We all get scammed at one time or another, sometimes we just don't know it.
Life has become so hectic, that we don't always have time to think things through before we buy. We can do our weekly food shop, only to realise later on that we've paid more than usual. We can go to a mechanic, and get charged for a service our car doesn't even need.
Unless you have time to check on lovemoney.com or other useful financial sites, you won't always know a scam when you see one. Luckily there are simple measures you can take to ensure you are not cheated out of more money than a product is worth.
Double Check Receipts
Always check your receipts after every purchase. It isn't unusual for an additional charge to be added on. For example I once bought a DVD, only to discover when I got home that I was charged for it twice. Check for discrepancies.
Consult An Expert
Sometimes we do not have the knowledge required to know exactly how much a service should cost. Take someone with you who does. Many contractors will bump the price up, if they think you won't know the difference. Another set of eyes is handy to flag up any problems on your behalf.
It is extremely irritating when you buy from a store, and discover the same product is selling for half the price elsewhere. Check around. This is easier to do via the web of course, because you can just jump from site to site, but don't avoid it at the mall, just because it takes longer.
Use Common Sense
To not be cheated, you often have to use your common sense. Especially when a store is giving you a deal. Be wary of ‘buy one get one free', ‘three for two' and other offers. Very often a store will bump up the price to make up the difference for the free item. Do the math before you buy in order to make sure that you're actually getting a good deal.
I always check the receipt. Just last week, a waitress failed to give me an appetizer for $5 as part of the early dine-in special. Would have cost me $3.99 extra had I not checked.
Not only should you check your receipt, but you should also not get distracted at the cash register and check the prices as the cashier scans the items. It might save you a trip back to the store. Also, if you shop at Publix and the item scans for the wrong price, they will give you that item for FREE.
On the Buy One, get One Free offers, many stores will actually accept a coupon on EACH item (check your store’s coupon policy). Publix accepts some competitor coupons (check with your individual store to see which stores they consider competitors) and allows you to stack them with manufacturer coupons and sales or BOGO deals. I get tons of free or almost free items (food, toiletries) when I’m vigilent about combining sales and coupons. But sometimes I get better deals at Save A Lot without any coupons, so yes, you do need to comparison shop and you should make yourself a price book and familiarize yourself with the sales cycle so you know what a good price is when you see one.
If you have a smart phone, it’s easy to compare prices on items right in the store with the proper app like ShopSavvy for example.