Save Money Shopping Online by Taking These Steps Before Buying

Jonny Hector

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After months of searching online, you’ve found your dream handbag. It’s the right color, it’s being sold by a trusted source, and it’s within your budget. But before you commit to that purchase, you should take a few moments to make absolutely sure you’re getting the best deal.

Google it

Pop the manufacturer and product name into Google. Your initial search results will show you a few other places to buy the item in question, and it’s worthwhile to click through the top five or six to make sure you’re getting the lowest price. You can also utilize the “Shopping” tab or start at Google Shopping. There are other price comparison tools out there, but Google tops them all in terms of depth and breadth.

Look for coupon codes

Even if they’re not publicized on the site itself, many vendors offer discounts that can be accessed with a simple code at checkout. Some of these codes are sent to newsletter subscribers, others may accompany a printed catalog. You can start with a simple search: Input  “[store name] coupon” and see what comes up. In most cases, you’ll be directed to coupon code sites like Retail Me Not and Coupons.com where you can search for applicable codes. You can certainly skip Google and start your coupon search at your favorite couponing site. However, sometimes brands will post codes themselves – Sephora does this – so you may miss out if you rely on a single coupon source. 

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Check Amazon

Since Amazon has become The Everything Store, it is a shopping resource that should always be consulted. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are often full price at department stores but discounted on Amazon. In fact, Amazon owns Zappos and 6pm.com but often sells the exact same products at lower prices.

Check eBay

If you’ve never bought through eBay, start here and learn the basics. If you’re familiar with the site and its policies, include eBay in your pre-purchase research. Current season merchandise is frequently sold at sizable discounts and if you’re leery of buying used you can limit your searches to “New With Tags” or “New Without Tags” items. You may get an even better deal if you’re willing to buy a floor sample or an item with minor damage. As always, check your seller’s feedback rating to make sure they’re trustworthy and legit.

Consider newsletter signup

Virtually all online vendors will offer you 10% or 15% off your first purchase if you sign up for their email newsletter. Typically, you will be sent a code immediately and can complete your purchase using it, but sometimes it takes a few hours to show up in your inbox. If you dislike being bombarded by sales pitches, simply unsubscribe after clicking, “Buy.” However, newsletter subscribers often get exclusive codes, so it might be worthwhile to stay on the list. Consider setting up a separate email account for coupons and offers so they don’t clog your inbox.

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Many online shoppers also utilize cash-back tools like Freeshipping.com and eBates and these can certainly be added to your pre-purchase checklist. But if you’d rather keep it simple, just remember to compare and coupon before committing. 

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