Nearly 70% of Americans shop online. But while millions of us enjoy the convenience and variety that online shopping provides, relatively few are getting the best online deals possible. Before you pull out your credit card, use this seven-step checklist to ensure you get the best deal possible on every online purchase.
In this guide...
1. Let the Offers and Deals Come to You
Online prices are always changing and no one has the time to constantly monitor them. Let us do the work for you. You can sign up and set alerts for your favorite brands and stores and we will send the deals straight to your inbox.
If you have favorite brands, stores or products, sign up for their newsletters (if they have one) and follow them on social media; you’ll be the first to know about upcoming sales, and many companies post special offers on the social feeds.
2. Be Patient
Certain types of items go on sale at various times of the year. For instance, electronics go on sale from the end of December through January, furniture in September, and cars from late December through early January. If you’re looking to make a sizeable purchase, being patient can save a lot of money.
3. Make Sure You’re Getting the Best Product
Whenever you spend money, you should make sure you’re getting the best quality possible. Not only has the internet made shopping easier, but it’s also made it easier to research purchases.
Amazon is a great source of reviews from regular consumers. Look for products that have at least 100 reviews, as that number or higher will give you some certainty that the reviews you’re reading aren’t from “professional” reviewers who get paid by companies to write glowing feedback of their products.
Another good site for consumer reviews is the Buy it for Life section on Reddit, where users recommend and discuss durable, top-quality widgets. For reviews by experts, check out Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, and CNET.com (especially for large purchases).
4. Get the Right Coupon Code
It can be frustrating to search for coupon codes only to find them and then discover that they don’t work for some reason. At DontPayFull, the coupon codes you see are mostly verified. You can also do all of your searchings right on the site. You can search by category, store or brand.
Not all stores will allow buyers to use multiple codes. If you’re making a purchase with a store that doesn’t, but you’ve found a few different coupon codes, do the math to determine the best code to use. Sometimes a code for free shipping can save you more than one for a certain percentage off.
5. Research Easy Gift Card Opportunities
If you really want to ramp up your savings, why not pay for your online purchases with free gift cards? There are lots of sites where users can earn free gift cards, but some of them aren’t worth your time. These are the best survey sites to earn free gift cards that you can use for online shopping.
6. Know the Return Policy
Sometimes, no matter how much research you do, you end up with a purchase that you’re unhappy with. For all of the benefits of shopping online, buying something sight unseen just doesn’t always work out — especially when it comes to things like clothing and shoes.
Before making a purchase, make sure you know the retailer’s return policy. You may have a limited time to return an item; you may have to pay a restocking fee, or you may not be able to return sale items (especially clearance items). If you’re really unsure about an item, see if you can return an online purchase to a brick-and-mortar location. This is usually much less of a hassle than having to pack up an item and mail it back.
7. Use the Right Credit Card
Many people understand the perks of credit cards, like cash-back on purchases and free flights or hotel stays. But they often don’t realize all of the other great benefits that some credit cards offer, such as consumer protections. You might get a free extended warranty, price protection, and/or return protection just by using the right credit card.
An extended warranty adds time to the original manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items, and in some cases can even protect your purchase from damage or theft. If a card offers price protection, you can file a claim and get a refund for the difference in price if an item you buy goes on sale within a certain time period after you purchase it. Return protection can help you get a refund if a retailer refuses to take a product back.
Not all credit cards offer these protections, so it’s best to read the fine print before choosing which card to use to pay for a large purchase.
And of course, a great way to save on anything you buy is to use a good cash-back credit card. Some cards offer the same percentage off all purchases, and some offer a higher percentage off on purchases in certain categories on a rotating basis (usually quarterly).
This can be another time where it literally pays to be patient. The cards with rotating categories typically offer a higher percentage off. So if you need a new computer, waiting until the rotating categories include electronics might save you 5% on the computer rather than the standard 2% off purchases outside that quarter’s categories. Some cards with rotating cash-back categories require users to log in to their accounts and “activate” that quarter’s categories, so be sure to do that.
It’s Just That Easy!
Long gone are the days when you had to clip coupons out of the Sunday paper or wait for big annual sales if you wanted to save some money. With online shopping and coupon sites like DontPayFull, saving money is faster and easier than ever before.
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