Save Some Pennies by Doing Some Smart Shopping

by Hannah

Before I invest in an expensive product or am trying to decide between a few models or brands, I find that one of the best ways to make an informed decision is to find reviews by real people who have used the product. I am easily seduced by pretty advertisements and the outrageous claims companies sometimes make about their products, but I am pretty good about restraining myself from buying something on impulse and actually enjoy researching reviews.

Here are a few of the best resources for finding consumer reviews online:

  • Real Simple’s Road Tests: Real Simple has done tests of a wide range of common products, from the best irons to the best budget makeup. I recently took advantage of this feature when looking for an iron to steam out formal dresses. Thanks to Real Simple, I saved the time and energy I would have spent browsing websites for good deals on irons and weighing the all-important question of quality versus affordability!
  • Totalbeauty.com’s Reviews: Besides individually rating products, this site also includes “best of” lists (as well as “worst of,” which can be helpful information that not everyone considers!).
  • Yelp: This is the most comprehensive site I have found that has compiled evaluations of local services. Plus, it has an awesome name. (Some of the reviews are somewhat sensationalist, but at least they’re entertaining! And I trust that you can weed out the helpful feedback versus the “There was an alien in  my soup”-type stories.)
  • Opentable.com: I love OpenTable. If you haven’t started using this site for making dinner reservations, you should! They make it easy to scan which restaurants have openings that will accommodate the size of your party at what times. And you can book the table with only a few clicks! However, another useful feature of this site is the user reviews. I would bet that OpenTable users are more of the gourmet-enthusiast types, so I trust their feedback and ratings.
  • If you already have something in mind, comments from the product pages on companies’ websites are usually helpful. (I especially like the feedback customers give on Sephora‘s site because buying beauty products online without trying them is not always a wise choice – so have someone else try it for you! Do keep in mind, however, that everyone’s skin, complexion, and body is different.)
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~ by freshinkblog on March 24, 2011.

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