The best part about online shopping is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home! Gone are the days of standing in long lines to get your hands on the latest item or technology (thankfully). You can now locate some of the best deals online with just a few clicks.
Finding a good deal is great, but if you’re not attentive, it might put your budget at risk. More on that later, but first, let’s look at how these 15 incredibly basic buying strategies can help you get more bang for your money.
1. Make use of a promotional code
Make it a rule to never buy something online without first looking for a coupon code. They’re out there somewhere! Try a simple Google search, download some coupon apps, or go to websites like RetailMeNot or Coupons.com that collect coupon information. Look for a store and voila! You have a long collection of user-rated promo codes and deals.
With only a few minutes of work, you can locate some of the best offers online, saving you at least 10%–25% on your purchase. Your tiny effort could save you a lot of money!
2. Delegate bargain hunting to someone else.
Installing an app like Honey on your web browser solves this problem. Honey will go through all of the available coupons for the website you’re buying on. It’ll even apply it to your cart during checkout, so you don’t have to. You can set it and forget it once you’ve added it to your browser. Honey will look for coupons and price comparisons for you whenever you browse on a website. It’s like to magic, in a way.
Of course, if you’d prefer scour the internet yourself, there are a slew of websites that do the legwork for you. DealNews, Offers.com, Slickdeals, and MoneySavingMom are all great resources for saving money. You’ll almost certainly uncover deals you won’t find anywhere else if you hunt around a little.
A word of caution: Make sure the site’s security information indicates that you’re buying on a secure URL (https) to avoid giving out any sensitive information.
3. Purchase on the Appropriate Day
Look for sales that occur on specific days of the week. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, many stores offer exceptional discounts and bargains. And, if you’re searching for a good deal on plane tickets to fly the friendly skies, Sunday is usually the best day to buy them.
Mark your calendar for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and even Amazon Prime Day if you enjoy the thrill of finding a good deal only a few times a year. Once a year, these online shopping days take place. They can be overhyped at times, but if they have the products you want, you can walk away with a terrific deal. Just make sure you don’t get sucked into buying goods you didn’t plan on getting.
4. Look for free shipping.
With all of the internet deals these days, paying hefty shipping fees isn’t worth it—even if the online deal is fantastic (you’ll usually lose what you saved when you figure in the shipping cost—yikes).
You can buy almost anything online without paying for shipping if you’re prepared to shop around and be patient. Many shops give free delivery on orders over a certain amount all year, or offer free shipping codes at odd times of the year. FreeShipping.org can help you locate free shipping codes and deals at thousands of businesses.
5. Be a step ahead of dynamic pricing
Okay, so what exactly is dynamic pricing? It occurs when online businesses raise prices based on your zip code, search history, and whether you’re buying on a mobile device or a laptop. It’s revolting!
If you wish to avoid price gouging, do the following before making an online purchase: Clear your browsing history and cookies, log out of social media sites, and enable private browsing (also known as incognito mode) on your browser. Try it the next time you’re shopping for the finest prices online to see if you can save some money!
6. Purchase Gift Cards at a Discount
If you know you’ll be spending money at a specific store, using discounted gift cards can save you a lot of money. Users can sell their unwanted gift cards for a lower price on sites like Raise and CardCash. If buying gift cards from strangers on the internet makes you uncomfortable, go to Costco instead! Costco, too, is getting in on the act by selling cheap gift cards to restaurants, retail businesses, and spas.
So, let’s assume you’ve decided to do all of your back-to-school buying at Old Navy or all of your holiday shopping at Target. Why not get a store gift card at a discount? It has the potential to save you 10%–15%!
7. Use Apps to Save Money
Apps from well-known online shopping companies such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and PriceGrabber compare prices and provide exclusive, limited-time discounts. They provide anything from inexpensive pedicures at a nearby spa to home décor items and everything in between!
While you’re at it, check out cash-back apps like Ibotta and Rakuten, which work with online retailers to give you a percentage of your total purchase back in the form of a rebate. While it may not appear to be much at first, it can quickly mount up. Why not get some money back if you’re already about to make an online purchase?
8. Look into price matching.
True, retailers such as Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart all participate in price matching with their rivals. Let’s pretend you’re at Target’s kitchen department, preparing to purchase a brand-new set of cookware. Sure, you’re in Target, but what if that set of pots and pans at Walmart across town is less expensive? Yes, it is cheaper, according to a simple search on your phone! Simply inform Target of the cheaper price and show them the documentation, and they should be able to match it. Give it a try at some point!
And, while we’re on the subject of Walmart, their app has a Savings Catcher, which is essentially a price-matching tool. If an item is marketed cheaper at a competitor’s shop, you scan your receipt, Walmart checks prices, and then refunds the difference in a digital gift card. Not bad at all!
9. Do not remove items from your shopping cart.
Just because you’ve added something to your shopping basket doesn’t mean you have to buy it right away. If you leave your shopping cart empty, many websites will send you a discount offer in a follow-up email if you simply wait. This is a wonderful approach to get a 10%–20% off coupon code with minimal effort. Instead of taking action straight away, wait! Plus, you’ve just avoided making an impulse purchase!
10. Communicate with the Chat Box
Did you know that those pop-up live chat boxes that appear while you’re conducting your online shopping can help you save money? Inquire about any special sales or promotional codes that they may be able to share with you. It’s that simple!
Also, if you’ve just missed a promotion or if your discount code has expired, see if they can still honor it. Some savvy businesses may offer you a discount in order to keep you as a customer. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
11. Participate in social media
Following your favorite retailers and brands on social media pays off. Many firms may hold special flash sales for their social media followers, with some even offering free shipping. If you really like a store or a brand, make sure to follow them on social media and stay up to date.
But proceed with caution. Following your favorite people on social media can sometimes lead to huge impulse purchases, so be careful!
12. Keep track of price reductions and sales.
Are you aware that there are apps that keep track of price changes for you? Lyst and Droplist (a Honey feature) are essentially glorified to-do lists. What’s even better? They’ll notify you when the price of an item you’re interested in drops. You can also shop by brand or by the type of item you’re looking for.
Are you a regular shopper on Amazon? Allow CamelCamelCamel to find prices for you, you can also install PriceBlink on your desktop PC. PriceBlink will show you how much an item costs at several stores when you’re shopping online. You can compare costs with minimum effort this way.
13. Purchase items online and pick them up in store
How can you avoid paying those exorbitant delivery fees while still taking advantage of the online-only discount? Simple. Allow it to be delivered to the store. You might be able to pick up the item the same day you place your order—talk about convenience.
14. Request a Refund
Let’s face it: price matching is a lovely thing. And getting the difference refunded? It gets even better! However, jumping through those hoops can be a chore. First and foremost, you must note that the item’s price has decreased. Then you have to go to the store in person to claim the match, which is a pain.
So, why not use robots to bridge the gap? Earny will look through your email receipts and track what you bought. They’ll file the price adjustment for you if the price reduces, and you get to keep the savings! How fantastic is that? But keep in mind that Earny is only good for online purchases because it’s tied to your email.
We completely understand if handing out access to your email makes you feel uneasy. Simply do whatever makes you feel at ease.
15. Price is Negotiable
What if there’s no one on the other end of the line when you’re negotiating rates via the internet? Allow me to introduce you to PriceWaiter, a personal haggling machine for online shoppers who works with well-known online stores. Install this browser plug-in and go about your business as usual. PriceWaiter will appear and prompt you to put a bid on the item.
Keep in mind that, while this is a fantastic tool, it can be picky about the things and brands with which it works. It’s also worth mentioning that the plug-in is a tad sluggish—but your patience may just pay off. Enter the amount you wish to pay, then sit back and wait. Within 24 hours, you should know if your offer was denied, accepted, or contested.
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