Tips for Shopping Online Stores (and Staying on a Budget)

If you have access to the internet at your house, you’ve probably done your fair share of online shopping. It is fast, convenient, and the selections and options are amazing.

#1) When Is It Cheaper To Shop In-Store?

Take into account the shipping charges. You may find a product cheaper online but if the shipping cost is outrageous, you may end up paying even more. Also, don’t assume that the prices in a storefront and their online store will be the same. In addition, don’t forget to look at their competitors’ prices as well since some stores (like Best Buy) will match any competitor price online. Also, some store owners will even give you coupon codes for free shipping if you ask for it.

Check out the warranty options. When you buy items in-store you have greater warranty rights than when you buy online. Most online retail websites sell their products “as-is” which means that they disclaim some implied warranties.

Just check out the storefront for sizes and color options. There will be more color options online but you can never really tell what something will look like until you see it in person. There aren’t any rules against going in the store to check out the fitting, the actual product, the quality, or any of the other things that you can’t look at through a computer screen.

#2) Know What You Want (And Stay Strong)

All too often we will go shopping with something in mind but when we get there, we become overwhelmed with other options. Soon enough, we find ourselves distracted and with our arms full of other products.
News Flash: there are even more options online. Make a shopping list and make sure that you stick to it.

#3) Don’t Forget To Double Check Your Security Options

Sure, that product may be cheaper at BillyBobsGarageSale.com but do you really trust Billy Bob with your card and account information? Shop on the online retailers that you trust. If a website looks shady, trust your instincts.

#4) Double Check The Return Policies

Shopping online means that you don’t normally get to try out that particular product. You also don’t get to inspect it for dings and scratches. Perhaps it just wasn’t what you expected. Before you shop on the site, check out their return policy to make sure that you won’t get stuck paying for a product that you don’t really want in the first place.

#5) Don’t Click On Pop-Up Ads

Hackers are pretty clever and have been recently posting bogus pop-up ads on online retailers. They know that these places are particularly susceptible because of the sheer volume of visitors and because some online shoppers have the tendency of being click-happy. Don’t let your guard down.

#6) Consider Digital Products

A lot of products have the option of being available in a digital format. Video games, books, digital music, gift cards, and online subscriptions are some great examples. Not only is it easier to buy digital copies of things but it will save you on shipping.

There are a lot of benefits to shopping online but there are some hidden downfalls (like the ability to buy the entire store in less than an hour). Keep an eye on all of the fine print (shipping costs, warranty info, etc.), stick to your shopping list, and make sure to compare prices with the local store and their competitors.


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