Is shopping around for products worth your time? You bet. And today it's easier than ever because of online reviews and price comparisons. Buying stuff breaks down into the three Rs: Read reviews, research prices, and reevaluate.
How to Buy Products, 1-2-3
Granted, you don't need a three-step process for one-time purchases of less than $50, for example. But for bigger purchases or purchases you make repeatedly, it's well worth it.
A recent search for a Garmin Nuvi GPS navigator turned up a variety of prices. The exact same model could cost anywhere from $345 to $900. That's a heck of a difference. How long did it take me to get that information? Less than 10 seconds on MySimon.com. Is 10 seconds of your time worth a $555 savings?
I'm not saying you should necessarily buy the least-expensive item for $345, especially if it's offered by an unfamiliar retailer with an amateurish Web site that doesn't pass the "smell" test for being legitimate. If one retailer is offering a price far below all the others, there might be something fishy. But after those well-invested 10 seconds, you'll have an excellent idea about the range of prices for that GPS system.
Armed with that knowledge, how likely are you now to visit a retail store and pay $900, knowing the average price is half that? Unlikely.
Granted, that was a fun example using a "want" item, a GPS navigator. But you can use this system on needs too.