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3 Genius Tricks to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse + Get What You Really Want Every Time

Know before you buy!

You purchase an item thinking you’ll love it… but it just doesn’t live up to expectations. We’ve all been there! Instead of hanging on to something you know you’ll never use or just tossing it out when it’s a perfectly good item, we have you covered with these money-smart tips. Here, three ways to avoid buyer’s remorse every time.

1. Snag a hands-on demo

Just looking at an item or reading about its features typically won’t tell you as much as getting firsthand experience using it. “There’s no substitute for testing an item before you buy it,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. Fortunately, many stores now make it easy to try before you buy! For example, some Target locations have demo kiosks that let you explore gadgets, like Apple watches. And Best Buy’s new Experience Stores let you test out cameras, home theaters and many other items. Find an Experience Store near you by typing in your zip code at on Best Buy’s website, then filter results by “services.” 

woman testing out laptop before she buys
97/Getty Images

Also smart: Check your local library! Many of them offer in-person demonstrations of mobile phones, video doorbells and other pricey devices. 

2. Learn from shoppers’ wisdom

If a friend told you she had a problem with something she bought, you probably wouldn’t buy the same productWell, shoppers you’ve never met want to let you know if they’ve had problems with robot vacuums, coffeemakers and all sorts of items so you can avoid their mistake. And finding their warnings is easy:  “There are sites where consumers lodge complaints for the greater good,” confirms smart shopping expert Trae Bodge. These include, and the aptly named Search for any product, and you’ll quickly learn if customers have found any hiccups with it.

Also smart: Look in the comments below sponsored posts on social media platforms, like Instagram, advises Bodge. “Shoppers will often use this section to chime in about a ­product — good or bad.” 

Related: Security Pros Reveal the Latest Online Scams + the Website You Should Always Avoid

3. Make sure to read trusted reviews

woman looking at 5 star review on phone
Suriyawut Suriya/Getty

If you’re like us, you’ve fallen for glowing customer reviews that turned out to be phonies. “Reviews are essential to help guide your purchase decisions, but unfortunately there are some bad seeds out there who post fake reviews,” notes Woroch. Since bogus reviews are tough to spot, she suggests another option:  “Seek reviews from professionals. They have a lot of experience testing products in the category they specialize in.” And since they’re unbiased, you’ll get a realistic idea of what to expect. To find these pros, just do an online search for what you want to buy and the phrase “independent reviews.”. For example, you’ll find expert advice on electronics at and reviews for vehicles at

Related: Save on Car Repairs: Auto Experts Reveal the Insider Tricks That Make It Easy

Also smart: Hop on YouTube for videos of experts trying out products. In the market for a new dishwasher? Learn which appliances are best on the @BoulevardHome YouTube channel.

Bonus tips: Easy ways to return anything

Already bought the item before trying, and now need to return it? Here, three easy ways to return and get your money back — even when you think you can’t.

Misplaced your receipt?

No problem! “If you used a store’s app, your purchase details should be saved,” says Woroch, adding that if you’re a loyalty member, most retailers can pull your purchase information from your account.” Used a credit card? “Some stores can track your purchase by checking your credit card account.”

Return window expired?

If you paid with a credit card, check your benefits for “return protection,” which gives you more time to get refunded for a purchase. Paid in cash or with a debit card? Ask the store if they’ll accept a late return. Some retailers will happily do so to keep you as a loyal customer.

Already used the product?

Check a store’s return policy since some of them offer refunds for opened products. For example, CVS lets you bring back open beauty items. Or check if a store has a satisfaction guarantee policy, which lets you return used products if you weren’t happy with them.

For more smart money solutions, click through these stories:

8 Genius Ways to Save at Restaurants So You Can Eat Out for Less + Even Score Freebies

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash — 5 Easy Ways to Get Paid for Recycling Unwanted Items

Buy More Produce To Spend Less Money + Other Expert Secrets To Save at the Farmers Market

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