PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Spending Smarts: Ten Super Shopping Tips

If you can remember these ten big tips and practice them when you're out shopping or having fun, you'll be an official "smart spender."

1) Be Skeptical

  • This means that you shouldn't believe everything you see or hear.
  • If something is "on sale," take a close look and make sure that the new price is really a good deal.
  • If something is promoted as "the best thing ever," don't just blindly buy it -- make sure it's something you want or need.
  • Don't always trust what you see in ads, and don't believe everyone who says something is "rare" or "collectible."

2) Be Choosy

  • Don't just spend your money on any old stuff! Make sure that you really like it, that you're going to use it a lot, and that it offers good quality for a good price.
  • Compare prices of different items in a store, or the same item in different stores.

3) Be Patient

  • Don't be the first person to buy into something new, because it might turn out to be a dud.
  • Instead of making quick impulse buys, take the time to think about everything you spend money on.
  • Wait for prices to come down on the things you want.

4) Be Firm

  • Don't let salespeople talk you into buying something you don't want.
  • Don't fall for the "upsell," which is when an employee tries to make you buy more than you asked for, especially in restaurants.

5) Be Yourself

  • Following the crowd can be expensive. Instead, invent your own style.
  • You don't always have to own the same things or the same clothes as everybody else.

6) Be Informed

  • Know exactly what you're getting for your money.
  • Do some research before you buy any big-ticket items such as electronics.
  • Look for "hidden costs," like extra charges or extra things you have to buy in order for something to work.

7) Be Realistic

  • Understand that most things you spend your money on -- from a new shirt to a bag of candy -- cannot make your life magically better.
  • Sellers and advertisers try to make you think that all your problems will disappear if you just spend money on their products, but this is not true.

8) Be Resourceful

  • Try to have fun without spending a lot of money.
  • Borrow a book or movie from a friend or from the library.
  • Try activities that are free, like going to a park or museum.
  • Get creative and add your personal touch to clothing and jewelry.

9) Be in Control

  • You have the power to say yes or no when it comes to spending money.
  • Avoid the temptation to spend everything you have in your pocket or purse.
  • Try saying no -- and then take the money you don't spend and put it in the bank.
  • The more you resist the urge to spend on a whim, the more money you'll have for the stuff that's really important to you.

10) Be Active and Happy

When you're down on yourself, feeling low, or just plain bored, you'll be tempted to go out and spend money for the sake of it. So find what puts you in a good mood -- whether it's playing soccer, making music, reading a book, or whatever -- and go do it!

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