Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Shopping Online 101

by heather

The other night as I was leaving work I was talking to a friend and she said that I needed to teach a class on shopping online. I don’t think that I know enough that I could talk about it for more than half an hour, but I certainly know enough to write a blog post. These are things I have learned through much trial and error. So this is for Teri and everyone else who would like a few pointers on saving money on your online purchases.

  • There is almost always a coupon code. If there is not a coupon, there is usually a discount or rebate. It is always worth looking. Thirty seconds of searching usually saves me at least $5.
  • Places to look for coupon codes: Upromise, Coupon Mountain, RetailMeNot There are many others out there, but these are the ones that I’ve had the most success with.
  • Places to get rebates: Upromise, Ebates and ShopAtHome.com. These places often have sign-up bonuses too. If having to use between a coupon and rebate I usually choose the coupon. But if there’s no coupon and I planned on spending the money anyway…why not get a rebate?
  • Compare prices. The internet is the fastest way to do this. I usually use Google Product Search. Even if I’m probably going to purchase an item in the stores, I often do a quick internet search so I have an idea of what a reasonable price is.
  • Look at your employee discounts. I can only speak for my employer and my husband’s, but using these discounts has saved us at least a few hundred dollars in just the past year. (My favorites are the 22% off my Verizon bill and perpetual B&N.com discount.) And look both places if you’re both employed. For example, for some reason my work gives a great deal to DisneyLand   ticketsand his (which is smaller more local employer) to DisneyWorld. I have no idea why this is, but it has been handy info. Some employers will also extend discounts to extended family. My husband was able to share his discount with his siblings. Ask your family members if they have discounts that they can share.
  • I love Amazon.com. At least half the time they have the best prices. Their site can keep track of what you buy for who and give you suggestions for other gift-d on giving occasions based on your previous purchases. You can also make a “wish-list” to make it a little easier for friends and family who never know what to get for you. Or when you come across something that you think someone will like, you save it in a gift-idea list for a future occasion. (Or you can look and see if they’ve made a wish-list and if there is anything on it that will fit the bill.) Also love their free shipping on $25(+). Plus you can really buy almost anything at Amazon. Some of the many things I have bought there- movies, books, music, baby clothes, a playpen, candy, a comforter, electronics, ace bandages, toys, kitchen tools and spices. Problem is they seldom have coupons that are actually of use to me.
  • I also love Barnes&Noble.com. Their online prices are quite often less than their store prices, plus then you can stack coupons with employee discounts or Upromise rebates. I’ve also snagged some great deals on music, movies and children’s toys from there. Again free shipping  on $25(+), but it’s significantly faster than Amazon’s free shipping.
  • I find that looking at something online and then coming back to it a day later if I really want it significantly decreases my impulse purchases. Whereas if I bother to drive to the store I am far more likely to make a purchase, because I don’t want to drive there again when I decide that I do really want said item. There is less time invested in the purchase this way.
  • Making your travel purchases online can save you so much money! If you plan on taking a trip, at least compare rates online before making a purchase.
  • I do a lot of shopping online because there is no babysitter required and I don’t have to feel rushed because my children are throwing tantrums. My computer will still be there when the kids have calmed down.
  • I always use a credit card. I have in fact had my credit card information stolen on a couple of occasions. (I do A LOT of online shopping.) But I just had to call my credit card company and tell them that I didn’t make said questioned purchases and every time they have given me the full credit and promptly issued new cards and my credit was not harmed. So nothing lost. Things may not be so easy if they were to snatch your bank account info. (It depends on your bank.) Credit cards also often give extended warranties on products like electronics.
  • I often buy non-perishable grocery items at Alice.com because they automatically apply some of the available coupons, offer competitive prices and free shipping and I don’t have to drag my kids to the store. They will also email you reminders when you’re nearly out of certain items if you wish. Last fall they had gift cards for 30% off, which means I’m essentially getting 30% off everything I purchase.
  • Shopping online for birthday gifts and Christmas presents saves me a lot of time and money and significantly reduces my holiday stress. (Why fight the after Thanksgiving crowds when I can sit in my pajamas eating leftover pie and get as good or sometimes better deals?)
  • Shopping online is just one of those things that can make your life easier. Give it a try. You may be amazed at what you might find. And it’s always fun to get packages in the mail.

Anyone else have any other effective online shopping tips?


    One Response to “Shopping Online 101”

    1. Hadley Family says:

      Thanks Heather!!! I loved it. It was just what I was looking for. You're the best!!!

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