Excerpt: Tips From 'The Shopping Bags'

Want to learn how to be an effective shopper? In their tell-all book "The Shopping Bag: Tips, Tricks, and Inside Information to Make You a Savvy Shopper," authors Anna Wallner and Kristina Matistic share secrets on how to find the best deals.

No matter what you're looking for, this shopping survival guide will be sure to get you through the long lines and dealing with frustrating sales employees.

Read an excerpt from Wallner and Matistic's book below.

THE SHOPPING BAGS: Tips, Tricks, and Inside Information to Make You a Savvy Shopper

Introduction

Have you ever had buyer's remorse? Surrendered to an impulse purchase at the mall? Did you shell out big bucks for that antiwrinkle cream only to find your wrinkles stayed put? And remember that pair of designer jeans that stretched all out of shape? (C'mon, 'fess up.) Do you always reach for the same brand-name glass cleaner even though the generic brand is half the price? (And is the glass in your home really so much cleaner as a result?) Don't even get us started on the grocery store, where brilliantly veiled marketing tricks have you at the checkout counter with a cartful of food when all you came in for was a loaf of bread. And what about that video camera you bought just last year? Do you really need the "optical image stabilizer"? (Actually, that is a good thing to have.) Or do you simply wonder if you can get that car, that sofa, the shoes, or the lightbulbs for less?

We can relate. The retail world is complicated - - there are too many options, too much fine print, too many marketing ploys. If you're going to survive out there, you need to study up. You need a shopping encyclopedia. We are The Shopping Bags, and it's our mission to provide you with that reference and to make shopping easier for you.

WHO WE ARE

Several years ago we were just like you: We hated buying a T-shirt only to have it fall apart in the wash. A bad warranty meant we were stuck with a blender that conked out after three milk shakes. Fed up with wasted money and wasted time, we decided to do something drastic. We set out to research everything before we bought it - and never get ripped off again.

We started calling professionals from every walk of life -- aestheticians, race car drivers, doctors, dentists, gardeners, even dog walkers -- to ask questions about the products we buy. After all, who better to tell you which brand of garbage bag is best than a garbage man? And then we started testing the products ourselves -- from lip gloss to lawn furniture to luggage. Soon we had a stockpile of information, things that other shoppers might just want to know about.

Ten o'clock on weekday mornings is the best time to shop -- especially if you're making a return -- as crowds are low.

Many afternoons of shoe shopping and brainstorming later, we came up with the concept for The Shopping Bags. We quit our day jobs as journalists at a local TV station and committed ourselves to researching consumer products and providing shoppers with tips, tricks, and inside information on everything they buy. For the past five years, the results of our findings have been airing on our hit TV show. Then it was time to put pen to paper and give you a fun, fact-filled shopping guide you can carry with you to the store.

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