5 Tips for Maximizing Online Shopping Savings

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Sure, we talk about getting good deals all the time, but sometimes we can all use a good reminder of tips for ensuring we get the best online shopping deals.  A couple of my own online shopping adventures the past couple of days have reinforced the necessity of being vigilant when it comes to searching for the best online shopping deals.

5 Tips to Maximize Your Online Shopping Savings

1. Check the sample sale sites

I cannot stress this enough!  I know some people are still leery of sample sale sites, but I promise you we wouldn’t talk about them here every day if they weren’t legit.  Sample sale sites offer some of the best prices around on designer and name brand products.  The best part of sample sale sites?  Their final sales!  They all have them, you just need to keep your eyes peeled.

I am going to Italy in July and have been thinking about purchasing a good pair of walking shoes.  I wanted something cute, low on my ankle, comfortable, and supportive.  This morning I checked out Rue La La’s Final Sale and found the perfect pair of shoes in the Saucony section.

Saucony Bullet Sneaker Final Sale

I swear I was one of the first people in the Saucony section at 11:01 a.m., but this sneaker sold out as I was putting it in my cart.  Dang!  $29.90 is a heck of a price for this Bullet Sneaker, which is about $15 more expensive on the Saucony website:

Saucony Bullet Sneaker

Even with Rue La La’s $9.95 shipping, the Final Sale version of this sneaker would have been the way to go.  This brings up another good point – ALWAYS take the cost of shipping into account with the online sample sale sites because it’s often higher than at a traditional online retailer.

In short: Online sample sales rock our world because the prices are often better than you will find anywhere else.

{Tip: Check FF each morning our sign up for our Sample Sale Newsletter and never miss your favorite brand going on sale!}

2. Check Amazon

Amazon is a great site for many reasons, but the reason I love it most is because their prices are almost always lower than you will find anywhere else.  Even if you don’t want to purchase from Amazon, it’s a great barometer for determining the lowest price you can expect to pay.

But with that being said – do your research and don’t always rely on Amazon!  {Confusing, right?}

Once Rue La La sold out of my shoe above and I determined that Saucony had the same shoe for $45 {plus $5 shipping}, I decided to see how the prices were over at Amazon.  Luckily, I was able to find the same shoe in stock at Amazon.

Saucony Bullet Sneaker at Amazon

I was a little surprised, however, to see that the price was actually higher than on the Saucony website!  I have Amazon Prime which gets me free two day shipping, but the shipping at Saucony was only $5, thus purchasing direct from Saucony was my best course of action.

While Amazon didn’t work out this time around, most of the time you will be able to get a discount on whatever you’re purchasing, even if the discount comes in the form of free shipping.  For instance, last week I decided to finally update my Mac operating system to Snow Leopard.  The program cost $29 at both Amazon and the online Mac Store, but with Amazon the shipping was free!  Thus, instant $4 savings.

3. Check for an Online Coupon Code

We showcase only our favorite promo codes here at Fantabulously Frugal, but on any given day you can find coupon codes for almost any store.  The quick and dirty way to find an online promo code is to Google “StoreName coupon code” and see what comes up.  Likely you’ll see search results highlighting sites like Retailmenot.com, Savings.com, CouponMountain.com and others.

These sites all offer the same coupon codes, which come direct from the manufacturer more often than not.  You don’t really need to go from coupon site to coupon site looking for the best coupon available because they’ll all be the same.  I recommend just sticking with whichever site you like the best.

Sadly, no site had a coupon code available for my purchase at Saucony.com, though had I chosen to shop through a third party seller like Famous Footwear or Shoes.com, I would have been able to find a coupon.  That would have opened up a whole different can of worms though because then I may not have been able to purchase the exact shoe I wanted.

Finding a coupon at one of the coupon sites should take a matter of seconds and it’s worth those seconds because of the money you could potentially save!

4. Use Cash Back Shopping Sites

So you’ve got the item that you want and you’ve even found a coupon code that will save you a little bit more money.  Now what?  Head to your favorite cash back shopping site for even more savings!

My favorite cash back shopping sites are ShopatHome.com and Ebates. {Check out our Ebates review.}

Don’t tell them I told you this, but both sites – and all the other cash back shopping sites – are pretty similar.  They all offer you cash back for the purchases you were already going to make.  You just needed to head to your site of choice, sign in or register, and then click over to your favorite store.  You CAN use that coupon code you already found, and sometimes the cash back shopping site will also tell you if any coupons are available.

The only downside to cash back shopping is that there is a minimum threshold you have to meet before you can get your cash, usually $25.  Once you’ve banked $25 you’ll get a nice fat Paypal payment, and when it comes right down to it, nothing beats getting money you weren’t expecting.

Remember – this is easy money to accumulate!  Just make a habit of logging into your favorite cash back shopping site each time you want to make an online purchase and you will hit $25 before you know it!

 

5. Do Your Research/ Don’t Trust Anyone

I’m not advocating that we all be suspicious all the time, but instead, be your own savings advocate!  At the end of the day, everyone wants you to buy from them.  I’d like you to click through the links on FF, because then we earn a commission on many items and can keep this site up and running.  Coupon sites want you to click through to stores from them because then they earn the commission.  Cash back shopping sites also get a commission – they just give you part of it back.  Stores want you to go straight to them because then they don’t give anyone a commission.  It’s an ugly vicious sales cycle.  So wherever you choose to shop, just make sure you’re getting the best deal for you.

And yes, this includes sample sale sites.  One final example before we end this missive.

Last night sample sale site JackThreads announced a sale on Quirky products.  I LOVE Quirky.  Basically the users of the site design functional products, and then Quirky produces the products based on the votes of the users of the site.  One item I’ve had my eye on forever is this PowerCurl.

Quirky PowerCurl

It helps keep the power cord for your MacBook nice and tidy.  The only reason I haven’t purchased one is because I was waiting for it to go on sale.  I know it’s only $14.99 full price, but I am that cheap.

When the Quirky sale went live at JackThreads I just blindly purchased the PowerCurl and I was *so* excited that I had finally snagged this most coveted item at a discount.  Only, in my haste to buy buy buy I didn’t actually look to make sure I was actually getting a discount.

Quirky PowerCurl

As you can see, I was the dummy who assumed I was getting a discount because the item was selling at a sample sale site.  Obviously not.  The PowerCurl was $14.99 at both sites and shipping was $5.99 at both sites, so my purchase was a total wash in terms of savings.

It all goes back to this: If you want to save money and get the best deal, always be willing to do your research!

What tips do you utilize to get the best online shopping deals?

 



1 comment on 5 Tips for Maximizing Online Shopping Savings

  1. Megan
    March 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Yo, Lisa, speaking of powering-up on the Mac OS, not to one-up your tips or anything, but swagbucks + amazon = AMAZING! I did the living social for Amazon which was $20 for $10, then had accrued another $15 in amazon giftcards through swagbucks, and then was *going* to get my Snow Leopard & a day calendar (yea, imma little late) for a cool $0.99, but then I bought 4 $5 albums on amazon in February which used the $ i had banked up w/ the giftcards, but still, i only ended up paying $30 overall for $55 worth of merchandise (4 music albums, snow leopard, calendar) & the shipping was free because it was >$25. SCORE!