One of my favorite ways to get a good bargain is to shop online. I love being able to find bargains while I’m nestled in a comfy chair in my living room.
I’ve been shopping online long enough to learn that if you’re not careful, you could actually spend more money than if you shopped at a brick and mortar store. There are online shopping traps to avoid if you want to save big on your purchases.
5 Online Shopping Traps to Avoid
1. Constant marketing.
Your inbox is full of promotions, deals, freebies, and special offers. The websites you visit show you ad after ad. All of that marketing noise can make it hard to figure out what the deals are. It can desensitize you to the point where you make poor shopping choices because you’re just plain tired of being told about products and deals. Avoid the constant marketing by unsubscribing to any e-mail lists you don’t read regularly. Shut off the constant pinging of notifications from social media.
Make clear shopping lists before you go online to avoid falling for all the marketing hype.
2. Buy It Now Syndrome.
This online shopping trap is the hardest one to avoid. Some deals are only available while supplies last. Some deals disappear in minutes. Some are only good for one day. All that pressure to “Buy Now!” can lead you to making impulse buys and overspending.
Shop with your list, and remember this: If you miss a great deal today, there will always be another one coming soon.
3. Outrageous Shipping Charges.
Before you snag a really great online deal, make sure you check to see what the shipping charges are. Some online merchants will even default to a more expensive shipping option, so be sure to check before you submit your order.
And always check for online coupon codes before you buy. You can almost always find a free shipping offer or a discount big enough to cover the cost of shipping.
4. Sales That Aren’t Really Sales.
Some merchants (Amazon is one) will jack up the prices on popular items just so they can make it look like they’re offering huge discounts when they drop the prices back down. Pay less attention to the percentage off and more attention to the bottom line prices.
Do your homework and know the average prices for the items you’re buying. You’ll be better equipped to identify a deal when it pops up.
5. One-Stop Shopping.
Big online retailers want to be the go-to place for all of your shopping needs. And they’ll offer some great prices on key items to lure you in. You’ll pay for those bargains with higher prices on other items. The best deals are found when you shop around. Be willing to buy from more than one retailer to get the best bargains.
A few more online shopping tips
Remember that a lot of the money-saving tips you use when you shop in the store apply to shopping online, too. Always shop with a plan. Avoid distractions. Try not to shop when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Keep good records of what you’ve bought so you stay on budget. (I love using Evernote for this!)
Shopping online can be simple, convenient and fun, when you know what online shopping traps to avoid.
About Christina Brown
Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.