6 tips to save more when online shopping
Don't Waste Your Holiday Money
Last Updated: 170 days ago
Forget spending 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot at the mall, or wasting gas money getting there.
We found a super online shopper right here in the Cincinnati area who does most of her holiday shopping without ever fighting crowds, and has some great tips for all of us.
Denise Anderson could write a book about how to shop and how not to shop online.
For instance, she says a common mistake many novices make it paying for shipping during the holiday season. "You could spend $15 to $20 on shipping and then the money's gone," she said. "That eats into any savings you just found."
Most Important: Free Shipping
So this busy Hamilton County mom says start by looking for free shipping and free returns before you click "check-out".
She said "free shipping and free returns are essential if you want to save a lot by shopping online. And a lot of the best companies that you purchase from online give you that and they send the label with it. If you're unhappy you box it right up and take it to the post office and there's no cost to you. "
The online site that made easy, free returns famous is shoe seller Zappos, and its sales have exploded as a result.
Best Way to Save on Out of Town Family
Denise tells us online shopping is a real plus, if you're buying gifts for out of town family or friends.
"For Christmas shopping," she said, "if you have family who lives far away, buy their presents online. I just have them shipped directly to Conneticut because I don't want to carry them with me when I travel."
Before You Buy
Denise's 6 tips to find the lowest prices at the safest retailers:
1. She says research both the product and the web retailer selling it for reviews.
2. Make sure the web retailer has a legitimate address in the continental US. Avoid any seller where you cannot find out where they are located (it could be offshore).
3. She suggests checking Consumer Reports Magazine and tech sites like CNET and Engadget for official product reviews. Also read customer reviews on Epinions and Amazon.
4. Denise also compares prices on multiple sites. Despite what many people believe, she finds that Amazon does not always have the lowest price.
5. Then search for promotional deals, by Googling the store's name and the word promo, such as "Banana Republic promo code."
6. And she always signs up for the store's emails. As soon as you do, you usually get a welcome email with some type of promotion.
Be Cautious of 3rd Party Sites
But she has a word of caution: sites like Amazon and Shopping.com often redirect you to smaller retailers these days.
"You go onto Amazon, they'll divert you to a different store and then I don't know that store and I don't know the history with that store. I may really be comfortable giving out my credit card information."
Also, many of those 3rd party sites do not offer free shipping, so read the fine print carefully.
Check for Flash Sales
Finally, our super online shopper says watch online shopping sites for "flash sales," where they offer big discounts during a certain time. Joining their e-mail club will alert you to these.
Denise says if you worry about getting too much junk mail, set up a separate Gmail or Yahoo account so your regular email account is not inundated.
As always, don't waste your money.
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