How do your shopping online to score big deals
Everybody knows about the good deals you can find shopping online. When stores don’t have to pay for maintaining a physical retail store they can pass the savings on to their customers. Besides the low cost, the big advantage to buying online is the huge amount of information that is available to customer. Here is how to buy stuff online cheap by using that information to make sure you get every possible discount available to you:
Step 1- Can I buy it used?
Is this something you can buy used? There is no better way to buy something at a huge discount than buying something used off of Craigslist. Check out my guide to buying on Craigslist here. If you don’t want to buy it used, proceed to step 2.
Step 2- Wait for a deal
This may not be an option if you need something immediately, but if you can afford to be patient, the savings can be big. When I want to buy something, the first thing I do is check out my favorite websites that specialize in identifying good deals. Online forums such as fatwallet.com and slickdeals.net are places where people post and discuss the great deals they have found. Dealnews.com is another site that posts a lot of good deals. If you perform a search at these sites hopefully you will find a way to buy the item you want at a big discount.
If you don’t find what you are looking at these sites, this is where patience comes in. Almost everything goes on sale sooner or later, so you can check back at these sites periodically or you can set an alert so that you are emailed automatically whenever the item you want is discussed.
Step 3- Check the reviews
After I have found a good deal, the next thing I do is check online reviews to make sure the product will do what I want it to do. Most products can be found at Amazon.com and have already been reviewed by many people. I read both the good reviews and the bad reviews to try to figure out if the item will work well for me.
More in depth reviews can be found by doing a web search. For electronics, I like to check out the reviews at Cnet. For other items you might find reviews of the item you are looking for at any number of places, including blogs.
Step 4- See if anybody can beat the price you found
Before I buy anything I look around the internet and see if I can find the same item at a lower price someplace else. I check the usual discount stores such as walmart.com, target.com, and amazon.com. I then do a search at google.com/shopping which does a search at every retailer it can find to see if it can find a lower price.
Step 5- Use a discounted gift card
After you have found the biggest possible discount on the item you want to buy, see if you can find a discount on the money you buy it with. To do that, see if you can find a discounted gift card. For example, if you are buying an item for $100 and you pay for it with a $100 gift card you only paid $90 for, then you have saved yourself $10. My favorite sites to buy discounted giftcards are giftcardgranny.com and cardpool.com. If you buy an electronic giftcard, it can be emailed to you right away so that you can use it to make your purchase immediately.
Step 6- See if you can get cash back
Sometimes websites have what is known as an affiliate relationship, meaning instead of getting paid per click, the website gets paid a percentage of the sales price when a customer clicks on the advertisement on a website and then subsequently makes a purchase. A few websites turn around and give their customers cashback to encourage them to make their purchases by clicking on the advertisements found on that website. The website I use for this type of cashback arrangement is fatwallet .com, which often offers cash back of around 5% or so.
Step 7- Discount codes
When you are checking out, many websites have a box where a promotional code can be entered to get free shipping or an additional discount. Whenever you see this box, that is a clue that you should search around and see if you can find a discount code. To look for a promotional code, I normally open up another browser window and head back to fatwallet.com or slickdeals.net and do a search for a promotional code. If I can’t find one there, I will try retailmenot.com or a simple google search.
Several small discounts add up to big savings
Although any one of these steps may not add up to significant savings, the way to really score big on a great deal is to stack one deal on top of another one. If you can find multiple ways to save little bits of money the savings will add up to save you a lot of money.