We are often confronted with phrases, ideas or technology we’re unfamiliar with when looking for products or services, and one of the easiest ways to waste money is to not understand what you’re buying.
Buying something you don’t need or really want because you didn’t fully understand what was happening is a real waste of money. Plus it can often leave you with a serious case of buyer’s remorse. In a CreditDonkey survey on people’s shopping habits, more than half of respondents said they often or sometimes feel remorse for their purchases.
One way to avoid this remorse is to become more familiar with the jargon surrounding various niche industries. Then, you’ll have a better understanding of what, exactly, you are being offered and potentially save money. Here’s a look at some common jargon that will be helpful to know before you make that big purchase.
Mechanics and Car Parts
Don’t get taken to the cleaners every time you head to the mechanics. The old stereotype of the mechanic who is willing to pull a fast one isn’t true of all mechanics, but you’ll stand a better chance of not getting ripped off if you know what they are talking about. For instance:
- When a mechanic refers to something as being “aftermarket,” that means it is a part that is made by a company other than the original manufacturer. If your mechanic mentions they will be using aftermarket parts, be sure to look them up, as some are very inexpensive and you may be over quoted on their cost.
- Similarly, “LKQ” is a term that refers to “Like Kind and Quality” and means a salvaged part that looks as good as the original. LKQ parts are often inexpensive and easy to find, and companies like LKQ Parts offer a wide selection of affordable parts for many makes of cars. If your mechanic is referring to LKQ parts, consider researching exactly what they cost, so you don’t get burned on the parts bill. Some people actually enjoy visiting those car junk yards looking for good parts that will fit their vehicle.
It’s easy to spend far too much on a stereo that may not even be right for your needs. “Surround sound” is a commonly thrown-around term, but what do the numbers mean? Taking “5.1 Surround Sound” as an example, the first number refers to the number of speakers or main audio channels, and the number after the decimal refers to whether or not the stereo system includes a subwoofer — a “1” indicates it does, while a “0” indicates it does not.
Dolby systems can get pretty complicated to understand, so consider reading this introduction to the subject from the Dish Insider Guide before you go shopping. You don’t have to be a theaterphile to want a good surround-sound system, but you’ll want to know what the sales representative is talking about, so you don’t end up buying something that’s way too complicated for your personal needs.
Cell Phone Plans
Cell phone service providers love to litter their contracts with jargon, and some of the most common will crop up again and again.
- “Air Time” or “Talk Time” refers to the time period provided to you to actually talk to someone on your phone, whereas “Off-Peak” refers to the periods of time during the day in which rates for making calls are reduced.
- “Coverage” refers to the areas of the globe that you will receive service in, and “roaming” refers to when your phone must use a different network to maintain a signal. Roaming often happens when you are traveling internationally, but not always — be sure to check the terms of any contract thoroughly before you sign.
- “Data” refers to the time you spend going online, sending picture messages, downloading apps and music, etc.
Now that you have a new dictionary of jargon terms, pay more attention to different ways you can save yourself some money – and avoid buyer’s remorse.