Online Shopping: A Money-Saving Initiative?

 

Online shopping: A Money-Saving Initiative?The popularity of online shopping has grown rapidly in recent years, and the global e-commerce industry is predicted to exceed a trillion dollars by 2015. In the US,  Black Friday has become an international event, with retailers promoting holiday goods even beyond the borders of North America. Citizens from around the world tapped into this one-weekend buying frenzy. Although the UK, Australia, Canada and the US are the prime customers, this ‘globalizing internet culture’ is also becoming widespread even in the Middle East. In fact, a survey released early in 2012 revealed that almost 50% of shoppers in Qatar use the internet to make purchases.

 

All of this begs the question – is shopping online really saving people money? Many primarily use online shopping to search for airline and concert tickets, plus music downloads and medicines. Of course, user habits vary widely throughout the world, but here are a few ways that you can use the internet to your advantage when making purchases.

 

Price Comparisons

One of the best parts about online shopping is the fact that you can easily browse and compare items without leaving your living room. Booyah! There are plenty of price comparison sites available for a variety of items. These sites are particularly helpful when it comes to shopping for expensive lifestyle goods – including hotels, flight,s and package vacations. Of course, you can also carry out your own specific comparisons easily without trawling around a series of shops in order to find what you’re looking for.

 

Online Banking

Online shopping doesn’t just have to be just for travel, however. You can also use the internet to find great rates at different banks and brokerage houses. Do you want to make your money work for you? Then, search around for the best savings accounts. Or, if you are taking out a loan, shop around online to find the best interest rates for borrowing money. Often time, the best available rates are found only on the internet.

 

Coupons and Vouchers

There are many sites dedicated to providing vouchers and coupons. Whether you are looking to dine out, enjoy a luxurious spa day, take advantage of discounts on high street items, or take the whole family to local attractions, you can find great deals by jumping on your computer. Search around for those relevant to your area before making your selection. Are you looking for savings on something specific, like groceries? You might be able to go online and find printable coupons for offers on specific items. If you are in the US, check out sites such as CouponMom.com.

 

Social Media

Investing some time in your social media accounts may help you save your cash when shopping in the future. By liking your favorite retailers on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and sharing their posts, you will be able to keep track of special offers and discounts that are only available online. Additionally, many companies run competitions and giveaways, so keep your eyes peeled and do some research.

 

Returns and Shipping Fees

One way to have your budget blindsided is by not understanding an online store’s delivery fees. Make sure to carefully check these out. Usually, you can avoid paying delivery fees – or at least get a discount – by ordering several items at once. A retailer’s return policy is also important. Make sure that it is free to return your goods before purchasing – especially if there is a chance that you may either dislike the item or that it may not fit. If you purchased the item from a large chain retailer, you may be able to take your returns to the nearest store rather than mailing them back, which will speed up the return process.

 

Overall, shopping online certainly has its advantages, and there are an abundance of money-saving techniques. Start by using these tips, but feel free develop your own money-saving methods too. Your pocketbook will thank you for it!

 

 

About Greg

Greg Johnson is a proud husband, father, and debt crusader who believes in living life now while saving for the future. He is the co-founder of the personal finance website Club Thrifty, where he brings the awesome sauce each and every day.

Comments

  1. Sometimes I save money with online shopping and sometimes not. I just bought airline tickets and the price was virtually the same on the discount websites as on the airline’s website. I have bought a lot of stuff from Amazon in my past and I love it for the selection, reviews, and vastly lower than brick and mortar store prices.

  2. Shopping online can save you a lot of money over going to a brick and mortar. But sometimes it turns out to be similar to those cable shopping channels. People have so many options and often there are people who cannot turn down a deal. Because they’re bombarded, they end up spending so much more than they would in a regular store.

  3. I am a fan of online shopping. Just last night I placed online orders from 2 stores for pick-up. I use it as a money saving strategy. If I’m left to wander a store I will inevitably fill up a cart. But if I can just run in and pay for an order that’s all ready for me – My wallet wins.

  4. We tend to do a lot of research on shopping, and don’t end up doing too much of it online. If we do, it’s usually a very specific item that can’t be found locally at the same price. I HATE having to return something if I bought it online. It’s the biggest PITA to return ship!

  5. I do almost all of my shopping online. Saves money, gas, and headache! Plus maximizes rewards cards!

  6. I love online shopping. It’s so much easier to browse online and have things delivered to your home. I especially like the free super saver shipping on Amazon, and will usually purchase things on Amazon if I don’t need them immediately vs. shopping at Target or some other brick-and-mortar store.

  7. We do most of our shopping online and think you can, in general, save money by doing so. We always look for a coupon code to try and save money or get something like free shipping thrown in. Even without the possibility of saving money, another huge benefit is not having to deal with the masses at the mall.

  8. I´ve only shopped online once. I had saved up money for a decent pair of high heels that could go with everything. I had tried the shoes in a store, but they didn`t have my size! So I went online, and found the exact ones, but for the same price. But then I discovered that I could get $20 off if I signed up for a newsletter. Definitely worth it.
    But other than that, I don´t buy anything online. when it comes to clothes I have to try them on before buying. I think many people order a lot of clothes online, hoping it`ll fit, and when it doesn`t the clothes just ends in the back of the wardrobe closet. Such a waste!

  9. Except for groceries, my wife and I almost exclusively shop online now. It is just too easy, way cheaper and far more convenient, why wouldn’t you?

  10. We have Amazon Prime, and up until recently I thought it was pretty amazing. Until I opened a browser where I wasn’t logged into Amazon yet. I noticed the price of the item I wanted to buy and the shipping cost. When I logged in, the price went up, higher than the previous product + shipping cost, but it said “free shipping”. I still bought it, but I felt scammed out of my $80 a year membership fee.

  11. I love shopping online, especially if it’s for items that I know I will buy regardless. Often the price is the same or better, and even if the price is equal, it then takes away the costs associated with driving to the store, as well as the time to do so.

  12. I do all my banking and lots of shopping online, so convenient to do it at any time of the day. But sites are getting really good at tempting you with additional products! Yes, Amazon, I am looking at you haha

  13. I hate to go shopping, but love online shopping because I can use shopping bots to find the lowest prices.

  14. Great points, Greg. Interesting to consider the role of money perhaps not seeming as “real” – or certainly not as tangible – when shopping online.

  15. I almost never buy anything online unless I was planning to buy it anyway. The price comparisons have saved me a ton of money and the return policies are normally pretty reasonable but I do ensure I always check. I definitely don’t want to get hit with online restocking fees and similar ripoffs.

  16. Online shopping is definitely easier, instead of going out to the store. But it’s an easy trap to fall into, for those with spending issues.

  17. I love some online shopping. I do it on the regular and I save money doing it. I do know that I can pit companies against each other, especially national retailers. Most of them will price match in order to win the sale, so I use my smart phone and search the web for a good price and see if they will match it in the store. It works most of the time.

  18. Online is always the first place I look to shop. Been on eBay since Noah came out of the ark and sold his surplus straw there. The best thing is eBates, which pays me cash back on just about anything I buy online. They send actual checks you can cash and use for anything.

    Costco and Walmart (don’t shoot me!!!) are great online vendors, because returning stuff is a no-hassle, at the store affair. (Both charge sales tax, though.)

  19. I like online shopping since brick and mortar shops never seem to have my size or the color I want. I look for sales and free shipping (or can be returned at the store), since shipping costs can get outrageous.

  20. Pretty much addicted to Amazon here. I do a TON of comparisons before making online purchases, but it’s almost ALWAYS cheaper. We haven’t had many issues at all. Also, like you said, a simple search for coupons can net you an even bigger discount :) I LOVE INTERNETZ!!!

  21. Great post Greg. One thing I like to do when I comparison shop with Amazon is to add the product to my shopping cart, because a lot of times prices can fluctuate on an hour by hour or even minute by minute basis and when you add it to you amazon cart the price will automatically update.

  22. I prefer shopping online and enjoy the convenience when buying routine items like white t-shirts and socks. I can do it from my living room and with Amazon prime it’s at my doorstep in 2 days. I was surprised to hear that around 50% is done online in Qatar. For some reason I didn’t expect that.

  23. I’m a big fan of online shopping, in part because of the convenience. Time is money and it takes a lot of time running from store to store! Also being able to comparison shop is a huge advantage too. I’m not a big couponer when it comes to regular retail stores but when I shop online I always do quick search for discounts – particularly for free shipping.

  24. I like to buy gifts online, but I hate to order clothes from the internet. I have to try them on. Amazon is probably my favorite becaues it’s so dang easy. Ebay is a close second.

  25. I do most of my shopping online I think. But you’re right in that it’s always best to make sure you know what the return policy is.

  26. Diligence really pays off with online shopping. You have to run the numbers on whatever you want to purchase.

    And Just like brick and mortar, there are deals to be had if you are patient in your shopping.

  27. Great point about reminding people to know the return policy. Most people just throw unwanted online purchases in the bottom of the closet because returning something you bought online seems like such a hassle.

  28. It can be good. So easy to comparison shop and it makes it easy to buy in bulk and adds the convenience of having it delivered. I also like the reviews from real buyers who have lived with the purchase — a bit of a step up from salespeople who’ve used it in the store, if at all. And no high-pressure sales or negotiating either

  29. online shopping helps in saving your time and money, it is another way to explore variety of products before making your final decision.

  30. Greg you right online shopping is now a trend, it saves money and also saves a lot of time.

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