We’re not big shoppers, but when I do shop, I prefer to shop online. You just can’t beat the convenience of shopping from home any time of the day and the flexibility of being able to search and compare prices without having to make an instant decision.
It’s this convenience as well as the great prices that you can find online that inspired my mom and I to start a new blog to share all of the best deals from Amazon.com!
There are, however, some common online shopping traps that you should be aware of and careful to avoid:
1. Low Prices, High Shipping
Kohls.com is a perfect example of this. In the past, they’ve offered $0.99/item shipping, which sounds great for an expensive purchase but really adds up if you’re buying 10 clearance items. Many, many sites offer free shipping these days, especially with purchases over a certain minimum, and I have a hard time bringing myself to pay more than $5-7 shipping for a typical order.
2. Impulse Buys
Retailers are smart, and they make it easy for you to pay with Paypal or save your credit or debit card in your account in the name of convenience. But what they’re also doing is making it easier for you to make impulse purchases that you might not make if you have to get up and find your physical card in order to pay.
Don’t get me wrong — I do appreciate this convenience because I rarely keep my wallet with me when I’m at home. But it’s important to think twice before placing an order. Is it something you really need or want? Can you afford it? Do you have a place for it?
When shopping for clothes for myself or the girls, I often fill my cart and then take a break for an hour or so before making my final decision. It helps me clear my head and make better decisions so that I’m not just being seduced by pretty pictures and cute clothes!
3. Shopping Without a Coupon Code
Last month I shared my number one online shopping tip: always, always search for online coupon codes before checking out. Sites like Trimback.com and RetailMeNot.com are great resources for finding coupon codes. Some stores only offer them on rare occasions, but other stores have an abundance of available codes, and it’s always a good idea to search a coupon code site or Google “Gap coupon code” before checking out to see what you can find!
4. Not Comparing Prices
Online advertising can be misleading, and sometimes you can think you’re getting a really great deal, even when you’re not. Amazon.com is notorious for having outrageous list prices with a lower sale price that’s barely lower than the suggested retail price of an item.
To make sure I’m getting a good deal, I use two tools to compare prices:
- The first is the Camelizer Firefox plugin, which shows me the prices of Amazon items over the past year so I can see how today’s price stacks up.
- The other is the Cheep! toolbar, which sits at the bottom of my screen and shows me the best price an item can be found on the internet. (Unfortunately, this toolbar is no longer available.)
Like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to shopping online. For me, the advantages outweigh the pitfalls, but it’s still important to be intentional to make sure I’m not wasting money in the process.
Do you enjoy shopping online? What other traps have you found?