8 Online Shopping Hacks Everyone Should Know

Should You Use Credit or Debit When Shopping Online?

While brick-and-mortar stores still account for most shopping purchases, almost 70% of adult consumers shop online at least once a month, according to the global market research firm Mintel,

If you’re like me, you love the convenience of shopping in your PJs. But how do you find the best deals? The following tips will help you score the very best price on everything, from books to the shelves that hold them.

1. Do Your Homework

To make sure you’re getting the best price, use comparison sites like Price Grabber or Yahoo Shopping before deciding on a site. Simply enter the name of an item and all the retailers that carry it, and the store with the best price should magically appear.

2. Get Dynamic

If you have the patience, watch how a product’s price fluctuates over the course of a week or more. Many sites use “dynamic” or “surge” pricing, which can cause prices to rise and fall due to demand and other factors. Rumor has it some sites even price items based on your personal browsing habits, so try clearing your search history before shopping.

An easy way to keep an eye on prices at popular e-tailers like Amazon, Newegg and more is with price alerts like the ones provided by Slickdeals. Just create an alert for a specific item and you’ll receive an email if the price drops below a certain amount. When the price is right, pounce.

3. Look out for Coupons

Now that you’re armed with info on which retailers have what you want at the lowest price, see if you can get an even lower price by looking for coupons on sites or apps like Dealnews and FatWallet. You may not find a discount or free shipping offer to apply to your purchase, but it’s worth a try.

4. Give a Gift to Yourself

Check sites like GiftCardGranny and Cardpool to look for discounted digital gift cards for the site where you plan to shop. You may save anywhere from 2% to 30% on your purchase.

5. Become a New Customer

If you have not shopped on a certain site before, you probably have a “new customer” discount coming your way, which will pop up when you visit the site. And whether you are a new customer or not, familiarize yourself with the store’s return policies. While most e-tailers accept returns, some won’t do it for free, so it’s good to know the rules just in case.

6. Let It Be 

If you can bear to wait, try leaving your item in the shopping cart for a day. The e-tailer might send you an email offering a discount on that item. Or you might find a discount in your social feeds. Be mindful that if the product’s already on sale, it could sell out while you wait.

7. Ship Items Free

Try to avoid paying for shipping if you can help it. Some sites offer free shipping all the time and some have fairly low spending thresholds, like $25. Rather than pay $7.95 or so for shipping, consider adding a low-priced (but useful) filler item like a pair of socks to score free shipping. If you shop with Amazon but don’t have Prime, try the helpful Filler Item finder for suggestions on what to buy to reach their $35 free shipping threshold.

8. Join the Club 

If there are sites you like to shop, sign up for their mailing list so you can be privy to sales and other special offers. Some sites even send discounts on birthdays or offer bonuses for referring a friend. Following your favorite online brands on social media will also keep you abreast of sales.

Remember, when shopping online it pays to be safe. If you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised, you can check your credit report for signs of fraud on Credit.com.

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