Why Shopping Around Can Save You Money

Shoppers on a busy high street - Shopping Around Can Save You Money

I am in need of a new printer.  Well actually, a new printer, scanner and copier.  Almost all the printers these days do it all, scan, print and copy.

Mine is over five years old, and has decided it is time to retire; time to go to that printer Heaven, where ever that is.

When you think about it, five years is a good old age for a printer, unsure what our five years is in printer time.

You could see it was time for the old thing to retire.  The plastic is getting harder as it ages, and the paper tray has broken off, and it is not quite as quick as it once was.

Age and time catches us all, including printers.

Off Topic Rant:  Why does the ink for printers cost almost as much as the printer itself??

It can be so expensive.

I can buy a new printer for around £30 to £40, but if I want to buy a whole new set of ink cartridges, black and the colour ones, it would set me back close to £30!

I read that manufacturers sell the printers at cost or below, so they can make a profit on the ink.

Similar to selling a razor cheap, and then making you pay a high price for the blades.

It can drive you mad, you could buy a new printer instead of the ink cartridges each time.

OK, rant over.

Shopping Around

It almost goes without saying when we need to make a purchase, we should look around at what products and services are being offered, and also compare prices.  We shop around.

This doesn’t mean that the cheapest item is always the best.  Shopping around involves more than just looking at prices.

In my needing a new printer, I began the process of researching new printers, the price, and also the specifications.

I began shopping around, and you know how I began shopping around….online.

I made a cup of tea, and I sat down with my laptop, and began the research process.

And I am not alone, we all, or many of us begin the process of making a purchase by looking online.  In fact a study showed that 81% of people researched a purchase online.

And why not.

You can see what the product looks like, read the specifications, many times you can see the dimensions, which if you want the smallest of an item is important, and you can also read reviews.

Reviews are important as they tell us as a potential buyer, others experiences with a service or product.

Of course you have to be able to discern between good reviews, bad reviews, and also possibly fraudulent reviews.  These may be reviews the company themselves post to boast about their product or service, and also consumer reviews which may be false or inaccurate.

In some instances if a business receives a negative review, they may address that review themselves as damage control.

However you look at it, reading reviews of an item as a part of our online research is important.


ROPO stands for “research online, purchase offline”.

The premise of this is as it states, and very simple.  Someone may research a purchase online, getting the necessary details, price, and information, only to go to a local brick and mortar shop to actually make the purchase.

ROPO is the opposite of a trend called “showrooming”.


Showrooming is the opposite of ROPO.

In showrooming you may research an item online, but you then go to a brick and mortar store or shop to physically see the item you are considering buying.  However, you do not make the purchase there in the shop, you go back and order it online.

While ROPO may help retailers increase sales, showrooming is the opposite.  People come to just view an item.

And some online retailers can sell products cheaper than stores and shops due to less overhead expenses.

You find that many brick and mortar shops also have web sites selling their products as well.

And it is not just physical products we research and shop around before we buy, it also is in our personal finances, such as insurance and even loans.

Buying Insurance

One area we also shop around is when we buy insurance, be it car insurance, property insurance, etc.  And with all the comparison web sites out there on the big wide web, it is all in one place and they have done the research for you.

According to a survey by the Association of British Insurers, we are more likely to shop around for an insurance policy than for a new mobile phone contract, energy supplier or even a new bank account.

The survey showed that people were three times more likely to shop around for car insurance than a new current account.  And four times more likely to shop around for car insurance than a new mobile phone contract.

The Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, James Dalton stated, “This survey proves what a competitive market general insurance has become. It’s great to see that consumers are carefully considering their options and are looking around for the best deal when buying cover. With motor insurance costing an average of £379, and home and contents costing an average £290, the insurance market is highly competitive, so it’s important that consumers understand the importance of shopping around.”

“With more than three quarters of people shopping around when buying motor, home, and travel insurance, consumers are taking advantage of the wide variety of ways to find the best deal to meet their needs.”

Getting Credit

In looking to get a loan, or any form of financing, shopping around is very important in looking to get the best interest rate and deal that suits our needs.

And once again much of the research we need to do has been done for us in the form of comparison web sites. 

However, there still is the issue of getting approved for the loan.  You do not want to go and apply at multiple web sites or lenders in the hopes of getting approved.  Each time a lender reviews your credit history a “footprint” or inquiry is placed on the credit report.  Too many of these will reduce your credit score.

Pre-approved:  You may receive a notice in the post that you are pre-approved for a loan or credit card.  However, are you really pre-approved??

There is a difference between pre-approved and pre-screened.

Many credit card companies will send out mass postings to those people whose credit scores fall within a certain guideline.  How do the credit card companies know the range of credit scores for those they are posting the notices to, they bought a list from one of the credit bureaus.

So while you may receive a notice stating your are pre-approved, if you read the fine print you will see what when you return the application, the lender will then check your credit and fully underwrite the application.

So no guarantee you are approved for the card/loan.

Eligibility Checkers:  Eligibility checkers are a great way to shop around to see if you may get approved for a loan, without having inquiries placed on your credit report and lowering your credit score.

The eligibility checker does a “soft” search of your credit history, which does not leave a footprint, so it doesn’t affect your credit score.

These checkers make the shopping around for a credit card or loan much easier.

There is very little these days that we cannot use the Internet for, especially in researching and shopping around before we make a purchase.  And this includes personal finances, even insurance, loans and bank accounts.