For far too many American consumers, buying stuff online involves whipping out a credit card once they spot a product they are interested in. If you are struggling with credit card debt, you know how much impulse buying can bury you in debt. Many people think that the Internet has made the process of buying stuff almost irresistible.
Indeed, many sites are built to maximize impulse buys. The good news is that saving money online isn’t hard. You just need to turn it into a habit or a personal checklist before you buy. Learning this new habit or way of buying can save you tons of money and headaches down the road.
Remember, everything you buy now needs to be paid for in the future. Keep the following tips in mind so you don’t wake up to a nasty debt hangover.
1. Compare prices
The easiest way to save money on your purchases is to compare prices. There are many websites on the internet that take product information and prices from many different sites and let users compare this information. If you like a price, you click a link and you will see the product in its original page at the site that is offering the product at that price.
Please keep in mind that you factor in shipping and handling costs. Many people get ripped off by sites advertising a low base price with hefty shipping rates. Then when you add the taxes, a deal that looks good may not be so good after all.
2. Compare reviews among substitutes
Most products and services have substitutes. Whether similar products produced by other manufacturers or offered by other service providers, similar products and services are generally available. You can find the name of these units or providers and you can look for online reviews regarding their quality.
Make sure you check lots of reviews since you can’t always believe what you read online. Many times, a lot of the reviews are either made by competitors or by the company itself. Look for a wide range of reviews to get an objective look.
3. Buy off-sizes/odd lots
Another great way to save online is to buy off or odd lots. These are units that are not normally offered by the manufacturer or service provider. Since they are one offs or specialty items, you can get quite attractive deals with these.
Of course, you have to make sure that the product, even though it is a one off, is still the same quality as regularly produced items. If it isn’t, then it isn’t worth buying. Make sure you are getting the same durability and functionality.