Friday, February 25, 2011

Financial Friday: Smart Shopping, Online Edition

I posted about Smart Shopping when I witnessed something in the check out lane at Kroger, during their famous “Mega Event.” I would now like to post about how you can save EXTRA money by simply – shopping online.

A lot of people think that shopping online encourages more spending. While this is true, you know your limits and are in perfect control of this.

I was not an internet shopper until about 1 year ago. I thought “why would someone shop online and pay shipping & handling, when they can go to the store?” Little did I know the perks to shopping online.

I have gotten so many incredible deals from shopping online. The key is PATIENCE! (Isn’t it funny how patience plays such an important, vital role in every aspect of your life!)

Here are some Keys to Smart Online Shopping:
1) Patience – If you want something, don’t buy it right away. Wait to see if there any deals come up.
2) Have a Plan – Know what you want and how much you want to spend.
3) Buy When it’s Cheap – Even if you might not need it right then and there, think about the future – will you possibly need it? In the long run, will you save money if you purchase right now? If there is room in your budget, buy!
4) Watch for Deals & Sales – Keep your eyes and ears plugged for deals. I post a lot of stuff on my blog, and you can always do a Swagbucks search to locate any deals.
5) Research Coupon Codes – I use Swagbucks to search for coupon codes. Very rarely do I come up empty handed.
6) Shop thru an Affiliate – There are several cash back sites available. Look thru each of them and find the biggest % cash back. Here are a few examples: ShopAtHome, Ebates, and of course your own credit card companies.
7) Use your Credit Card (Know your Reward Program) – Certain cards have a block of months where you will get more cash back. In March, Discover has 5% back on Grocery & Drugstore purchases.
8) If Possible, Test Before You Buy – Buying online is not always easy, especially with apparel. If it’s not too much of a hassle, it might be worth your time and effort to go try on or test the item at the store. Then go buy online, use your coupon codes, free shipping, etc. to get an awesome deal.
9) Store Shipping Option – A lot of stores will offer FREE shipping if you choose “in store pick up.” I know Best Buy does this.

One of my most recent scores has been Asics Shoes. At the time we bought them, we didn’t need brand new shoes, but this deal was too good to pass up. We go thru tennis shoes about every 6 months, so between the 2 of us, for good quality shoes, we could pay up to $400 at the store per year! YIKES!! Knowing that my husband needs good, quality shoes for his job, I decided I couldn’t pass up on this deal.

• Asics Shoes were up to 65% off thru
• Shipping was ONLY $2.95 if you bought them on Valentine’s Day
• No Sales Tax
• I used Swagbucks to find a coupon code. I found a 15% off code that took off $11.81
• We ended up paying $69.89 for 2 pairs of shoes
• I shopped thru ShopAtHome and got $5.51 back on my (original total) purchase $78.75
• I used my Discover CC and got back $.70
• After all was said and done, we only paid $63.68 for 2 pairs of shoes (Value $150, with sales tax - $162.38)

I was a little hesitant in buying SHOES thru a website, since we didn’t try them on, didn’t know if they ran small or large. We received our shipment within 3 days, and Brian LOVES his shoes! I love mine too, but I was more concerned about him (he’s picky!)

Here’s some more examples:
Contacts – Shopped thru Discover to 1-800-Contacts, got 10% back, no sales tax, and FREE shipping. I saved $6.20.
LCD TV – Shopped thru Discover to Best Buy, FREE in-store pick up, got back 5% (this 5% was BIG on our TV and paid for our Anniversary meal!)
Vacuum Cleaner – Shopped thru Discover to Best Buy, FREE in-store pick up, got back 5%, Promo - $10 Best Buy GC.
Checks – Shopped thru Ebates to 4Checks, got 12.5% back, no sales tax, and FREE shipping. I only spent $3.54 on TWO boxes of checks.

Use these tricks to your advantage. You might not think these small dollar amounts are significant, but they certainly do add up. Think of all the random things you buy through out the year.

Food for thought…

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