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Is it Cheaper to Buy Online or in Store?

Updated on February 13, 2013
Is buying online or in store cheaper?
Is buying online or in store cheaper? | Source

Buying items online has become a daily thing in a lot of peoples lives. I have heard many times "Don't buy that here, you can get it on Ebay cheaper." It made me wonder, is it really cheaper? Recently, I have become addicted to buying things online. Some people strictly buy things online while others stay far away from it. I have heard views from both sides so I am here today to lay the points on the table for you.

Are You Saving Money?

The biggest point I have to make is the money. Money is a huge factor when deciding if it is cheaper to buy online or in store.

We first look at the base price of it. For the sake of this article, let's say I want to buy an iPhone 5. If I go to the store, I will be paying $649.99. With tax, my total would be $703.61. Luckily, I could also go to Oregon where there is no sales tax. Thus, I would only be paying $649.99 but have to pay more gas.

Gas where I live is $3.42. My car gets 18 mpg. If I were to pay sales tax I could go 1.8 miles from my house and spend roughly 68 cents on gas. If I decide to go to Oregon to not pay sales tax I would be spending roughly $1.60 on gas.

Total, if I bought an iPhone in Washington, I'd be spending $704.29. If I bought it in Oregon, I'd be spending $651.59.

Now let's say we were going to buy an iPhone 5 online. Since eBay seems to be a popular site to buy from, I'm going to buy it off of eBay. On eBay, I can buy an iPhone 5 for $429.99 with free shipping. So, I would be spending total $429.99.

So, in this case, buying an iPhone 5 online will save you $274.30! That is definitely a lot of money to be saved.

  • Be careful when buying online or in store, sometimes you will be spending way too much.
  • If you don't need it right away, get it online!
  • Do your research before buying a spendy item. Sometimes it IS cheaper to buy it in your store.

Do you buy online or in store?

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Things to Consider When Buying Online

  • When buying online, make sure you also look at the return shipping area. Sometimes, the manufacturer or vendor will have you pay for return shipping. It's not always worth the low price.
  • Especially on eBay, sellers will make the cost of the item really cheap but then spike up the shipping prices. Don't be fooled.
  • Generally, if you aren't paying for shipping, the seller is going to send it through the cheapest method possible. This means it's going to take a while for you to get an item. If you can't wait for your item, you may have to pay for faster shipping (which can get expensive) or just buy in store.
  • Shopping online can be dangerous. Make sure the seller is trusted before buying items (especially expensive items) from them. Some sites have a feedback section that you can look through.
  • Research is key. Sometimes, a cheaper price can be in store. Call different stores and look online.


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