Money

4 Easy Ways to Save When Shopping Online

Pay less for your next purchase!

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More of us are choosing to shop online than ever before, both to save time and stay safe — but if you’re a dedicated coupon-clipper, you might worry that you’re missing out on the best deals. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save when you buy online. Read on for four easy tips that can help slash your bill every time you log on!

Save up to 50 percent on your first order.

Now that so many folks are shopping online, competition is heating up among retailers, so they’re enticing new customers by giving big discounts on first purchases. For example, you’ll get 50 percent off your first order of clothing at the popular thrift store ThredUp, 25 percent off your first order of reading glasses at Readers, and $10 off your first grocery order of $50 or more at Walmart. To find more new-customer discounts, visit RetailMeNot and type “first order” into the search box to see hundreds of offers. To find a new customer discount for a specific store, just type “first order” and the store’s name into Google.

Score a 20 percent off coupon.

Sure, it’s smart to search out a coupon code before you shop online. (CouponCabin is a great site to try). But if you can’t find one, don’t give up! Most big retailers such as Nordstrom Rack and Walgreens offer live chat boxes to help answer any of your questions, and the customer service reps operating these chat boxes often have coupon codes ready to hand out — typically worth 10 to 20 percent off your purchase, or for free shipping — and they’ll give it to you just for asking. To find the chat box, look on the retailer’s home page or click their “live chat,” “contact” or “customer service” link.

Get free price-drop alerts.

Just like with brick-and-mortar stores, online products regularly go on sale. But the big difference is that you can actually get free alerts emailed to you the moment an online item you want gets discounted so you never miss out on savings! Here’s how: Visit JoinHoney and download their free browser to your desktop or smartphone. Shop the stores you like through the Honey browser, and when you find an item you want, put it in the site’s “Droplist.” You’ll be notified when the price goes down!

Pay the lowest price every time you shop.

Discover an item at one store that you really love at a great discount? It may be available elsewhere even cheaper! To find out: Type the product’s name into a search engine like Bing or Google. You’ll get a list of other online retailers that sell the same product, along with their prices, so you can instantly check if there’s a better deal.

Want to make your purchase from a specific store? You could get an even lower price there with a simple trick: If asked to pick the location of your nearest brick-and-mortar store, change your zip code to a different neighborhood’s, then re-check the prices of the items you want. Research shows that some retailers raise their prices based on your location because it may indicate how much you’d be willing to spend. If you notice the price drop after changing zip codes, buy it at the lower cost — and you’ll still be able to ship it to your home address!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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