There are so many great reasons to do your shopping online–you can shop from the comfort of your home or office so that you don’t have to drive, park, and run from store to store to get the items you need. Besides saving time and eliminating a number of hassles, shopping online can save you money. If you know what to look for and where to do your online shopping, you can stand to save a significant amount of money–just one more reason to give it a try. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions to keep in mind if you want to get more for your money when you shop online. [Also See: 6 Tips to Make Your Online Holiday Shopping Safer]
The beauty of online shopping is that you can compare prices and see what each store has to offer with just a few keystrokes on your keyboard. You don’t have to go from one store to the next trying to find the best deal–you can find it in a matter of minutes or less laid out before your very eyes. Comparing prices is always one of the best ways to save money whether you’re online shopping or in-store, so take advantage of the convenience and do a few searches so that you know you’re paying the lowest dollar amount possible for the item you want.
Look for Cheap or Free Shipping
Just because you think you found a great bargain online doesn’t mean you’re going to save a lot when it’s all said and done. Before you commit to buying an item online, be sure the shipping amount is reasonable. If the cost to ship the item is high, you may not really be saving anything at all. If you can wait a few extra days for your purchases to arrive, opt for the cheapest shipping method offered. Many larger online stores offer free or discounted shipping if you spend a certain dollar amount or are a frequent shopper, so keep an eye out for those options and save as much as you can on shipping costs.
Take Advantage of Online Coupons and Rebates
Online coupons, promotional codes, and rebates can be found on a number of different coupon websites–and by using them you can really save big. Before you start shopping, make a list of the items you’re looking for and then do a few coupon and rebate searches and see what you can come up with. Online coupons and rebates can be found for just about anything including groceries, cosmetics, books, electronics, clothing, and more. [See: 6 More Places to Find Coupons]
Consider Buying Auction-Style
Online auctions are an excellent place to check for some exceptional deals. When you bid on an auction, you can enter in the maximum price you are willing to pay for an item. If someone outbids you, no harm done–you’re off the hook and you can simply look for a similar auction to bid on and start again. If you have no bidding competition, you might walk away with something you really wanted at a great price.
Watch for Special Sales and Bargains
Because you don’t need to leave home to shop online, you can frequently check your favorite online stores for special sales and bargains at any time–day or night. Watch for special featured sales that might be on the horizon, and check the various drop-down menus that online stores may have for bargain areas, discounts, and clearance items.
Sign-Up for Frequent Buyer Programs
Frequent buyer programs are becoming increasingly popular with online retailers–it’s a way for them to reward their loyal customers and keep them coming back for more. Find out if your favorite online stores offer frequent buyer memberships–even if you have to pay a small fee to sign-up it may be worth it if you are a regular customer. Many of these rewards programs offer their members benefits such as cheap or free shipping, discounts on most if not all purchases, and special bonus rewards of cash back or free items once a customer has spent a specified dollar amount.
Used items are not limited to just secondhand stores and yard sales anymore–you can find them on the internet, too. Larger online stores like Amazon, for example, feature an enormous selection of used items in nearly every category imaginable sold by private sellers and small shops via their website. It allows you, the buyer, to get great items at rock-bottom prices fully backed and guaranteed by a trusted company. Buying items used is a great way to save money when shopping online–especially when you’re looking for higher-end brand names or more expensive items like electronics.
Bundle and Bulk Shopping
If you’re going to be shopping online, try buying as many of the items on your list as you can from one retailer. If you are going to have to pay to have your items shipped, you’ll be better off getting as many of them as you can from the same place so you don’t have to pay multiple shipping and handling charges. If there are certain items that you buy on a regular basis such as cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning supplies, or other non-perishable goods, stock-up by buying them in bulk. That way you won’t have to pay so much in shipping and you may qualify for special discounts simply because of the quantity of items you’re buying.
As you can see, there are many different ways to save money when you buy online. By practicing some of these smart shopping tips, you’ll be able to find what you need online at prices you’ll feel good about paying.
Guest post from Adam. Adam shares coupon codes on FrugalDad.com.