My Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

I’ve mentioned before that I like love online shopping. Online shopping just suits me well. I like to take my time and do research to make sure that I find the just the right product, particularly when it comes to big ticket items. I also tend to have expensive taste, so finding good deals is key. Now that I have Rylan, it is more difficult to get out to the mall or other stores, so being able to click a button and have something delivered to my door is, frankly, amazing. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.  Here are some ideas for maximizing your online shopping experience:

 Amazon.com

Although we’ve always been close, Amazon.com has become one of our best friends since Rylan was born. You can seriously find almost anything on Amazon, from gluten-free groceries to LCD TVs. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper, it makes sense to become a member of Amazon Prime. For one annual fee of $79, you get free two-day shipping on anything sold or fulfilled by Amazon, and one-day shipping for $3.99. You also get unlimited movie and TV streaming to your computer. It sounds like a high price initially, but it pays for itself quickly.

If you have kids, you can also sign up for Amazon Mom, which is a free membership for parents and caretakers. By signing up you get Amazon Prime shipping benefits (no instant streaming, though) for three months, and you can extend it up to a year- the time frame is extended with every purchase from the baby store. You also get 20% off diapers and wipes when you do the Subscribe & Save option. When signing up for Subscribe & Save, you select how many boxes of an item you want to receive in a given month. You are alerted when items are about to ship, allowing you to change or cancel a shipment as necessary. We buy our diapers and wipes through Amazon Mom Subcribe & Save, which 1)is a great deal and 2) we never have to run out for diapers in the middle of the night. We also now get toilet paper, paper towels, etc. through Subscribe & Save.

Check Daily Deal Websites

There are a lot of daily deal-type websites out there, including Groupon and Living Social. These deals are offered generally daily, and allow you to purchase a certificate for a local or online business for a significantly reduced price. There are so many different offers- everything from a month unlimited yoga to a four-hour photo booth rental. These are great deals, but remember, they are only good deals if you actually are going to use them. While I receive emails and check the deals almost daily, I’ve only purchased a few things: JC Penney Portrait Studio Package, Whole Foods gift certificate, etc. On Living Social, if you get three people to purchase the deal through your link, you get your deal for free!

There are also other daily deal websites that offer products.  The ones I currently check are baby-related, but there are others, too.  BabySteals, BabyHalfOff, and GreenBabyBargains offer one deal at a time.  BabySteals offers two steals per day- at 9AM and 9PM MDT.  BabyHalfOff and GreenBabyBargains offer one deal per day.  TheMiniSocial and Zulily offer multiple deals per day.  Caution- these site offer awesome deals, but they are addicting!  If you really want to save money, be realistic about what you need and would buy anyway, and not just buy something because it is a good price.  A onesie that was $40 and is on sale for $25 is still a $25 onesie!

Use Coupon Codes

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS do a quick Google search for coupons before you buy anything online. Don’t waste too much time searching (I once searched for 2-3 hours and ended up saving 5 or 10 dollars..worth it? Probably not), but do a quick search including the name of the website and the word “coupon”, “coupon code”, or “promo code”. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to save 10-25%. Might as well, right? Also, some websites, like Kohls.com, allow you to enter multiple coupons. If this is the case, pay attention to the order they are applied (for example, enter a code for 25% off first, then one for an extra $5 off).

Email and Social Networking Alerts and Offers

I have a separate email account that I use just for signing up for websites. So many websites now require you to sign in, and I don’t want all this spam in my regular email inbox. I do, however, like the coupons and sale alerts that you get sent once in awhile. So, I just use my “spam” account, and then check that account once a day or every other day to see what is going on. Also, if you follow businesses on their social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, sales and deals are often broadcast that way as well.

Research first, then compare prices

When I go to purchase something, I like to research first. For example, when I bought my digital camera, I spent awhile searching different blogs, forums, and ratings websites to determine the model that I wanted to buy. Once I find what I want, I go to Google and type in the name or model number of the product. Then, I click “Shopping” on the left-hand side, or on the toolbar at the top of the page. This brings you to the comparison shopping page, where you can sort by price and find which website offers the best price.

Lastly, pay attention to taxes, fees, shipping rates, and return policies

 Although I like to use Google Shopping to find the lowest price, I consider other factors as well, including taxes, fees, and return policies. When I bought Rylan’s high chair, I purchased it from a website that I hadn’t bought from before, as the high chair was $20 cheaper than on Amazon.com. If I had purchased on Amazon.com, I would have had the high chair two days later, and would have been able to return it no problem if I changed my mind. With this other website, I ended up waiting 2 weeks (which seems like FOREVER when you are spoiled with one and two day shipping from other sites) and returns were a little more hassle. I felt like that was worth it to save $20, but I likely wouldn’t have done it for only $5 or $10 savings. If you buy something and want to return it, but can’t, you didn’t save any money. Good websites for great prices and excellent shipping rates and return policies are Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Diapers.com (sisters with Wag.com, YoYo.com, and Soap.com).

Do you have any online shopping tricks up your sleeve?  Know of any good websites for deals or great shipping/returns terms and conditions?  Please share!

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3 Responses to My Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

  1. Lana Clark says:

    I love all of the above! My only other money saving tip is leaving the item in my shopping cart for a few hours or overnight (when it’s not for essentials like diapers and toilet paper!) to gauge whether or not I really need to purchase it – not impulse buying saves money too! 🙂

    • Thanks, Lana! That’s a great tip that works well. I’ve been known to have a bunch of windows open when I’m considering purchasing things. Then, the computer reboots overnight once a week or so and I lose all the pages. If I can’t remember what it was that I was looking at, chances are I really didn’t need it!

  2. Merle Ellias says:

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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