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What is Comparison Shopping?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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If you want to save money, and get the best for the money you do spend, consider comparison shopping. It may sound tedious, but you might just find that it can actually be challenging and rewarding. Comparing brands to find out which one is the best value for the price will help you not only to get the best products for you or your family, but will also help you save money long term. Even if you don’t exactly exercise frugal living in all areas of your life, you can still practice comparison shopping to help you get the most for your money when you make certain purchases.

This type of shopping clearly goes beyond comparing prices. Finding the cheapest items doesn’t usually take a great deal of effort. However, finding the best quality items for the least amount of money is another story. This is one of the reasons that comparison shopping is becoming an industry of its own.

Much like a typical search engine, there are comparison shopping engines online where you can search for a particular item and websites will provide a number of selections related to the item of interest. You can compare brands, styles, colors, prices, and value. You may also be able to read reviews from customers who have already purchased the product. More often than not, this type of shopping service is free but there are also shopping clubs you can join, usually for a small annual fee. Shopping clubs generally do the legwork for you and offer only the best deals.

When you begin comparison shopping, you may also find that buying “economy size” products isn’t always the best value. Some companies trick consumers by simply offering an economy size, since many will assume it is cheaper to purchase a product in bulk. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, the larger package costs more per unit than the regular size option. Comparison shopping helps consumers choose the better value, when they check the price per ounce or price per unit carefully and compare it with similar brands.

Another tip for comparison shopping is to make sure that you don’t blindly use coupons. Coupons do frequently offer good discounts on popular products. Yet, sometimes you’ll find that the particular brand being discounted is more expensive than brands of similar or equal quality, even after the amount on the coupon is subtracted. It definitely pays to shop and compare.

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Discussion Comments
By anon334292 — On May 11, 2013

Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to save money, especially in a time when there is not enough.

By anon248096 — On Feb 16, 2012

Comparison shopping may save you money but if you're not doing it online and just to save a dollar at a different store, think of the hidden costs like travel before considering the best price of milk or chocolate at an inconveniently located store 20 minutes from the closer one. You're most likely going to spend more than your savings.

By anon80538 — On Apr 27, 2010

Comparison shopping is the best way to save money while you are shopping online. Its a free service provided by websites. If you know the product you are going to buy and then if you want to check the best price available in stores, then the easiest way is to use the price comparison service.

At one shot you can find the prices of the product in each store. By this way you can save a lot of money.

By anon68812 — On Mar 04, 2010

Comparison shopping is the best way to save money.

By anon62822 — On Jan 28, 2010

Even though comparison shopping is a little time consuming, the benefits greatly outweigh the cost of time spent evaluating your different options.

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