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Tips for Saving When Shopping Online

Easy Steps for Saving While You Shop

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There are different ways to save while shopping online. A new trend for online retailers is to utilize their websites to sell out-of-season merchandise, allowing them to keep their brick-and-mortar stores stocked with the fresh new stock. Because of this trend, many times you can find merchandise that has been drastically reduced and is only available online.

Shopping online is also an excellent resource for finding matching pieces to an out-of-season outfit that is unavailable in your local stores. Searching the sale sections of online department stores and manufacturers who also have retail divisions is a good resource for picking up matching items you failed to get when the merchandise was current and in the local stores.

Compare Prices

Another advantage to online shopping is the capability to price-compare before buying. You can read reviews and visit manufacturer sites to read the specifics on products you are considering buying. When price comparing, you will want to add in all costs, such as shipping, restocking fees on returns, taxes and any other extras that may be added on. This is hard to do in local stores and often the only resource you have to compare prices is the advertising you see in your local paper.

Price Matching

Many of the online electronic and computer stores have adopted the policy of matching competitors advertised price on any item you buy. Some will do this up to two weeks after the purchase date. Check the online store customer service policies to see if they offer this customer courtesy. Remember to follow their policy correctly if you find what you have purchased at a lower price somewhere else. Most all stores require a copy of the advertisement and the item has to be the exact same model number.

Online Coupons and Free Shipping Deals

Every year the participation of stores offering exclusive online deals and discounts seems to grow. Retailers do not have to pay as much to do business online as they do in their local stores, so the cost of running good promotions does not hurt their bottom line as much. Competition is also just a mouse-click away, resulting in more aggressive marketing strategies and promotions. All of this is good for the online shopper and the savings can really add up. During peak shopping seasons such as in October and November, more online retailers add free shipping to their lists of online deals and coupon offers. It is worth it to hunt for coupons and deals for online stores.

Saving on Gift Buying

Buying gifts online will save both time and money. Shipping a nice gift to a relative can chip away at your holiday budget. When you shop online and utilize the free shipping options or select a gift card instead of an actual item, you will save money.

Another advantage to buying gifts online is the amount of choices available seems endless! It you are looking for a specific theme, a collector's item like for example, a Betty Boop clock, chances are you will find it online. With gas prices reaching an all time high, sitting in front of your computer typing into search engines seems more prudent than putting miles on your car looking for the perfect gift.

Show Up With Coupon in Hand

One last tip to save is by printing out the deal or coupon you see online and taking it to your local store to see if they will honor it. This works better with some retailers than with others but it is worth finding out who will do it. Often if you just call and ask the retailer, you will hear a "No" but if you show up ready to buy with a coupon in hand, they are more prone to become flexible with their policies.

Have fun saving while you shop!
Donna Montaldo
Guide to Coupons and Bargains at About.com

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