If you ask me, shopping from home is one of the best ways to shop, especially when you know how to save money when shopping online. Here are my top tips to help you find bargains and be a savvy online shopper.
Have a plan.
If you’ve followed this site at all, you know that a good shopping experience starts with a plan. Know what you have, know what you need, and set a budget for it. Even if you don’t do anything else, you’ll save money by starting with a plan.
With so many deals flooding the internet this season, it is easy to get caught up in the hype and lose track of when a deal is really a deal. Because so many deals start and end quickly, you won’t have much time to decide whether to buy or not. That is why having a plan is so important.
Look for online coupon codes and free shipping.
Never shop online without online coupon codes. You can find hundreds of online coupon codes from the searchable database provided by Savings.com at Northern Cheapskate to help you save. You’ll also find codes for free shipping. If you can’t get free shipping, be sure to check out stores that offer a site-to-store delivery option. You’ll still get the great online deals, but won’t have to pay the delivery charges.
Use cash back sites to shop online.
Cash back sites like Ebates are a great way to save money on your online purchases. Here’s how it works: When you shop through Ebates, Ebates earns a percentage of the sale from the online store where you made your purchase. They return a portion of that money back to you. I’ve used Ebates for most of my online shopping for the past four years and I’ve averaged $63 a year in savings. That’s money I can use to buy more stuff!
Shop with a sense of security.
Make sure you only shop at legitimate online stores. Never enter personal information (like credit card numbers) on a site that does not start with https:// in its URL. (The “s” indicates that the site is secure). Keep your antivirus software up to date.
Don’t shop online with a debit card. Most debit cards do not offer the same protections against identity theft that credit cards do. Some people opt to shop with gift cards or pre-paid credit cards, but you will need to do some research to find out what protections (if any) they offer. Some online merchants allow you to pay with PayPal, which is another suitable option for those who like to pay cash.
Many merchants give you the option of saving your credit card information to your profile on their websites. Don’t do it! The less places that have your credit card number, the better. You won’t have to worry if the information gets into the wrong hands, and you’ll be less tempted from making impulse buys if you have to manually enter your credit card each time you place an order.
Use a rewards credit card.
When used responsibly, rewards credit cards can really help you save money. Use a card that offers cash back, frequent flyer miles, or a generous points system that you can trade for things you want, and PAY IT IN FULL as soon as the bill comes every month. Don’t buy things on a credit card just to get the rewards, because if you carry a balance and pay interest each month, you’re not really saving any money at all.
Use common sense.
If an offer seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. If the site seems fake, it could very well be. If you have any doubts about whether or not to click “Buy,” then it’s almost always better to hold off on the purchase. Use your common sense when it comes to making your online purchases.
Make sure you know what features you want in a product, and what options might be available. Look at the reviews of the product (on more than one site if you have time) to help you decide whether or not a purchase is worth the money. Make sure you take a glance at the return policies and are comfortably with them if you find the product is not to your liking.
Get ready to shop!
So put on some comfy clothes, grab a beverage, and get ready, because now that you know how to save money when shopping online, there are deals to found!
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