In order to become a smarter consumer, you should always do your homework on items and services before you consider making a purchase. It’s okay to be skeptical and ask a lot of questions. You could ultimately wind up saving money if you are on top your game and catch errors or misleading information.
Always take a second look at food labels. Under FDA regulations, the calorie number listed on packaging can be off by up to 20%. Investigators have even found that some foods are nearly 70% more calories than shown on the label! Whether you’re dieting or not, assume that there is always 10 to 20% more calories than what is listed on packaging.
Read your bills very carefully and always be sure to challenge anything that doesn’t look right. Be extra careful with hospital and insurance bills – double-check charges and look for duplicate or multiple charges of the same item or service.
Create your own hotel grading system. Start with 5 stars and deduct stars for everything the hotel does wrong. If there is something in your bed, deduct. If it smells old, moldy, dirty, deduct. If the manager doesn’t fix your problem, deduct. Be watchful of extra hidden fees – double-check your bill before checking out. A great resource to avoid bad hotels can be online reviews written by other guests. People will be honest about their experience and will give you a great idea of what to expect or which places to avoid!
Don’t be afraid to come forward if you feel you have been scammed. There’s no reason to be embarrassed because chances are you haven’t been the only one. By coming forward and educating others, you can help other people avoid the same scenarios and save their money!