10 Savvy Shopping Tips for Gen Z To Know

Teenage girl is shopping online with her credit card in a cafeteria.
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Although Gen Z is the generation most interested in shopping, they’re also the generation most interested in spending carefully, according to a study of 1,300 Vogue and GQ readers. So for young buyers looking to save money without sacrificing quality, GOBankingRates gathered the best shopping advice from money management experts.

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1. Buy Items Out of Season

Certain high-quality items, such winter coats or bathing suits, are much cheaper if you wait until they’re no longer in season. Waiting can also save you money on technology like smartphones and high-end cameras.

“When tech companies are close to releasing an upgrade, previous editions are often discounted at a cheaper price,” says Danielle Miura, CFP, founder of Spark Financials. “Then you can upgrade the software when the technology is released.”

2. Shop in Bulk

Buying in bulk can save you money in the long run. But be careful — make sure you only use this advice with items you know you’ll use a lot of.

Make Your Money Work for You

“For example, if you know you’ll use several bottles of a certain shampoo over the course of a year, buying them all at once can save you money in the long run,” says Samantha Hawrylack, co-owner of the money management blog How To FIRE.

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3. Check Reviews Before Buying Online

Read several reviews — good and bad — for an item before buying. Doing so can save you the time, money and frustration of returning a poor product. Reviews can also protect you from scams.

“Scammers are able to make websites and listings look legitimate,” says Hawrylack. “Take a look at the ratings and comments from other buyers. The more reviews and the higher the rating the better. Read the fine print in detail to ensure that what you think you’re getting is what they’re actually selling.”

4. Try Renting Instead of Buying

“For items that are expensive to buy, instead try renting them,” says Miura.

Make Your Money Work for You

This advice applies best to items that you don’t need very often, such as a fancy dress or tuxedo, textbooks and specialized tools for DIY projects.

5. Use Coupons and Discount Codes

Check your mailbox, email inbox and community newspapers for coupons for items or services you need, such as groceries, clothing, haircuts or lawn care.

“If you’re planning to make an online purchase, always check to see if there are any promo codes for the e-tailor or company’s website,” says Nathan Liao, founder and CEO of CMA Exam Academy. “Sometimes you can be rewarded with a small discount just by signing up for the newsletter.”

6. Look for Quality Over Quantity

Sometimes quality items trump their discounted counterparts, especially when it comes to clothing.

“Having 10 good-quality outfits in your wardrobe that you can mix and match makes clothes more affordable,” Miura says. “And hopefully, they’ll last longer.”

7. Browse Thrift Stores and Join Giveaway Facebook Groups

With secondhand stores, you can usually get the quality brands you love at a significant discount. Just be sure to check the clothing item for any rips or stains before purchasing.

Make Your Money Work for You

You can even find quality items that are completely free — if you know where to look.

“Join your local free/buy-nothing group on social media,” says Hawrylack. “These pages allow members to browse items others are giving away for free. Or you can let the community know what you’re in search of.”

8. Check Restaurant Websites for Specials and Happy Hours

Whenever you go out to eat with friends, be sure to check the restaurant’s website for deals first. Menus don’t always list the discounted specials for that day.

“Restaurants will sometimes not mention a special or happy hour that is on their website, but you can simply bring it up to them,” says Liao. “They’ll likely honor the deal.”

9. Don’t Assume Free Shipping Is Cheaper

Have you ever been tempted by the “Free Shipping Over $50!” banner that hovers over many retailers’ websites? Around 54% of Gen Z shoppers find free delivery to be a major purchasing incentive, according to Global Web Index data.

Avoid giving in to that marketing gimmick, though, says Liao.

“Oftentimes, you will end up buying one extra item that ends up costing more than the actual shipping costs,” he says. “Yes, it may be a small difference, but if you make multiple online purchases a month, the extra amounts that you spend on the items can really add up.”

10. Do Your Grocery Shopping in Person

During the pandemic, grocery delivery skyrocketed in popularity. But now, users are beginning to feel its effects on their budget.

“Sometimes the last thing you want to do after a long day of work or on the weekend when you finally have a free day is head over to the grocery store,” Liao says. “However, if you constantly order your groceries to be delivered via apps like Instacart, those delivery fees and tips for the drivers can add up, especially if you order groceries every week.”

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About the Author

Jenny Rose Spaudo is content strategist and copywriter specializing in personal and business finance, investing, real estate, and PropTech. Her clients include Edward Jones, Flyhomes, PropStream, and Real Estate Accounting Co. As a journalist, her work has appeared in Business Insider, GOBankingRatesMovieguide®, and various smaller publications. She’s also ghostwritten a book and hundreds of articles for CEOs and thought leaders. Before going freelance, Jenny Rose was the online news director for Charisma Media, where she oversaw three online magazines, hosted a daily news podcast, and managed the editorial content for the company’s robust podcast network. In 2014, she graduated summa cum laude from Stetson University with bachelor’s degrees in Communication & Media Studies and Spanish. During her college career, she won two awards for her research and was named “Top Senior” in both her majors. Find her at jennyrosespaudo.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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