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Geek Girl Report: eRefunds, eCoupons And More eSavings – Tips To Save Money On Online Shopping

aurelijus, flickr

Everyone loves shopping online. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s convenient, and unfortunately, it’s also a bit pricey. Thanks to shipping costs and other factors, online items usually tend to be more expensive than buying an item in brick-and-mortal stores. But with a little time and a little foresight, it’s easy to get the best prices of the items you purchase most often, so long as you know where to look. There are plenty of ways to save money when you’re shopping online, but here are just a few easy tips on how you can save a little cash on your next online purchases.

1.) Make a list

You already make a list when you go shopping at the grocery store. Why not make a list when you shop online too? It takes a little planning in order to save the most money online, so take the time to list out what you’re planning on buying and for whom. And if you plan on buying a lot, like say for a birthday or for Christmas, you may want to put down how much you’re able, or willing, to spend on shopping. Just like with groceries, sticking with a list can help keep you focused on the task at hand and not get distracted by other items. And the extra time you put in to planning ahead could translate into extra money staying in your pocket.

2.) Follow your favorite retailers

If you’re a frequent shopper of particular stores or franchises like Barnes and Noble, Apple or Cabela’s, it may be worth your time to befriend them. If they have a one-time fee or low cost loyalty program, sign up for it, as those discounts can usually be applied online as well. Also, signing up for their E-mail newsletters or following them on social media like Facebook and Twitter can ensure that you’ll be the first to know about the latest offers and deals without having to hunt through a bunch of sites. However, a word of warning: all those offers can quickly clog up your E-mail account or news feed so if you don’t want a bunch of spam heading your way, you may shy away from this idea.

However, there is a way to still get in on all of these offers without clogging your inbox. Try setting a filter on your inbox to send all promotional and brand E-mail to a different folder, or even better, use a separate E-mail account to sign up for these offers. As for social media, you can simply go into your settings and block all status updates from certain brands. This will allow you to still access their fan pages and check out their offers without dealing with excessive promotional posts.

3.) Shop around

If you’re serious about saving money, you already know the importance of shopping around. The first price you see on Amazon or eBay is not always the cheapest price you can pay. Taking some time to compare prices with other sites can go a long way to saving you quite a bit of cash. But that doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours online going from site to site searching for that one perfect price. (unless you have that kind of time to kill, in which case I am very envious of you…) You can use a comparison shopping search engine such as Amazon, Google Shopping, or Shopzilla to instantly search for certain products by price.

4.) Coupons are your friends

Just like with brick-and-mortar stores, coupons can save you a ton of money online if you know where to look for them. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to look. In addition to following your favorite retailers via E-mail and Facebook, coupon sites like RetailMeNot.com or BrandDeals.com can help you find the latest online offers, and sites such as Ebates.com offer tons of rebates and money-back offers on thousands of products. If you choose to buy from the manufacturer’s website, you can sometimes type in promo codes in the search bar to discover a whole slew of discounts and coupon codes.

However, be very careful when you go searching for coupons online. If a site ever asks you to pay for coupon codes, or requires you to download some shady-looking files or click a suspicious-looking link, don’t do it. 5% off your next purchase isn’t worth it if you get a virus and end up wrecking your computer.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to save money online shopping? Share them in the comments below.

Be sure and check out The Geek Girl Report every Tuesday morning, only on KFYO.com. And be sure to follow me on Twitter as well: @ArielWalden214.

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