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Columns | Go Far With Kovar

Advice on Comparing Prices?

by Taylor Kovar
Hi Taylor - If I'm trying to find the best deals, is there a strategic way to compare prices? I feel like every time I try to compare products online, I end up wasting five hours trying to figure out if I'm looking at the same product. Am I just bad at this? - Lorena

Hi Lorena - You're not bad at it - the internet is. The good ol' web is full of vendors who either want to trick people on purpose or don't know what they're doing, and it makes price comparing tougher than it should be. I've got a few different tactics that seem to work for me, and hopefully one of them will work for you.
1. Go to the physical store first. When you start online, you fall down that rabbit hole and feel defeated before you really get started. Going to an actual store, whether it's a big chain or a local grocer, can help you in a few ways. First, you can look at the product, see the actual name and get a solid idea of what it looks like. That should clear up some of the confusion when you return to the internet and have to deal with small pictures and vague descriptions. In general, products in physical stores cost more than online, but it's worth investigating when you're out and about.

2. Look at eBay and Amazon.
Since these two digital powerhouses include numerous vendors selling the same products, you can get a good idea of what the median cost could be for new and used products. You might not get the best prices or the exact option you're looking for, but these sites offer an excellent opportunity to see what's available, in what condition and for how much. And, if you're looking for something that comes in a variety of styles, these markets are the best place to get a good deal on the versions that are underperforming. I don't think you can get all your price comparing done on eBay, but if you check out a company website and then see what ordinary people are reselling products for, you can glean some good info.

3. Use the phone.
I give up on internet research all the time. It's frustrating and unclear, and it eventually feels like you're just going around in circles. Fortunately, while companies hope you'll get everything taken care of online, they still have customer service reps available to help. If you aren't sure about a price, pick up the phone. You'll deal with some hold music and long menus, but you can eventually talk to a real human who's there to assist. Many service reps have the power to hand out special deals, so you might be rewarded for your efforts.
Price comparisons will drive you crazy if you don't have a plan, so choose a strategy and hopefully you'll find a bargain. Good luck, Lorena!


Taylor Kovar November 30, 2018
More "Go Far With Kovar"

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@TaylorKovar.com, or via regular mail to Lessons on Wealth, 106 E Lufkin Ave., Lufkin, TX 75901.

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