Savvy Online Shopping Strategies

Make no doubt about it, hitting the mouse instead of the pavement can be an easy and effective way to not only save money, but gain convenience as well. As with anything else, though, there are “do’s” and “don’ts” and “hits” and “misses” when it comes to making sure your online shopping adventures are as lucrative as possible. Here’s a rundown of what you should know before processing any online purchase:
Online shopping

Avoid online spending traps. Thought you’d be in the free and clear when it came to impulse purchase placement and spending traps? Think again. Whether it’s the traditional brick-and-mortar or of the virtual variety, when it comes to getting the most of your money, retailers leave nothing to chance. Some online merchants strategically place multiple screens and buttons between you and completing your purchase in an effort to get more products in front of you. Many also bet on the fact that you’ll likely get “click-happy” in an effort to speed up the process and get you to accidentally agree to a purchase you ordinarily wouldn’t have. Another way Internet retailers, such as Amazon.com, seek to get more of your cash is to establish free shipping after you spend a set amount of cash. Simple enough, if your order adds up to a predetermined dollar amount, you immediately save on the shipping and handling. The problem here, though, is just as simple. If you weren’t planning on purchasing additional products to begin with, then that’s extra money that you end of spending that you didn’t have to. (Admittedly, an easy way to get around this, however, is to purchase in advance of your needs. If you know you regularly purchase particular products you need anyway, stocking up in such a situation makes good financial – and convenience – sense!)

Don’t hit “submit” until you’ve searched for additional savings. Sometimes securing more cash in your wallet is as simple as entering a simple promotional or discount code. To find one for your particular merchant, simple do a search on the words “discount code” or “promotional code” and your merchants name or consider checking out any number of sites devoted to maintain such little digit wonders. Retailmenot.com, for example, is a great site that’s low on ads and high on consumer submitted and rated coupon codes. Either click on the code directly to open up the respective site or copy and paste the code directly into the merchant’s own site to immediately reap savings with minimal effort. Another example is websites like ebates.com which provide cashbacks for shopping through the portal.

Say “No!” to spam with a “dummy” email account. Tired of having your email account inundated with emails? True, signing up for online newsletters and savings opportunities does produce savings, but along with it comes a seemingly endless supply of annoying emails, too. If you’re sick of wadding throw the tons of emails, consider setting up an email solely for online purchases and the like. With the plethora of free email options out there, setting up a new account couldn’t be easier. With this strategy you can separate “work” from pleasure and keep the annoyance of newsletters and spam-ish emails to a minimum. Just don’t forget to check the “dummy” email account on a regular basis, too, or you may just miss out on a great savings opportunity or – even more important – information on a purchase you’ve already made!

Photo credit: FUNKYAH

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit ThrivingOnEmpty.com to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

2 Responses to “Savvy Online Shopping Strategies”

  1. Samer Forzley |  May 25, 2010 at 10:16 am

    This is a great article. As well, often there are extra deal sites to check, for example look at slickdeals.com or even sites like ebates.com where you can earn back some of the money you spend online.

    If you want to save more look at sites that let you pay with cash, so you dont end up in debt and paying interest. For example if you go to http://shop.ebillme.com you can find a product that has been discounted, and check out what you save if you pay for it with cash over credit cards.

  2. Ace @ aceofwealth.com |  May 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    @Samer, I may be mistaken but I think you’re referring to slickdeals.net.

    I also like to use fatwallet.com. These are great points Shannon. In the past couple years online companies have made it even easier to buy things online. This can be both a good and a bad thing. For example, Amazon has a feature called one click purchase. Where don’t even go through a checkout process (assuming you set up a credit card and shipping address).