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Five shopping rules that save you money

Here are five savvy shopping rules that will save you money every time.

Woman holding shopping bags

1. Don't buy before breakfast

High street price tags don't usually change during the day.

But it’s not the same story online where prices can fluctuate according to demand, particularly across competitive sectors like electronics.

"Online stores get their best 'footfall' at certain peak times, which is when prices will be at their highest," says consumer psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos.

He suggests people should avoid shopping online before 9am or late in the evening, say after 8pm.

To increase your chances of bagging the lowest price, the best time of day to buy is actually lunchtime when visitor numbers are lower which means items can be cheaper. 

2. Tuesdays & Thursdays best for discounts

"This is when the market place is least active so you're more likely to get great customer service and staff will have more time to negotiate deals," says Dr. Tsivrikos. 

You're less likely to be successful in asking for discounts when shops are at their busiest - typically at weekends or just before closing.

And Thursday is also the best day to shop when it comes to having the best choice of new stock. 

"Most shops have daily deliveries, but will ensure they're fully stocked on Thursdays ready for the weekend," says personal shopper Jane Busby.

3. Stand up before buying online

"Avoid overspending by standing up before pressing the 'buy now' button," says internet psychologist Graham Jones

It may sound bizarre but there’s a reason for this.

"Standing up requires more of your sense of balance than sitting down and research shows when you have a heightened sense of balance you tend to weigh up decisions more carefully."

4. Take back unwanted purchases

"If you get home and don't like a purchase take it back and get a refund," says Busby.

It sounds obvious but how many of us actually do it? 

Especially when it comes to clothes, many people still have items sporting their price tags at the back of their wardrobe. 

Women are worse than men for this, according to online investment service Nutmeg, and typically rack up £300 of unworn clothes on average.

Most chains and department stores will offer a refund or exchange providing you've got the receipt.   

With online purchases you have seven working days to return unwanted purchases for a refund - this extends to 14 days from June 2014.

"Whatever you do, don't keep the item hoping it will fit better in time or that you will like it next season," adds Busby.

5. Buy out of season

Buy when shelves are stacked and you may not get the best deal. 

Shopping experts at consumer group Which? say September is one of the best times to buy home appliances and kitchen items.

This is because many retailers release their new home ranges at this time, so stores will be selling off older or out of season stock at discounted prices, meaning you may be able to pick up a bargain. 
 
And if you want a tumble dryer, it's worth waiting until October as this is when many new models come in, which means the price of last season's items are usually reduced.

Digital camera manufacturers bring out new models twice a year.

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Sue Hayward

Carl Chambers

Sue Hayward is a personal finance broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue talks and writes on money matters including chatting on BBC Radio & TV as well as contributing to magazines, websites and newspapers. Sue's also written two books; the latest of which is 'How To Get The Best Deal'.

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