Compared to the shopping experience at a regular brick and mortar store, shopping online is much more convenient.
It saves time, gas, and most importantly, money.
Even though you think you’re getting a good deal on the Internet, there are always more ways to reduce your expenses.
If you’re looking for the best ways to save money, then read on to discover how you can maximize your savings when shopping online.
1. Use Price Comparison Sites
Before you jump into your usual online shopping routine, go to a price comparison website such as PriceGrabber first.
This site is relatively easy to use: just type in the item you’re thinking of buying, and you’ll be presented with an overview of the product and a “Compare Prices” tool, where you’ll see who’s selling it, for how much (including a breakdown of taxes and shipping costs), and a product price history chart.
This website will save you time and money by doing all the price comparisons for you.
2. Look for Coupons and Special Promotions
Comparing prices is a good place to start, but there are more factors to consider than just the listed price of an item.
Some online sellers may list a higher price, but offer coupons or other special promotions on sites like SumoCoupon to help customers save money.
There are coupons and Coupon Codes all over the Internet, and from time to time, many retailers offer promotions such as 10% off the entire purchase or free shipping on orders over a certain amount.
During some holiday seasons, some sellers also have promo codes that you can use during checkout for even greater discounts.
3. Take Advantage of Credit Card Bonus Rewards
Most rewards credit cards have partnerships with major retailers in industries ranging from electronics to books to travel.
You may receive one point for every dollar spent with the card, though some rewards cards have “cashback calendars” for times during which they offer extra points for purchases made at certain retailers.
For example, Discover credit cards will offer 5% cashback up to $1,500 in purchases for online shopping from October through December, 2013.
4. Use Your Airline Miles
If your rewards card doesn’t offer bonus points for shopping online, then an alternative way you could save is by using your miles for purchases.
Some rewards cards restrict how you convert your miles and where you can spend them, but if you’re not planning on using those miles towards flights any time soon, why not use them to cut back on what you pay out of pocket for your next online purchase?
5. Sign Up for Loyal Customer Discounts
If you frequently shop at a website, find out if they have a loyal customer program.
Sometimes they only offer discounts to those who subscribe to their email newsletters (which you can opt into for greater savings), while others offer a plethora of other discounts to their customers who visit the website often.
6. Find Shipping Bargains
If you can get free shipping, then you’re already ahead of the curve.
If you’re buying multiple items from a seller who doesn’t offer free shipping, however, you may end up paying more overall than you would if you had bought from the seller with the higher-priced item and free shipping option.
There are ways around this, of course.
As mentioned previously, many sellers offer free shipping for orders over $__ (generally between $25–$75), and others may offer free shipping during promotional periods.
7. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Did you know you could buy, sell, or trade unwanted gift cards?
There’s a whole online marketplace for it.
The discounts are usually shown in percentages, usually between 3% – 25%.
For example, a Barnes & Noble gift card valued at $25.00 with a 12% discount means you’ll only pay $22.00.
If you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get an extra discount at checkout (fortunately, most gift card resale sites offer electronic versions as well).
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on saving money online, and even more importantly, that you use them to save a few bucks next time you’re looking for a great deal.
Happy shopping, folks!
About the author
Russell Kith is a personal finance blogger who writes about different ways to be street smart with your money over at Money Street Smart.