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Save Money by Shopping Online

by Tracy Stine 6 months ago in how to

Save More than In-Store Shopping

Save Money by Shopping Online
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I'm sure many of us have been shopping online for a while, especially during the recent quarantine. Have you noticed that you've been saving money by shopping online?

Want to save even more? Check out these 5 ways to save!

1. Use Shopping Apps

Use shopping apps that give you coupons and cash-back offers on all your online purchases.

My top 3 favorite shopping apps are:

  • Swagbucks - Earn $10 for signing up, get access to a huge variety of money-earning opportunities besides shopping, and refer your friends and get $3 + 10% lifetime earnings when they sign up.
  • ShopKick - Earn $1 just for signing up and earning 50 "Shopkicks" within 7 days. Easily earn by purchasing with your linked debit/credit card, scanning a receipt, making online purchases, and several other ways.
  • Ibotta - Earn a $20 sign-up bonus and earn cash-back from a variety of stores, loyalty card connections, friends and community bonuses, and more.

Compare the different apps cash-back bonuses and shipping costs. One advantage is that you can sometimes claim your e-receipt on more than one app for even more savings.

I also use the local grocery stores' apps to order food delivery through Instacart, which also offers many bonuses and discounts.

2. Compare Prices

One excellent advantage of online shopping is the ability to compare prices right there on your screen. It used to be very time-consuming to go through flyers for useful coupons to clip, or to drive to the various local stores to compare prices. Now it's all at your fingertips.

Here's how you can check for the lowest prices online or in your area:

  • Use an app such as PriceGrabber
  • Shop on Google and it will give you a side-by-side comparison
  • Compare on the shopping apps I mentioned for the biggest cash-back offer
  • Add a browser extension such as PriceBlink
  • Explore your phone or tablet's app store for similar shopping apps to use to your advantage.

    3. Save Time

    We usually take shopping as a fact of life - we need to eat, to live, to work, and so on. So, we probably don't take into account how much time it actually takes to do all our shopping.

    Let's take a little peek at some examples:

  • Driving time - The average household primarily shopped at a store 3.79 miles from home.
  • Time to Shop - The average shopping trip is 41 minutes. Most households go 1.5 times a week.
  • Kids - As a parent, you know how long it takes to get kids ready, loaded up into the car, unloaded, dragging them around the store....need I say more?
  • Scheduling - Who really wants to shop between work and home? Spend a few hours on the weekend shopping when you could have much needed or wanted downtime. Shopping online means you can shop all hours of the day or night - no planning around the business hours. Do your shopping in bed after everyone's finally asleep.
  • 4. There's Nothing to Distract You

    Save money shopping online by not getting distracted by a variety of things that eventually hurt your budget.

    Such distractions as:

    • Sales Racks - Those aisle displays showing things on sale, our brain gets fooled into thinking we're saving money - but did you need it in the first place? You save 100% by not buying it, hmmm?
    • Impulse Shopping - Those last minute items thrown into the cart because we're hungry or we wanted it costs an average of $182.98 a month!
    • Again, the Kids - There's no toy aisle, cereal aisle, or candy aisle for kids to start begging, screaming, and what-have-you to get what they want.

    A bonus feature of many shopping online apps is that you can see the running balance of what's in your cart - something you really can't do in person - this can help stay within budget.

    5. Hidden Bonuses

    Did you know there are a few hidden bonuses for shopping online that cannot be found in-store?

    Here's a few sneaky ways:

    • Abandoned Carts - Over half of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart - mainly due to high taxes or shipping fees. If you have an account with a retailer and have items in your shopping cart, they will notify you when those items prices go down. (Use this as sort of a "wishlist" for yourself).
    • Get Refurbished Items - Check out the store's refurbished or "as is" section and save big. Many items were returned to the store for "minor" things and are still under warranty. How much can you save? Let's look - brand new AirPod Pros from Best Buy cost $249.99 , but a refurbished, "certified" pair cost $199.99. You saved $50 and if you shopped through Swagbucks, you'd earn $4 cash-back.
    • Free Items - When shopping online you can get free items in several ways:

    - On Amazon, delay your shipping date and get free digital products for free

    - On online stores you can get loyalty points to redeem, email or online advantages not offered in-store

    - For food delivery, if a product is unavailable, sometimes they'll subsitute a larger size at no extra cost, or mistakes in deivery enables to to keep the extra items anyway. (I got free salad dressing, cheese, and canned vegetables because the driver grabbed someone else's order with mine).

    Conclusion

    So, grab that calculator and do a little calculating on how much you're truly spending when shopping in person. Add up the gas, extra stops, impulse buys, and fast food meals (yeah I know, we spend all that money on groceries, but grab a pizza on the way home).

    You may realize you're saving so much more buying online.

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    Tracy Stine

    Freelance Writer. ASL Teacher. Disability Advocate. Deafblind. Snarky.

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