In the fight for the consumer dollar many manufacturers and retailers are becoming more creative in their product offerings. These days, comparing the initial price is often not the best determination of whether you are saving money. When you are researching large product purchases, it is important to look beyond the price you pay at the register. For the most money savings, consider the range of features the product will offer in addition to the initial price.
Many large purchases, such as appliances and cars to name a few, can both cost and save you money down the road. These are good examples of what to evaluate in terms of money and your purchase price.
The following are some points to consider on any larger purchase:
1. Warranties – A good example can be found in shopping for video cameras. There are certainly a range of cameras within a certain price point, but different manufactures have very different standard warranties. If you found two items you liked at similar prices, ask to look at the warranty.
2. Energy Efficiency – Almost every large item uses some sort of energy today. Whether it be gas or batteries, consider the cost to actually run this item long term. A gas efficient car can be worth a few extra thousands in the purchase price in exchange for long term savings.
3. Quality – An item of higher quality, one that will last longer with fewer repairs can be worth a higher price. Don’t always go for the cheapest. Look for reviews at places like epinions or Consumer Reports to help judge actual product quality.
4. Extras – Does the product truly meet your needs? Or, are you paying for extras that add to the price, but you won’t actually use?
5. Longevity – Think beyond today. Although the future is always uncertain, consider what your life and the marketplace might look like in a few years. A good example is a family with young kids. Will that smaller, energy efficient dishwasher really have the capacity to handle a family of five with older kids?
Ultimately, the best way to save the most money is to evaluate the whole package, and not simply just the price.