If we were to draw up a list of the great wonders of the world in a 21st-century context, the internet would undoubtedly take the first position. It expands our collective consciousness, connects a world as one, and, perhaps even more importantly, can save you money!
Be it clothing, car insurance, ice skates, food, electronics, books, music, construction equipment, and even cars, shopping online provides a platform of cost efficiency that is unmatched elsewhere. This post explains the reasons why shopping online can save you money, before highlighting some top tips for maximizing your cash saving.
So Why is Shopping Online More Cost-Effective?
A typical market, say a flea market or a page in company listings catalog, comprises a limited group of competing retailers or service providers vying for your custom. This means they will offer a range of goods and compete on prices, both to maximize the chance of a sale.
Internet retail and service provision works along similar lines but is populated by an overwhelmingly larger and more plural variety of buyers and sellers. This means the range and stock of goods available is massive in comparison, providing you, the consumer, with far more options to choose from.
You have far more substitute goods available, so you can save money by choosing from a range of similar products or services at different prices. If you’re after a Santa Claus outfit for Christmas, you don’t have to pick the deluxe costume merely because it is the only option in stock; you can choose from a fuller range.
Additionally, because the pool of buyers and sellers is so large, what sellers want to sell and what buyers want to buy fit more closely together (on the whole), which increases competition between providers who have what you want, lowering prices.
How to Maximize your Money Saving when Shopping Online
The way to save money is to make use of this more powerful consumer position. Check around lots of different retailers as you would in the offline world, but without weaving in between other shoppers or carrying an umbrella!
Additionally, there are a plethora of available comparison sites and shopping-specific search engines that will aggregate the available products in your chosen search field, often to a high degree of specificity.
Take care, however, to also compare add-on costs, such as shipping, and any differences in returns policies. Signing up for ‘deal’ sites can also save you money, particularly when used alongside consumer message boards and rating sites, which allow you to gauge how good a deal really is.
Finally, keep in mind the basic question of any shopping – do I really want or need this, or is it just an impulse-purchase? Follow these tips and you’ll save your hard-earned cash!
Saving Money by Shopping Online
1. Look for Items Out Of Season
It is not unusual for some shoppers to look for items that are not in demand; if you choose to do this, you could save a considerable deal of money in the long run. When a store has an item that is inappropriate or unnecessary for the current season, the item may be reduced in price in order to get rid of it. Whether you seek a bathing suit or an umbrella, check your local store to locate exciting deals.
2. Check Price Comparison Websites
Another option available is a website that compares prices for merchandise. Many people choose to use a website of this kind because it allows them to find the best deal. They may be looking for an insurance quote, or they may simply wish to get television at a low price.
There are several websites that deal with price comparisons; though it may seem confusing, you will soon learn how to check all of them and benefit from the information. Ask somebody that you trust for further help if you need it.
3. Make a List of What You Want
What do you want? It is vital that you establish what you aspire to get before you drive to the mall or go on the Internet. You can use a piece of paper and a writing utensil to create the list; if this is not something that you wish to do, you can use a writing program on your computer.
Take your time; do not rush the list if you are unsure about what to do. If you do not believe that you truly need to get something, exclude it from the list. A list helps you avoid impulsive buying, and you can also encourage loved ones to add to the list.
4. Create a Budget for the Household
A budget is an excellent way for a household to keep track of spending money. Many people have a household budget in place for this reason; how much can a household spend on food or other necessities? How much is available for amusement?
Divide your expenses up into separate sections. This may take some time, and you should not push yourself to finish quickly. Make sure that you set aside money for the important things before you consider extras.
5. Seek Out Cheaper Versions of Items
If you like designer items, this tip may be relevant to you. If you saw something at a store that you like, but it was too expensive, you do not have to give it up. Instead, you can recreate what you want with things you have around the house.
For example, with some cloth and sewing supplies, you can imitate a designer purse; if you choose to do so, you can also replicate clothes. When you take on such an endeavor, you can save a lot of money and still look fantastic. You do not have to buy an expensive item to feel satisfied.
One huge saving that is not even offered by the stores or manufacturers is gas. It’s obvious that you will save on gas and other car expenses staying home and shopping online.
It’s also pretty obvious that gas prices have skyrocketed in the past few years. So anyway to keep from wasting gas is a huge benefit. No gas is being spent sitting in your chair and visiting stores online.
Another way to save money is with online coupons and discounts. There are places online, including the store itself that offers coupons online to use for online purchases. Before or during the time you are shopping online, you can visit some coupon websites for reference. You can search for coupons and discounts to use on items you may be looking to purchase.
8. Comparison and Convenience
Instead of wasting gas and time driving back and forth between stores to compare prices, you can search online and this allows you to comparison shop while sitting in front of your company. This saves money and time. Comparison shopping is very convenient because it always you to browse through each site for similar or the same items.
Paying for your online purchases can save you money too. Although there may be shipping and handling charges, shopping online can still beat going back to the store if the item isn’t available in the store the moment you are ready to buy it.
Many times items are no longer in stock and you end up making an extra trip back to the store or traveling to another store to find the same item.
Shopping online eliminates this. If the item is not in stock, you can search for it somewhere, buy something similar on the website, or you may be able to find out when the item will be back in stock without traveling back to the store.
Read the reviews and ratings on different items that will help you save money. This is a great benefit for shopping online. Instead of guessing if an item is what you need; you can read what the pros and cons are with the product before you buy it.
Many times you may have a question about an item while browsing in the store, you can ask a store clerk but they may or may not be able to help you. They also may just want to sell you the item. Reading reviews and ratings about products online gives you more insight into the product and can help save you money.