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Are you fully educated on the cost for all of your purchases?

When most people are looking into the prospect of purchasing an item, they will often look at the base price for the item. Hopefully they will also look around and compare prices across multiple retailers. There is also so much more that we can and should do, especially for large purchases.

First off, getting a price across multiple retailers is a MUST, we must shop around, write down the price across all of them. We also must ensure we write down the complete cost, depending on where we are shopping we could be charged different fees. This includes fees such as tax, shipping fees, delivery fees, environmental fees, membership fees, etc. A great example of this is recently I purchased a new TV. At first I was looking at local retailers and I found 2 that had the same model for the same price (Future Shop and Best Buy), unfortunately both chains of stores were sold out, however Best Buy had a handful of these left exclusively for their online store. Even though it was advertised as free shipping, they added a $49.99 delivery fee to the item (they claimed the item could not be shipped and needed to be professionally delivered), they also were charging a $39.99 environmental fee. After shopping around I found an equivalent TV from SHOP.CA for a cheaper base price, they also offered free shipping with no delivery fee and the environmental fee was already a part of the base price. It ended up saving me around 30% on the complete cost.

The next thing to look into is price matching, make sure that if you are looking at price matching that you read the full terms of the retailer and actually ask people working there, don't be scared to ask to speak with a manger if you don't feel the store is honoring their policy.

Now is where it gets interesting and where most people overlook, we need to look at the complete costs for owning and using whatever we are buying. Back to the TV example, believe it or not the energy consumption across different TV technologies can be very large - for example a Plasma TV can cost 3x-5x as much as it costs to run an LED TV. While this may or may not influence your final decision, it is still important to be informed for these details. Other details you should look into are other costs such as maintenance, costs to operate, etc.

Make sure you also look into failure rate and if the make/model of what you are looking at has a history or breaking and what the cost of the average repairs are (and if warranty covers these repairs).

You would be surprised on how much you can save when you take these into account when looking at new purchases, some of the benefit may come at the time or purchase, others later on.

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