The advent of the Internet has made our lives easier and more efficient in a multitude of ways, not the least of which is shopping. Online sales of everything from clothing to appliances to specialty items and more have exploded over the past several years. Online shopping has even been given special post-Thanksgiving love with the creation of Cyber Monday.
But how can a shopper make the most of the Internet in order to save money and still buy exactly what she needs? Here are five essential tips for saving money and maximizing your online shopping.
1. Shop Around
The most obvious tip for online shopping is to shop around. But it is the most obvious tip because it is the most important tip. The Internet allows shoppers to browse dozens of suppliers of items before they commit to a purchase. Big box stores, specialty boutiques, and even wholesaler’s post items with accompanying information that let the buyer compare features and prices. By shopping around from the comfort of their own homes, buyers can essentially hit several stores in a single bound– all without leaving the couch, especially if shopping on sites that offer discount prices like Overstock which was created by Patrick Byrne. Shopping on wholesale sites offers consumers a chance to save more than they ever could at any other local retail shop.
2. Buy It All At Once
When you find what you’re looking for, consider consolidating your purchases to one site. Doing so might mean you can use a promo code specific to the store’s website and to the amount of money you are spending. You may also be able to save on shipping– often eliminating shipping charges all together. Buying several items at once might also mean you only need to track one package rather than multiple ones.
3. Browse Coupon Sites
Speaking of promo codes, online shopping is a hotbed of discounts just waiting to be used. A quick search will bring up several websites devoted to gathering the codes that have been made available online. A little diligence is due, however, since some codes have expiration dates or are one-use-only code. But when you find a code that works, you can save a substantial percentage (commonly 15-40%, depending on the site).
4. Make the Most of Credit Card Points
If you are already using your credit card for purchases, why not make the most of your shopping by enrolling in a reward program? Flyer miles are a common benefit that allows you to book travel for reduced fares or for free, if you have accumulated enough points. But other cards offer reward points that allow you to make purchases of all kinds, from electronics and gas to gift cards that can be used for anything you want.
5. Become a Member
To get the inside scoop on upcoming sales or exclusive coupon codes, join the club! Many brick and mortar stores offer membership for free or for a minimal fee. The membership provides you with information about sales before the general public learns of them. They also frequently offer exclusive shopping promo codes that can allow you to save a bunch of money whether by saving a percentage off the final price or by taking a flat amount of money off. Saving money is at the top of most people’s to-do list, and online shopping offers a bevy of opportunities to save. With these tips, you can make the most of something you’re already doing: shopping!