8 Household shopping tips from a procurement professional

Working in procurement has its impact on personal life. Here are a couple of things you can do in your household purchase that we, procurement professionals, do on our job.

We buy every day. We know the tricks of sellers. Generally, we are able to negotiate extra discounts even in quite unbelievable places. Here are 8 things you could do as well.

1. Get three quotes

Many will roll their eyes now. But do you really think that there is no place cheaper than Amazon? Do not forget, the small shops are selling on Amazon, not Amazon itself. And Amazon takes 8-15%, plus the shipping. Find the shop and get the same item, but cheaper. Especially when buying large-value items, go with this rule.

2. Do your homework before going out

We are in a buyers’ market. With so many coupons, promos and apps offering discounts, going shopping without being prepared is like throwing money directly out of your pocket. In procurement, we call this market research.

3. Be careful with promo packs

A promo pack is when you get two items for the price of one, or heavily discounted.

Whenever you see a promo offer, know that one of the items is slow-moving. This is the reason to create the promo pack. So, you will buy something that is near expiry or you do not need. While working in the food industry, I was getting many offers like this. And before buying, we would figure out what to do with the items we will get. If nothing good comes to your mind, don’t take it.

4. Compare apple to apple

What is cheaper:

490 gr for 1.50 USD, or

650 gr for 2.00 USD?

Both are, in fact, the same. Do not allow the look of the packaging to impact your decision. You are not buying the packaging unless it is a very nice gift box. Do not be shy to pull up the calculator on your phone and calculate how much you are paying per unit of measure.

5. How come a grilled chicken is cheaper than a frozen one?

No, they are not cheating. Nor doing anything illegal. It is about the expiry date. If the shop is not able to sell the chicken before the expiry day, they will grill it. Then they have three more days to sell it, and whatever they get will be profit. Use the same rule in your household. If you are going to buy an item that is expiring, make a meal out of it and freeze it.

6. Everything is negotiable

One of my colleagues was so persistent when buying his laptop that he got extra JBL wireless headphones from the store’s manager. Often, they have discretionary rights to add something on top of the price tag. There is no harm in asking, and sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised.

7. Know your BATNA

BATNA – best alternative to a negotiated agreement. In other words, what is the highest price you are willing to pay for the item you want? If you can’t get it, walk away. Unless it is bread and milk, there is always another day to go shopping. A day with a special deal, holiday promo or end of summer/spring/winter sale.

8. Use all tools, but be human

Salespersons are humans. While we try to get the best deal, don’t forget this. No bad words, yelling or anything like this. Money is your tool. Make the seller aware that you are ready to buy. As soon as he gets where you want him to be.

I am quite sure you are aware of some of those ideas. Some may be new. Try them out, tell us about some tricks you use. There is no shame in getting the best value for your money. After all, you worked hard for it.

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