Chances are you may be doing a little more online shopping this year, or more likely, a lot more online shopping. As online retail continues to grab market share, more and more consumers are turning to the internet for everyday staples, holiday gifts, and even groceries, but how do you keep your spending under control?
It is easy to get carried away as you shop online, filling your virtual cart with item after item and spending real money in the process. But there are also ways to beat the online merchants at their own game, starting with the ten money-saving tricks listed below.
1. Download a savings code finding app. Online retailers routinely publish money-saving codes, but seeking these codes can take a long time. Downloading and using a targeted app will help you find the best codes, saving you money in the process.
2. Buy discount gift cards and use them online. Several websites sell gift cards at a discount, and buying them could save you 10%, 20%, or even 30% or more. You can even purchase online gift codes that can be used at your favorite retail websites and make your dollars go that much farther.
3. Shop with your accumulated credit card points. If you have credit card rewards, you may get more bang for your buck by using them online. Look for special offers that let you use points in exchange for additional discounts and savings.
4. Research price protection policies. Speaking of credit cards, the plastic in your wallet may provide additional protection against future price drops, so check out those programs and sign up. In addition, you could get money back via statement credit or cold hard cash should the price of your purchased items fall later on.
5. Abandon your cart. Retailers have a vested interest in having you complete your purchases, and they often reach out with additional enticements to close the deal. Adding items to your cart and then abandoning the proposed purchase could get you those extra savings.
6. Become a new customer. When you visit a new online retailer for the first time, you may see offers designed for first-time customers. It could be a free shipping offer, a percentage off in exchange for your email address, or even a gift with purchase. Being new has its perks, so take the retailers up on their special offers.
7. Look for online coupons. You do not have to go through the newspaper to find some great coupons; there are plenty of money-saving offers online. Some coupons are offered by the manufacturers or by the retail outlets themselves, but they could save you a great deal of money no matter where they originate.
8. Sign up for the loyalty club or program. Most grocery stores and online stores offer loyalty programs. If joining the store’s reward club requires opening a credit card, this could adversely affect credit scores, so be cautious. You may have to pay a premium for some, but many are free to join. By signing up, you’ll receive members-only discounts that automatically get deducted at checkout. Wouldn’t it be nice to get free shipping on your purchases?
9. Check out resellers for cut-rate deals. Resellers are popular online outlets, and finding them could save you a lot of money. Some resellers specialize in returned and refurbished merchandise, while others focus on overstocks or slightly damaged goods. Just be sure you understand the guarantees and refund policies of these resellers; they are likely to be more restrictive than those of traditional online retailers.
10. Add items to your wish list. If you have time to spare, try adding the stuff you want to an online wish list. Many retailers will reach out when prices drop, enticing you to purchase your wished-for items and saving you money in the process.
Shopping online is undoubtedly convenient, with fast and often free shipping and a massive selection of merchandise at your fingertips. But buying online is not always the lowest priced option, and there is no guarantee that you will get the best deal. So before you start, do research, and compare prices. And if you want to save money and enjoy the convenience of online shopping, the tips listed above may help get you started.