Follow these tips to get the best deal every time you shop in-store

Shopping at your local brick-and-mortar store shouldn’t deliver a bigger hit to your wallet than shopping online. Here’s how you can guarantee a good deal after you’ve already left home.

Tristan Fuge/Macy's/AP
Macy's Inc. demonstrates the department store's new mobile tool in this undated photo provided by the company.

Shopping at your local brick-and-mortar store shouldn’t deliver a bigger hit to your wallet than shopping online, especially considering that many customers would rather purchase in person than on the internet.

Some 52% of online shoppers said they prefer making their consumer electronics and computer purchases in-store, while 72% prefer doing the same for groceries, according to the global PwC Total Retail Survey 2016.

Here’s how you can guarantee a good deal after you’ve already left home.

Know what you want

Begin your trip with a shopping list in mind, even if it’s just a mental one. Stick to the items you came for so you won’t get distracted by other products that can add to your tab. Once you start looking around, weigh your options. There are often multiple versions of the same product, even within a store or within a brand. Evaluate the different models available and settle on the one that offers the features you need for the best price. Best Buy, for instance, sells both the Amazon Tap and the Amazon Echo, but the portable Tap speaker retails for $50 less. It also offers less than the Echo, but you may be able to get by with fewer features.

Check user reviews

After you’ve done some quick comparisons, pull out your smartphone. It’s important to check user reviews of a product to get a sense of its potential problems. Retailers like Macy’s have a host of valuable consumer information available on their app. Download the Macy’s app and you can scan a bar code to unlock pricing information and customer reviews, much like what you’d find if you were researching at home. Even if the store you’re standing in doesn’t have its own app, run a Google search for the name of the product to pull up reviews yourself.

Compare prices

Don’t put your phone away just yet. ShopSavvy is a free bar-code scanning app that does the price checking for you. Simply use your phone to scan a product bar code, then access prices across both local and online retailers. This will give you a better sense of how the price you’re seeing at the store measures up to deals being offered elsewhere.

Request a price match

If you find a lower price you don’t have to put the product down and make a beeline for the door. Instead, head to the register and request a price match. Show the cashier proof of the lower price — often the digital circular on your smartphone will suffice — and ask if the store will meet that offer. Remember, you can even try price matching within the same store. For instance, compare the in-store price at Target to the online price at Target.com.

Show your digital coupon at checkout

Coupons add an extra layer of savings. Always look for any available coupons before checking out. Many apps deliver current coupons to your smartphone and even your Apple Watch. It’s crucial to show digital proof of any current coupon offers at the time of your purchase, because retailers won’t automatically give you a deal.

Besides third-party sources, stores such as Target and Wal-Mart offer their own money-savings apps. Target’s Cartwheel lets shoppers scan items and add coupons to their virtual account before checking out, while users of Wal-Mart’s Savings Catcherscan the bar code of their receipt post-purchase to identify items that were sold for less elsewhere. Wal-Mart then issues a gift card for the difference.

Pay with your cash-back credit card

As your last step, consider how you’ll pay for your purchase. We recommend shopping with a cash-back credit card, which could maximize your savings. Grouping your bigger purchases onto a rewards credit card with 5% bonus categories, for instance, can net you high rewards. Or, if you’re a frequent shopper at a particular store, it may make sense to use a store credit card.

With all of these steps complete, you can emerge from the store with your desired product in hand and the greatest possible amount of cash still in your wallet.

For more shopping advice, check out this guide for what to buy every month of the year.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.