The Top 10 Things Smart Shoppers Do

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

This post is sponsored by Discover, however, all opinions and smart shopping techniques are 100% mine.What makes expert shoppers and bargain hunters so different from the rest of us? It's the WAY they do it! Learn how to shop smarter with these ten expert strategies, and never feel pressured to overspend again.

Believe it or not, most of the advertising practices {and even pricing strategies used today}, are strategically chosen so we spend more. Did you know that?

I certainly didn’t… least not before college.

I specifically chose to major in business, particularly marketing, because I loved learning about the strategies and inner workings behind what makes brands and businesses so successful. Little did I know this one key principle was a major reason!

It doesn’t make me mad at the retailers though….at least not too much. They’re a business, so they have to make money, and have obviously found a pretty successful way to do it. But it did teach me to be vigilant and keep my mind engaged whenever I consider a purchase, rather than fall prey to the promise of big savings that may or may not turn out to save me very much at all.

This, in itself, is potentially a huge money saver. Instead of being duped by a flashy “limited time only” sale that might never come around again, we can learn how to shop in a much smarter way! 

The following strategies are ones I see practiced over and over again by those who, despite their income, make incredibly intelligent decisions before parting with their hard-earned money. Some may be strategies you already do yourself, others you may have forgotten and need a quick reminder. Either way, let this be your wake up call to shop SMART whenever you head out to the store or buy online.

1. Smart Shoppers Think About their Purchases — Smart shoppers don’t buy on impulse. They let important purchases simmer in the back of their mind until they’re doubly sure they need it — and many times, they don’t! This does wonders to not only save money, but also keep houses clutter-free.

2. Smart Shoppers Stick to their Budgets — Budgets are not simply guidelines to a smart shopper, they are essential to not over-spend. If you’re pretty new to budgeting and don’t have one yourself yet {or got out of the habit!}, be sure to reference my Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting series for an easy step-by-step guide to get started.

The Top 10 Things Smart Shoppers Do | Creative Savings

3. Smart Shoppers are Not Afraid to Buy Used — New is not always necessary. There are many quality items smart shoppers buy used that work just as well, for less! Get into the habit of checking Craigslist, stopping at yard sales, and running by your local thrift store a few times a month. You might just find a new-to-you gem at more than 50% off.

4. Smart Shoppers Go Straight to The Clearance Rack — My mom is the ultimate example of a smart shopper, and she taught me to go straight to the clearance rack first, whenever we stopped into a clothing or discount store. If something is full-price, smart shoppers skip it and wait until they can score a better discount.

5. Smart Shoppers Know their Prices and Compare Them — Smart shoppers research and compare prices at several stores {and online} before making a final purchase. They have a general idea of how much things cost so they know exactly when and where to buy. This helps them know when a great deal really is a great deal!

The Top 10 Things Smart Shoppers Do | Creative Savings

6. Smart Shoppers Shop Seasonal Sales — In addition to knowing what things cost, smart shoppers take advantage of what’s in season to score the best price. This goes for produce, clothing, electronics, after-Christmas sales…..generally anything that has a month or season tied to it. Sunshine and Hurricanes has a great list of month-by-month items to look out for.

7. Smart Shoppers Buy in Bulk — Even if they don’t have to feed big families, smart shoppers buy in bulk at warehouse club stores to secure a better “per unit” price. Not everything will be worth buying large quantities of {i.e. if it expires before using}, and prices are not always going to be cheaper, but it’s worth comparing costs just in case.

8. Smart Shoppers Take Advantage of Cash Back Websites — When smart shoppers buy online, they use a cash back website if at all possible {it’s FREE money!}. is one of the absolute best — percentages range from 1%-10% back, and the site pays directly to your account every quarter. Discover also has the Discover Deals shopping portal where you can earn cash back at a variety of different merchants.

Discover Deals

9. Smart Shoppers Download Free Apps — In addition to cash back websites, there are also FREE apps that pay you to buy what you normally do anyway. Ibotta is my #1 favorite (check out my Ibotta app review!), but Receipt Hog is an excellent runner up too.

10. Smart Shoppers Use a Credit Card Responsibly — Whenever a smart shopper uses a credit card, they pay it off in full every month and treat their card like cash. They also make sure to use a card with cash back rewards, like Discover, so they’re earning money on every purchase. If you sign up between now and the end of the year for a Discover card, at the end of your first year as a cardmember you will have your Cashback Bonus® doubled!

We have to buy stuff — that’s definitely a no-brainer. But the way we do it is what matters. Smart shoppers are always looking for ways to manage money better. If you want to be a smart shopper, get into the habit of practicing all ten of these strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a smart shopper too!

How many of these shopping strategies do you practice?


discover-logoDiscover stands by their mission to help consumers spend smart and save more, by providing the best products and programs for their money. In addition to branded credit cards, Discover also offers private loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. You can learn more about Discover HERE.

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Hi Ramona,

    Isn’t it so surprising how one day we think we REALLLLY need something and then a few days or weeks later we realize that it really is something that we can live without? I’ve had my husband return items for me {he’s amazing} more times than I’d like to admit because I didn’t take that time for a second thought. Thanks for your encouragement!

  2. I have been to blame for quite some impulse shopping sprees back in the day, so now I always try to think it through. If I don’t really need an item, I won’t buy it. It’s quite amazing to see how many of our ‘needs’ are actually not needs at all, on a second thought.

    Looking for better deals and shopping when the sales are on help us save more money. And the clearance racks usually have a lot of pretty nice stuff as well, so I’ve got accustomed to go there before anything else as well.

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