost of those errors is often quite literal. Whether it's spending too much on things you don't need or paying too much for essentials, the numbers can add up.

Here are six costly errors shoppers make and how you can avoid them.

1. Buying just because it is on sale
Stores love those flash 70% and 80% off signs, and so do shoppers. And while those deep discounts can be compelling, buying just because an item is on sale is a big mistake. If you need it and it's on sale, so much the better; if not, leave it where it is.

2. Using retail store credit cards
Buying everyday purchases with a low-interest rewards credit card is a great way to rack up points and cash back, but using retailer or store credit cards can backfire. These cards typically have very high interest rates and a hefty annual fee. You can ultimately end up spending more when you use a high-interest store card, which won't do your budget any good.

3. Failing to track your spending
From everyday groceries to dinners out and occasional splurges on fancy clothes, knowing how much you are spending is essential.

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4. Falling for the checkout line trap
Whether you are shopping for groceries, clothes, or something else, you will spend some time in the checkout line. Stores know that, and they try to entice you to throw additional items in your cart. Falling for impulse buys are a last-ditch attempt to get us to spend more money. So keep your wallet in your pocket and your eyes on your cart.

5. Not checking prices online
One of the great things about shopping online is that price checks are just a tap away. Spending a little time browsing prices before buying in-store is a great way to spend less.

6. Not keeping your receipts
Hopefully, every item you purchase will work flawlessly, and you will never have to initiate a return. But if you need to return a defective item, having your receipts handy will make the process easier. Not keeping your receipts is a big mistake, so keep them somewhere safe in case you need them.

Shopping is no doubt necessary, but it can also be fun (and sometimes therapeutic). Whether it's at the grocery store, on the internet, in the shopping mall, or somewhere else, avoiding the mistakes listed above can help to make your shopping a more enjoyable experience.