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Your Ultimate Guide to Shopping Online

Updated on August 30, 2013

One of the greatest benefits of the internet is that now you can avoid the mall and relax in your PJs as you shop from the comfort of your own home. Today, this type of consumerism is largely associated with young girls clicking away and spending exuberant amounts of money. They justify these purchases by spreading shopaholic propaganda in the form of YouTube fashion and beauty hauls.

Although these videos are somehow embarrassingly intoxicating to watch, online shopping is so much more than a means to buy more than you need. It really can be used as a tool to saving time and money while making worthwhile purchases. Below are 5 tips to make shopping online worthwhile for you.

Timing in everything

There is no need to join the massive lines during the holiday season or wake up in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday – now you can log on to your favorite store sites to check out all the sales. Make sure to check out your favorite sites during the holiday season and throughout the year for seasonal sales.

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and is the biggest shopping day of the year online. You’ll be able to find great sales which will make shopping online your first choice when looking for items at great prices.

Check out www.cybermondayguide.org for a great way to start planning for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Free Shipping

When shopping online, always check whether shipping is free or not. Many sites are now offering free shipping automatically, or with the purchase of a certain amount.

If you are not able to get free shipping, ask yourself if the purchase is necessary or if you can wait till it’s on sale. Shipping costs add to your overall total and can be a pretty hefty amount.

Online shopping should be both convenient and economical so a purchase without, at least, free shipping is not a justified one. If the site is not offering, check coupon codes online; more often than not you’ll get lucky.

Discount Codes

No purchase should be completed without a quick check online for discount codes. These codes are usually not publicized but, when found, can seriously lower the total in your virtual shopping cart. Take the time to do a search and look around.

Check out Coupons.com, Retail Me Not and Voucher Cloud to start saving extra on your online purchases.

Pile up the Points

Use a credit card or bank card that accrues points. If you tend to use one specific card you can really rack up the points. Citi’s point rewards are great.You can buy anything from plane tickets to DVDs on their points’ site, but most importantly you can trade in your points for cash back.

Cash back can then be traded in for Visa gift cards and gift vouchers to your favorite stores. These are great to use online and a handy shopping tool to saving a bit more cash.

Purchase a Coupon

The newest fad for finding sales is purchasing bundles and coupons from websites. Living Social and Groupon are great for finding affordable getaways, electronics and experiences while Hautelook is the best for grabbing designer and name brand clothing and accessories for a fraction of the price.

Be aware that these sites will cram your email box if you don’t limit the number of emails they send to you. Check them weekly for great deals you cannot pass up.

Bonus Tip: Virtual Grocery Shopping

Online shopping is not just for non-perishable goods. Supermarkets and chain stores are now opening up their own online virtual grocery stores for the convenience of the modern day work-a-holics.

Grocery stores are making it simple to log onto their sites, pick your favorite foods and pay online. The best is that they will deliver to your home without the hassle of you having to peruse the shelves and lug heavy bags home. Check out your local supermarket and see if they offer this amazing, time-saving service.

4 Great Websites for Online Shopping

Ebay

Make sure you check out the seller’s rating and feedback from previous sales. Ebay is a great resource to get items at a great price.

Amazon

Amazon is a forest full of about everything you might want to purchase.

Zappos

From name brand apparel and accessories to footwear, Zappos is a great resource to find the best price.

Etsy

If you’re looking for handmade items, up-cycled materials turned into wearable pieces and artwork, Etsy is a great online resource.

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