There are always going to be cutbacks during a recession, which means you are probably facing quite a few at the moment. Not only have you had to rework your budget and decrease spending on frivolous items (dining out, entertainment, excess clothing, etc.), but you’ve probably had to tighten the belt in essential areas, as well (utilities, groceries, and so on). And while waiting for sales, clipping coupons, and switching to generic brands are all going to help you in this area, you are missing out on major savings if you’re not trying to do at least some of your shopping online. Here are a few ways that you can click and save when shopping on a reduced budget.
Believe it or not, you can actually save on many of the items you frequently purchase at the store by shopping online. Of course, you probably won’t want to order perishable foodstuffs like meat, dairy, and produce, and frozen items are likely out as well (due to shipping concerns). But you can easily save by ordering non-perishable items like cereal, pasta, and other grains, as well as boxed and canned goods. Start by going to manufacturer websites, where you may be able to get free samples and special deals by signing up for a membership or taking a survey. Many offer direct ordering options or links to online retailers with the best prices. And if all else fails, you can always print out coupons for particular items or those that apply to your local grocery stores. As a bonus, consider using voucher codes or signing up for DOTD sites like Groupon that can help you to save on your favorite restaurants once in a while.
Clothing is another area where you can definitely save by shopping online. Many retailers offer special savings for online customers, as well as free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount. And if you don’t have outlets in your area, you’ll almost certainly find the lowest prices for your favorite brands online, especially since you can easily price check. In addition, you can use sites like Amazon and Overstock to save on not only garments, but also housewares and other necessities that get put on the back burner when your funds are stretched thin.
Finally, you can save a ton on entertainment. Think about how much you spend going to a movie with the whole family (at least $40 for tickets alone, for a family of four, and that’s not counting extras like sodas and snacks). Now consider what you’re spending on cable (probably $50-100 each month, or maybe even more). Consider what you could be saving by getting subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus, which can provide you with tons of movies and many of your favorite TV shows. Even though the price of rentals has doubled on Netflix (you now have to pay separately for movie rentals and online viewing), you’ll still pay only about $16 per month. And when you add the $8 a month for Hulu Plus, you’re still coming in under $30 for more TV programming and movies than you can shake a stick at.
You might not be entirely ready to make all of your purchases online; what is economics but a system that offers many choices? But you’ll find that by transferring at least some of your spending power to the online arena you’ll save a lot up front, and over time. So make an effort to look into potential savings if you’re seeking a way to weather the recession without entirely giving up the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed.