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Bargain-Hunter Secrets for How to Find Deals and Online Bargains

Updated on January 27, 2010

As the rate of online shopping steadily increases I am often asked how to find deals and to sniff out the online bargains. Why would anyone ask me? Well, I am an online bargain hunter, and I have always been known to find deals everywhere. Friends hate telling me about a purchase they made because usually my response is something along the lines of, “Great, but you could have bought it cheaper at ____.” I don't blame them for not wanting to tell me, but it's their fault for not asking me. I mean, when someone like me is always looking for the great deals online, and you're close friends with me, you'd be stupid and hasty to run out and buy something before checking with me, right? Well, this hub reveals my secrets. They're not really secrets, though, since finding online bargains is simply a matter of knowing the right places to look. What follows are some of the resources I use to find deals online.

Finding deals and bargains online is easy if you know where to look.
Finding deals and bargains online is easy if you know where to look.

There are several different types of sites to check out when looking for online bargains. Often there is overlap, but if you truly want to get the best deal it's best to check a couple of different sources at the very least. Before we get into the site types and listings here are a couple of other tips that work well for both online retailers and bricks and mortar shopping:

Be patient.  If you know exactly what you are looking for, it pays to be patient and wait for a price drop somewhere.  You can take your time if you don't have to have it right now and then be prepared to strike as soon as you see a good deal.  This is important as really good deals online tend to disappear quickly, especially on the hot items.

Buy out of season. There are obvious items and not so obvious things to buy out of season, but if you know when new stock typically comes in on certain electronics you can often get a good deal on the outgoing models. As for other items; patio furniture and accessories, grills, lawnmowers, and other yard care equipment and tools are all best purchased at the end of the summer or even fall if they are still being stocked at your local retailer since they are eager to get rid of them.  Markdowns are the rule on these items, so don't wait until springtime to think about purchasing them.  As mentioned, electronics are often turned over during the summer as well in anticipation of incoming models for the holiday shopping rush, so this is a good time to find a deal on certain items.

My Best Resources to Find Deals and Online Bargains

Coupon Sites

Coupons are a good way to save money, and while you can print out or save paper coupons, online stores often have coupon codes you can use. Usually these are for regular customers on mailing lists, but there are sites that list these codes for you to use and try out. Sites like Retail Me Not also have user ratings to give a good idea of what your success rate will be with certain coupon codes.

Price Comparison Sites

These sites let you put in a specific item and find several online retailers along with their prices and shipping rates to help you find deals on the specific things you want to buy. These are also great for comparison shopping between online and local since you can check them out from a internet enabled phone while you are in the store. I do this often...retailers hate me.

Free Shipping Deals Sites

Shipping can in many cases be a deal breaker. I have often paid more for an item at one e-commerce site than another because the second one charged a higher shipping rate. To me, a few dollars saved in shipping is not always worth going with a smaller e-tailer if it's something I might have a problem with or need to return, but for items like books, movies, music, and other common items I will calculate the best overall price including shipping and go with the cheapest. It boggles my mind that there are still e-tailers who charge ridiculously high shipping rates to their customers, and lose out on so many sales. It should be obvious.

Hot Deals

I spend a majority of my time browsing one of these types of sites because often once a deal shows up, you need to jump on it. This is where I go to find great deals on electronics and computer components. Of course everybody and their mother is doing this as well, so you need to be quick if you see something good. Taking an hour to think about it can result in the item being sold out by the time you arrive at a site to purchase. My best advice is to know generally what you are looking for because often you will get bitten by the bargain bug, and feel compelled to buy something you don't need simply because it's an unheard of deal. Trust me, my bank account knows what effect this has, but I "saved" a ton of money...right!

Cash Back/ Rebate Sites

These are not your typical deal sites. They work generally by giving you a portion of advertising money the e-tailer spends to get their product placed on the site. When you link to the site to make your purchase, the cash back site will give you a percentage back in the form of a periodic payment. Often, you can find a great deal and make it even sweeter by checking the cash back site to see if you can purchase through them to receive money back. I have gotten some insane deals this way.

Deal of the Day Sites

These sites don't concern themselves with a large quantity of deals. You just check them daily to see what is on sale. If you want it, grab it. If not, then you move on. Woot is known for periodic Woot-off's where they show an item until it sells out and then put up another repeating this for a day or so. Watch for the flashing lights. There are good deals to be had at these sites as well, but it's more like a grab bag since you never know what will show up.

Gift Card Deal Sites

You can check these sites for gift card deals where you can actually buy gift cards for less than face value. This amounts to a coupon off for a certain price or percentage since you can take the gift card to the store and use it for full value. Genius!

The final tip I have to you bargain hunters out there looking to find deals and online bargains: Get on some email lists for your favorite retailers. A few of them never send anything good and you can unsubscribe, but some of them give you first crack at some very good sales or offer special coupons that are only good if your email is in their database so don't pass this opportunity up. I would suggest getting a secondary email address for this, though, since you will be getting a lot of clutter at times.

Well, hopefully this helps you save more of your hard-earned money and still get what you want. If you liked it, feel free to hit the green button down there.


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