Millions of people today are sold on internet shopping – and for good reason. Why drive from store to store when you can visit countless online retailers, have items shipped directly to you, then take weeks or even months to decide what to keep . . . all from the comfort of home? And with a quick trip to the post office, any items you don’t want are out of your hands. Much better than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, which take time to get to, and if you change your mind about your purchases, you have to trudge back to the store – or several stores – to return them.
So you can save time shopping online – but how about saving money? Here are some great tips for getting the most bang for your buck on the internet.
A great way to save money is to use online coupons. Sites such as Shopaneer.com have coupon codes that you enter during checkout that generate a discount. If you know where you want to shop, you can also try an internet search for the name of that site plus the word “coupon” or “discount.” Most searches will generate a lot of hits, not all of which will be useful, but if you keep looking, you can often find a coupon that was worth the effort. How about 25% off plus free shipping? It can happen to you.
Another way to spend less online is to use cash-back sites. When you link to merchants through these sites, you receive cash back, usually a percentage of your purchase amount, anywhere from about 2% to 20%, depending on the merchant. These sites can also be good places to find coupons.
Credit cards can offer another cash-back option. Similar to cash-back websites, some credit cards offer a percentage cash back for clicking through their site to the retailer site. Many credit cards already offer cash back for any purchases, not just those made online, so look for a credit card that generates money every time you use it.
Just as outlets or other discount stores provide retail relief in the brick-and-mortar world, discount merchants are great places to save money online. Try sites like SmartBargains or Sierra Trading Post for some seriously discounted merchandise.
Of course, another way to add to your savings is to find online retailers who offer free shipping. If you shop around, you can often find the exact item you’re looking for at a website that will ship it to you for free. If you find a site that offers free return shipping as well, you completely remove the risk of losing money shipping an item you don’t even keep. Compare sites carefully, though. Some sites that offer free shipping charge a higher price for the item than you’d find elsewhere. Make sure you compare costs by calculating your total expense: cost of the item plus cost of shipping (if any).
And finally, if you thought computer cookies were simply privacy-robbing nuisances to be purged as quickly as possible, think again! When it comes to online shopping, cookies are your friends. When you visit many online retailers, they put a cookie on your hard drive, indicating that you’ve been to that site. If you visit a site you want to shop at, then surf directly to certain general-interest sites that sell advertising space cookies may generate ads you can click on for discounts at the retail site you were just visiting.
Whether you’re shopping on a budget or ready to splurge, saving money is always a good idea. So use these dollar-saving strategies whenever you shop online. You’ll have a better time shopping . . . and paying your bills!