How to save money shopping online

save moneyEverybody shops online in today’s technology-based world. People shop online for the convenience more than anything- they don’t have to waste time or even leave the house to get the items they want delivered to their doorstep. They also don’t have to think about opening and closing times of stores, as the internet is open 24/7. People also shop online because they have access to a wider selection (they can browse multiple brands at the same time). In addition to all of these benefit, shopping online can also save you money. Here are some ways to take advantage of the savings and deals you can find when shopping online.

Do your research

Before you just buy the item you’re shopping for from the first website you find it on, take some time to research the item and how much it costs on other sites (comparison shopping). Doing a Google search for the item before you buy could save you money, so its worth the few extra minutes of your time.

There are also several websites you can use to compare prices and find the lowest price for the item you want to buy. For example, Google Shopping and shopping.com will both check various websites for you and give you the price comparison so you can find the best-priced option.

Also, if you have the time, check out what time of day the items you like to buy sell for less and shop accordingly. Some websites change prices over the course of the day (products can sometimes fluctuate in price up to 15% within a matter of hours). There are online tools (search for them on Google) you can use that monitor price changes so you can find out at what time the item you want sells for less.

You should also pay attention to what times of the year are the best to buy certain items. For example, sales on winter coats usually happen towards the end of winter, and sales on summer clothes towards the end of summer. Most online shopping categories have times of years when there are deals and sales as well, so do your research before you buy in order to save money by buying at the right time of year.

Add items to your shopping cart but don’t buy them

Some online shoppers have spread the word that when you add items to your shopping cart, and then leave the website before checkout, some websites may decide to encourage you to finish your transaction by offering you a special discount or other tactic that saves you money and lands them the sale. Everybody wins.

Coupons

A new online shopping trend is the use of discount codes or discount coupons. You’ve probably noticed that on many websites when you checkout there is a field to put a discount or coupon code. If you see this field, there is a probably a very good chance that this website or retailer has a discount code out there that you can take advantage of as long as you find it and use it. So, before you checkout, do a quick Google search for “discount code” or “coupon code” and the name of the retailer or website to see what comes up. There are also websites such as www.couponcraze.com and www.couponmom.com where you can find coupon codes for many retailers and websites. Who knows? Those few extra minutes could save you some money.

Subscribe to automatic repurchasing

Very often websites will have a subscribe button (Amazon does, for example), where you can subscribe to a certain product you buy regularly to repurchase automatically. This will not only save you time and hassle (the annoyance of realizing you’ve run out of something you need right when you need it), but could also save you money as many retailers and websites offer a discount on the item (sometimes up to 15%) for subscribing.

Social networking

Sometimes just by liking your favorite retailers on Facebook or following them on Twitter you will have access to special coupons and even find out early about upcoming sales and deals, another great way to save money when shopping online. Also, by joining a retailer’s email list they may send you coupons or special offers and sales as well.

Free shipping

Some retailers and sellers offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount of money or when you sign up for a special trial or offer. As long as taking advantage of this opportunity doesn’t waste your money in the end (don’t buy something you don’t need just to reach the minimum amount for free shipping, and don’t forget to cancel your subscription when the free trial ends or you may be automatically charged for something) then you could save money this way as well.

Become a loyal customer

If one of your favorite retailers has a loyalty program, you may want to join because very often you can get money back or other deals every time you enter your customer loyalty number. Retailers will also give discounts to customers that use a store credit card, or a credit card linked to the seller in some way. For example, you can get a discount every time you shop on Amazon by using the Amazon Rewards Visa card.

Check eBay

Sometimes the item you want may be available on eBay in completely new or mint condition, and at a lower price. Make sure you read the complete description of the item, know all of the charges and fees associated, and read feedback from other customers about the seller before you make a purchase on eBay. If everything checks out, you could get the same exact item at a lower price just by buying it directly from an individual instead of a major retailer.

Affiliate programs

Many retailers have affiliate programs where they pay other websites for bringing them customers that make purchases. This usually works by putting a referral link on your website. If anyone clicks on the referral link on your website and ends up making a purchase on the retailer website, you’ll get a percentage or fee from the retailer.

Shopping online is a way of the future. It saves us time, hassle, energy, and can also save us money. As long as you pay attention, do your research, and follow the other suggestions in this article, you could have extra money in your pocket at the end of the year.