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Super Online Shopping Tips!

Aug 11, 2012 12:00 am

Bitsy had a nifty quick tip this week about leaving items in your online shopping cart for a few days. It's a great way to curb impulse buys, and many stores will email you a 10% off code or offer free shipping as an incentive to complete the purchase. I am a HUGE fan of online shopping - with a 2 year old in tow, shopping in a brick and mortar store is more like a snatch and grab mission than a leisurely experience!  Here are 5 more great tips to keep in mind next time you are shopping online:

 


 

Always check for coupon codes: Never buy anything online without checking for a coupon code first! My go-to site is Retail Me Not. Other great sites are Tjoos and Coupon Mountain. Some stores are known for regularly having coupons; these include Sierra Trading Post, Land's End, Bath & Body Works, Bed Bath and Beyond and Buy Buy Baby. And even if a store has a coupon displayed on its webiste, still do a quick search. Often, you can find a better one!

 

 

Comparison Shop: It's so easy to comparison shop online, and only takes a few minutes. Try different variations on search terms to bring up the best variety of results. You can search through Google, or try a comparison shopping website like Shopzilla. And also remember to check online liquidator stores, such as Overstock and Sierra Trading Post, which have many quality brands at closeout prices. I recently saved a bunch of money on Keen sandals for my toddler. Originally listed on Sierra Trading Post at $29.95 on closeout, (down from $40) I had an extra 40% off coupon code which brought them down to $17.97. I had to pay $5.95 shipping, but the super low price made it okay. What a sweet deal!

 



Daily Deals: Who doesn't love a daily deal - Groupon, Living Social, Woot, Baby Steals, there's far too many to mention! But, it's easy to get caught up in the sense of urgency these websites have. There's the timer counting down, and the anxiety of potentially missing out if you don't buy immediately. Don't cave under the pressure! Always take a few minutes to google the product, and see what the regular going rate is for the item. On any website, the percentage of savings shown is based on the list price, also known as the RRP (recommended retail price) or MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) for an item. The list price is very often higher than what stores are typically selling it for, so that saving percentage can be a bit skewed.  Add in the price of shipping and the inability to return the item if you are unhappy with it, and suddenly that deal isn't looking as good!

 

    



Furniture: If you are looking for furniture, it can be tricky buying online sight unseen. Read as many reviews as you can from several websites, before making a purchase. Pay attention to the return policy (is there a restocking fee?), and especially to the return shipping costs. On the rare occasion I'm buying furniture new, I like Target, as I have the option to return in store instead of shipping the item back.  Or if your budget (like mine) puts you more into Craigslist territory, remember that a lot people are selling stuff dirt cheap, or even giving it away for free, at the end of month. We've all been there - moving date is looming, and suddenly, having less junk to cart to our new place is more important than making a few bucks. My husband and I picked up the Ikea credenza pictured above for $30! (It was quite an ordeal to get it out of a 4th floor walk up... but that's another story). The first week of the month is also a good time to look. This is when you get the people who have already moved, and just can't fit that extra bookshelf or wardrobe into their new place. If you'll have to rent a car to pick up the item, remember to factor that in to the cost. Sometimes, it's cheaper to buy online from a store like Target, Walmart or Overstock, and get free delivery. Just remember to read those reviews first before buying!

 

  


Craigslist and Ebay:
So, you just can't afford to buy new, or you're looking for a discontinued item that isn't sold in stores anymore, and are spending hours obsessively searching Craigslist and Ebay for what you want. Stop right now and get an app! You can set up searches for whatever you are looking for, and as soon as someone posts the item for sale, you'll get an alert.  I got a great deal on a fancy litter box for our cat, because I used the free Android app, Craigslist Notification. That app doesn't seem to exist anymore, but there are a bunch more available on Google Play. If you have an iPhone, check out CraigsPro+ and Craigslist Mobile Ultimate, both $2. The same goes for Ebay apps, (Android and iPhone) you can create and save searches, and are sent alerts when your watched items are ending.

What are your favorite online shopping sites? Have any other tips you'd like to share? Tell us about them in the comments below!

 

TAGS:
online shopping, online, shopping, deals, daily deals, sale, bargain, craigslist, ebay, Sierra Trading Post, overstock.com, coupon, retailmenot.com, apps, smartphone

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