As you can probably tell I shop online a lot, shopping online is extremely convenient for me and millions of others and if done correctly can save money. The main reason why shopping online is cheaper is because the stores overheads are lower than that in a retail outlet so they can afford to sell the products at a lower rate. But you will also save money on Parking, gas and most importantly your time, studies show the time it takes you to find a product you want to buy online is much less than in a store. Even with the possibility of paying for shipping when purchasing online, you will still most likely save money. But for unseasoned online shoppers it is a whole new world and you have to learn the best way to save money, I thought I would share a few tricks (well in fact 3 in this post) and tips here to help you save money on every online purchase.
1. Try to shop at Auction sites like eBay
The nature of an auction fits really well into buying products online, even if you are not looking for something less popular like a 4 person canoe, you can still find a bargain. There are many auction websites now popular; eBay, Yahoo Auctions, Online Auction.com and uBid to name a few, just make sure the site is not a new and is a trusted one and be careful, there are some scammers out there, if it is too good to be true it probably is, and make sure you look at the rating of the seller before you buy, it’s in the best interest of online auction sites to make you feel safe and not get scammed, so learn how to rate a seller (it should be self evident with a star system or something similar).
Another method is to shop at overstock stores that will carry surplus and returned goods, there are some massive savings to be had with this avenue. Overstock.com is the most popular of the overstock sites. They specialize in just about anything your mind can come up with. Try this out, type in a search engine whatever product you are looking for then the word overstock and I bet you find some good quality overstock sites matching the products you are looking for.
2. Try looking for online sales
Now this is a quick and easy one, shop somewhere that is having a sale, easier said than done? Your right, if you were walking down the high street you would quickly notice if a store has a sale (owing to the flyers and window dressings) but how do you find out what online stores are having a sale? Well this is where coupons sites come in handy, they try to list sales as soon as they know about them. Have a list of your top coupon sites handy when you feel like shopping.
For those of you that don’t understand what an online sale is I will explain this briefly here. Just like walking into your local store visiting an online store you will be hit by the sales literature and images, in other words they will be clearly displayed on the homepage (unless the offer is exclusive to a site). The most popular type of sales are seasonal to get rid of their current stock to make way for new stock, so the end of every season usually sees a flood of offers and some real bargains can be had.
See if it is cheaper to buy in bulk, as shipping and handling can be costly, especially in big countries like Canada, it often makes sense to buy more ‘fast moving consumer good’ (the ones you use often) as it brings the cost of shipping down, and if you take a moment to read the stores T&C’s you may find that if you purchase a certain amount the store will waive the shipping charges completely.
3. Coupon Codes and Voucher Codes
This is one of online shopping’s best kept secrets. Promotional codes and really anything ending in codes (as they nearly always mean the same thing) are codes that online stores give out to website owners that allow consumers to save money through online shopping discounts, free gifts, free shipping, money off, percentage off, free samples, contests the list goes on. Have you ever bought something online and seen a box at the end of your checkout that saying something like ‘enter your promotional code here’? This is where your brain should show a little light bulb over your head to say “go get a promotional code”. Of course the problem lies in where to find these much coveted coupon codes, try searching in a search engine for coupon codes or Voucher Codes.
Sites that focus around offering these codes are extremely time consuming to maintain as they have to constantly keep going back to the posts to update the coupons or remove them. But hopefully the sites are being constantly updated with new codes so you will have the best deals available at your finger tips every day. Please remember that coupon codes only have a limited shelf life, some for a few days others for a few hours so make sure you read the details correctly. So how to be updated, well there are a few ways, you can bookmark a site, your browser should have a live bookmarks section, or click on the RSS (orange) symbol at the top of most sites and you can see in your live bookmarks every time a new coupon has been added. You can also subscribe to an email newsletter at a coupon site, which will update you when the coupons are listed or about to expire.
Hopefully this post will help you save money when shopping online