3 Terrific Tips Toward Online Shopping Success

In today’s economy, everyone’s looking for a bargain in order to get the things they want.  From DVDs and CDs to consumer electronics to cars and even clothes, people are going to great lengths to find a deal.  When it comes to finding these bargain basement prices, many people turn to shopping online.  It’s no secret that you can buy just about anything you want for a whole lot less from your favorite e-tailer thanks to the lower overhead, the efficient payment process and the evolution of overnight shipping.  Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Tips for Using eBay

It’s hard to believe, but there are some people who haven’t tried eBay.  I use it frequently, especially when I’m looking for a good deal on a gently used designer handbag or the latest must have gadget.   Over the course of a few years, I have no doubt that I have managed to keep thousands of dollars in my pocket, right where it belongs.  But, I want to strongly caution you about the possibility of getting ripped off.  The old saying you probably heard countless times as a child holds true here as well.  If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.  Don’t count on getting the latest designer labels or high end electronics for nothing.  If you find these deals, they are probably counterfeit copies or frauds.  No matter how much the seller wants to insist that what he’s selling you is authentic, the truth is, it’s just not.  But, if you’re willing to take a chance on last year’s model that might have a little wear around the edges, you can most certainly make a big score on eBay.  As a matter of fact, an astute eBay professional can make a decent second income by learning what to look for, making smart buys and reselling his or her purchases through a local consignment shop.  Ooh.  There’s a thought.

Craigslist Successes

Craigslist has gotten a ton of bad publicity over the past couple of years, but can be a veritable gold mine for smart shoppers.   For example, my husband regularly scours Craigslist for used cars that he can fix and make a profit on. We also look for gently used cell phones as replacements for the ones he damages or loses.  I am a firm believer in never purchasing extended warranties on consumer electronics, since you can usually replace the items for less than you would pay out in warranty fees.  But, this leaves me a little in the lurch when my husband misplaces yet another cell phone or drops it into a puddle.   But, I have something even better than replacement insurance.  I have access to local sellers who are looking to offload their used cell phones for a fraction of the price of a new one.  One time, I managed to net a Palm 755 from someone on Craigslist who switched carriers in order to land herself one of those nifty Apple iPhones for a mere $75.  A new one from Sprint would have topped $400, minus any applicable online discounts.  I even got the original box!

Using Retailers Online

I rarely visit the mall anymore, even when they’ve got a good sale going on.  One of the main drivers for this is that I can net the same merchandise for less buy shopping the retailer online.  My many years in retail sales actually revealed a little known secret about department stores.  Brick and mortar retail outlets have a strict schedule regarding pricing their merchandise.  In order to keep the merchandise they stock fresh, they only leave items at the regular retail rate for 1-2 weeks.  Then they begin rotating the items into sale and then ultimately into clearance price points.  The process applies to online merchandise, but in many cases, the process actually works faster.  Why?  Because online shoppers are a fickle bunch.   If we see the same items time and time again, odds are we won’t be back for awhile, which definitely puts a damper on a retailer’s online sales. Before you buy at these retail stores, remember to check out various cash back sites like Ebates.com to get an extra discount.

The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping online is that you have to be a smart consumer.  You have to do your homework and be ready to walk away if a deal doesn’t feel right.  Keeping those tips in mind will help you take advantage of all the wonderful deals that are available online.

This is a guest post from Sandra Parker, writer at PT Money: Personal Finance. Visit PT Money to get more tips to help you save more, make more, and spend more wisely. See their latest Ebates review and their advice on finding the best airline miles credit cards.
About The Shopping Mom

Comments

  1. The Houston suburb I used to live in had a local variation of Craigslist. It was really an online version of a garage sale. It was great for the seller and the buyer. I’ve only gotten one toe wet in ebay–maybe I’ll check it out a little more now. Thanks for the info about the retail stores.

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