Most of us shop online to save time by avoiding traffic, crowds, and endless searching for the perfect item. But, there are some great ways to save money by shopping online too.
From tools that help you find deals to stores that notify you of sales when you are on the go, here are several tips and tricks to help you hold onto more of your hard-earned cash.
There are so many extensions, depending on which browser you use, that it can make your head spin. So, here are just a few popular ones that not only work well and help you with your shopping, but are available for multiple browsers.
Honey (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari)
Honey is an awesome browser extension that not only gets you discount codes, but helps you apply them at checkout time. As you shop on sites like NewEgg, Groupon, or Papa John’s, Honey will search for coupons as well as sales available automatically.
When something is located, the icon in your toolbar will light up and the number found will display. Then, just hit that button to see all the coupons and sales found for that website. Honey currently supports over 1,000 stores internationally.
Shoptimate (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari)
When it comes to shopping, comparing prices with other stores is often the key to the best deal. Shoptimate is a very convenient tool for comparison shopping because it works automatically. As you are viewing a product, Shoptimate will pop right into the top of your window and show you where you can get a better price.
You can quickly see the lowest price and where to obtain it. There is also a handy button to see the rest of the prices and locations and you can go directly to another store on the list with a click. If you set up a free account with Shoptimate, you can also create price alerts, which is a huge plus.
Shoptagr (Chrome, Safari, and others via bookmarklet)
Shoptagr is another terrific extension that also has a mobile app. In partnerships with over 400 stores, Shoptagr works as a universal wish list plus an alert system.
When you find a product you would like to save for later, just access Shoptagr from your toolbar, and add it to your wish list. Then if the item goes on sale or becomes low in stock, you will receive an alert. This eliminates the constant checking you might do for that expensive item you are waiting to decrease in price.
With our ever-changing world of technology comes much convenience and when it comes to saving money, there are apps for that. See if your favorite trusted shopping stops have mobile apps for your phone or tablet.
Many now not only allow you to shop from your mobile device, but will also send you alerts for special deals and price drops. Another mobile option is an app like Shoptagr which we discussed above in the browser extension section that alerts you on your mobile device and in your browser.
This is a convenient way to keep up with sales and promotions because push notifications or text alerts will show right up on your screen. So, maybe you were not planning to look for that new television after work, but by seeing a limited-time sale alert on your phone, you may just change your mind.
Memberships and Refer-A-Friend Programs
More and more online retailers are trying their hands at different membership and promotional programs. In addition to assisting the stores with increasing their business, they can provide consumers with wonderful discounts. So, browse your favorite online stores and see if they have a membership or program that would be monetarily beneficial to you.
One such program, which has been quite popular, is Amazon Prime. This $99 per year membership entitles you to free, two-day shipping on many products. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper, then this membership is definitely worth it. And as with most memberships, there are other benefits as well such as access to the Kindle Lending Library, Amazon Prime Music, and Amazon Video. But, for the money-saving benefit of eliminating shipping costs, it can easily pay for itself in no time.
Another good example of a program that can help you save a few bucks is one from PetCareRX and is called PetPlus. If you are ordering medication for your pet, it is likely that you do it regularly. PetPlus provides free standard shipping and wholesale prices on products along with other member perks. The cost for this membership is $50 per year and just like Amazon Prime, if you order from the site often it will pay for itself.
Along with memberships at frequently-shopped stores, you should also keep your eye out for programs like refer-a-friend. Normally you will receive a discount for referring a friend who makes a purchase and often, the friend receives a discount too. You do have to rely on your pal to make a purchase to obtain the discount, but if you both shop online often for the same types of items, it can be a win-win situation.
Social Media Methods
It is pretty much unusual these days if a store does not have a Facebook or Twitter account, or both. But, what many do not realize is that special offers are often promoted via these social media outlets. If you follow a store on a site like Facebook, you will normally see their current deals right in your news feed.
As far as Twitter, it works the same way where you may see upcoming promotions while browsing your feed. However, if you create a custom list in Twitter for the stores you follow, it gets even easier. Then when you access Twitter, just select that list and view all the latest tweets from your preferred shops. More often than not, you will see a great deal you would have missed otherwise.
Pro tip: Create a custom Twitter list of your favorite stores for easy access to their updates.
So, remember that social media can be an easy avenue for finding deals that will save you money when you shop. Most stores have their Facebook and Twitter links right on their main page now. And, if you change your mind later you can always “unlike” their page or unfollow them.
One easy way to always stay up to date on the latest offerings is by signing up for the store newsletter. Almost every online shop offers some type of newsletter that you can receive via email. These handy communications deliver sale information, special promotions, and discount codes right to your inbox. There are often incentives given just for signing up, like 10 percent off your next purchase.
Now, signing up for every newsletter out there may end up flooding your inbox and those deals could easily be overlooked. However, if you have just a couple of stores that you shop at often, check out their available newsletter options.
Sales and Clearance Items
Another very simple thing to do when shopping online is to check the sale or clearance section first. This may sound obvious; however, many who are looking for a particular item will head to the search box right away and miss a great deal.
For example, while you may click on the Jeans section because that is exactly what you need, this means you just missed the clearance sale on certain brands. Or, if you are looking for a way to spend your store gift card, then popping over to the sale or clearance section first is definitely worth your time because you may end up with more bang for your buck.
Do you have online shopping money-saving tips?
We have covered several different ways for you to save money shopping online, but there are bound to be even more. Do you have a hidden gem we missed? Is there a secret for saving cash that you would like to share? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below!
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