There are lots of things that can be purchased online…and many of them may surprise you. Purchasing online has, of course, moved past niche and well into mainstream acceptance, with Cyber Monday bracketing the weekend started with Black Friday…but there are a lot of things you can buy online that can really save you money.

Pet Food

Do you buy your pet food at the supermarket? Does your pet have special dietary needs, Try searching online for your favored brands of pet foods. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save, and a lot of offers even have free shipping. This also works for cat litter and other consumables.

Digital Entertainment

online-teacherAmazon started out as America’s online bookseller, because books were regularly shaped, easy to stack and store and warehouse, and had a good pricing model for discounts. They branched out and became America’s second largest retailer after Wal-Mart. Always looking to be one step ahead of the competition, Jeff Bezos has been one of the forerunners for selling and renting digital content, everything from television seasons and movies to digital music, and now, with the Kindle e-reader hitting the magical price point of $80, digital books. These allow you to save money by buying cheaper versions of products, or get them as part of a bulk purchase through Amazon Prime. (Indeed, if you haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime, you should – for the average Amazon customer; it pays for itself in a month.)

Bulk Meats

An interesting trend recently is the “localvore” movement – buying meat and vegetables from farmers near your community. Not only does this save you money and keep them in business, it’s better for the environment and the food, while seasonal, is usually better quality than what you get at the grocery store, and may be cheaper as well.

Insurance Products

Nearly every kind of insurance policy, from flood insurance to motorcycle insurance, can be bought online, and some of the major insurance companies, like Progressive and All State, are making separate divisions within the company to service the “online purchasing” demographic.

Restaurant Orders

It used to be that online ordering only applied to large national chains, like Pizza Hut or Chipotle. With the advent of services like GrubHub, the need for a small, local restaurant to maintain an order-processing website is a thing of the past, and many of them will offer great coupon deals. Think about this the next time you’re feeding the crew for the big game.


Buying shoes, at least for men, tends to be more utilitarian than fashion driven, and companies like Zappo’s let you buy shoes online – you’ll need to know your sizing within a particular manufacturer’s range. Women’s shoe purchases aren’t there yet, but they’re catching on. Fit and look are more important in that segment.


According to the American Garment Industry, the average American woman needs a D-cup bra, in part due to changes in diet. The average American department store is horrible at bra fitting. There are now sites online that will let you input your dimensions, snap a photo of yourself, and see how a particular bra will fit – and there’s usually free shipping and a much wider range of sizes. Women, the only thing you have to give up is badly fitting bras.



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