Shopping online and saving money can be an art. You have to search around at the right time for the best deals and discounts (holidays are the best times of the year to save the most money). Your best chance is to search multiple companies that sell the same product for discounts and savings! If you’ve read my other article 5 Rules to Follow When Researching Online, then you know that you should always check multiple websites and online reviews before you buy anything.
There are a lot of spams out there, so it’s very important to research a company/person before purchasing anything from them. Some people, and even some companies, will scam their buyers in order to have access to their credit cards and personal information. Some of them will make unauthorized purchases on your cards, some will sell your information to telemarketing companies, and some will downright steal your identity. If you have ever watched Identity Thief starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, then you will probably know what I mean.
5 Tips for Saving Money Online
1) Be patient and wait for sales, especially on holidays!
All large companies offer sales and specials at one time or another, especially during the holidays. It is inevitable. I don’t mind waiting a couple months for something that I don’t need this second, but I really want now. If you can save enough money and can plan ahead, then save up to buy those things off your checklist during these awesome holiday sales. Holidays generally offer the most savings.
2) Don’t jump on the first savings or coupons that you find.
There’s a good chance that another company will sell the same item for less money. Sometimes, companies will not have a discount in store, but they will offer a huge discount online using coupons or promo codes, or vise versa. Always double check!
3) Check online for coupons and promo codes!
There’s several ways to find online coupons and promo codes. First, check the company’s or manufacturers main website for coupons that can either be used in store or at their online checkout. Staples, for example, has their own “shop deals” page that offers printable coupons. Print these out, and use them the next time you’re in the store.
The best way to search for promo codes is by going on third party websites such as RetailMeNot. Simply search for a store on these websites, and hopefully, they will have promo codes that you can use for online checkout only. Not all promo codes will work, and they usually offer different promo codes each day.
Another way to search for either online coupons or promo codes is by going on the company’s social media page, whether it’s Facebook, twitter, etc. Sometimes, they will ask you to ‘like’ or ‘share’ their page for you to get the discount.
Lastly, some companies offer discounts or coupons if you sign up or subscribe using your email. If you don’t want them to spam you, then you can always make a junk email account. They won’t know that it’s your junk email. Take that, spammers!
4) Combine those store savings, online coupons, and rebates!
My favorite companies offer store and online savings that can be combined. For example, Staples had a sale of up to 50% off select printers and paper shredders with a $20 mail in rebate (This was during holiday season). I checked online to see if Staples or the manufacturer was offering any coupons or promo codes, and they did. I found an additional 20% off the same printer and shredder that was on sale at Staples with a promo code. I applied this to their online checkout, and there it was. I had saved 70% off both items! The only thing that was left was to pick the items up in store and mail in the $20 rebate.
5) Avoid shipping to your home if you can.
Companies usually don’t charge for shipping items to their stores. If you have a store near you, then ship your items to that store to save money on shipping, unless shipping is free, of course!
Watch out for hidden fees, taxes, expiration dates, and make sure that your coupons can combine with other coupons. Just like buying everything online, look at the terms and conditions to see whether they are hiding something. You might have to pay extra for shipping or out of state taxes. They can charge you extra on anything, but so long as it’s in their terms, you can’t fight it.
Also, check for expiration dates. I often find that online coupons and promo codes have expired before I can use them. It takes someone to take things down on the internet. You should also check what items or other coupons and promo codes that you can combine. Sometimes, they won’t let you combine one coupon with another.
And again, always, ALWAYS research a company before you buy from them! You never know which companies are safe until you do a little research. I’ve decided not to buy from quite a few companies because I simply didn’t trust them, which I believe saved me from a horrible fate, and by fate I mean spammed!
Let’s Hear From You!
Which methods have you tried to save money by shopping online? Which method saves you the most money, and which one saves you the least? Would you rather buy things from a company’s website, or would you rather buy items in their store? Do you trust ecommerce (commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet)? Which companies offer the best coupons and savings? Would you prefer them to offer you free shipping? What makes you buy from one company instead of the other even though they sell the same item for the same price?
In my opinion, I trust Amazon the most with any online transaction. I’ve never had a problem with them regarding spams, identity theft, and other security issues. I’ve also never had a problem with their shipping. Their packages always get to me without missing an item, and the items are never broken. However, there was this one time (no, not at band camp!) when I never received my package, but I later found out that the mailman gave my Aladdin DVD to my neighbor instead of me! To err is human.