Shopping online can save you a bundle. Information and products are at your fingertips. Internet retailers need to be extremely price conscious to stay competitive. When companies compete the consumer wins. These tips will help you get the best deal and have a safe experience.
Look for security
There is a quick way to find out if a site is secure. Look for HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// in areas of the website where you are entering sensitive financial information. It is common for most websites to switch to their secure pages only when nessicary. You usually won’t see https:// until you’re in the checkout area. If you are entering your credit card information always check before proceeding. If there is no https your information can be easily stolen. When a page is secure it encrypts the data going to and from that page. So even if your data was intercepted it could not be read.
Look for https and the little lock
If you are entering your credit card information make sure the page is secure. If the page is not secure your information can be easily stolen. Secure pages encrypt data going to and from pages.
Comparing prices on websites isn’t as easy at might first appear (especially if your searching for a non-standardized item). The first step is to narrow your search to exactly what you want. Find a part # or a model # and search for it in a comparison shopping engine. I prefer Google Products but there are others as well. They have an incentive to place higher paying vendors near the top of the list and their products seem to be less organized.
Avoid the lowest priced vendor (unless you’ve bought from them before). Most of the time they will require that you buy the warranty, a bunch of accessories, and join some mailing list to get the “lowest price”.
Have the deals come to you
Using RSS feeds and some basic filters you can have deals come to you when they are ripe for the picking. Automatic deal finders using RSS is an easy way to get low cost gifts and surprizes for yourself. You will need to be patient but the wait is usually well worth it. Hot items like the Nintendo Wii won’t likely drop in price but just about everything else goes on sale periodically.
If you don’t mind buying used you can also set up a way to search through Craiglists for misplaced bargins. Many times people will post items you want in strange categories or forget to write a good desciptoin. Other bargin shoppers will miss those deals and you’ll have the item delivered to your feed reader.
Look through deal websites
Finding a deal website with up to date offers is a good way to browse for things like laptops, HDTVs, cameras, or other everyday electronic items. All of my laptops and computers come from sites like this because they usually offer more power and features for much less.
Keep all your records
Keep records of your reciept page, the items ordered, and what credit card you used. If you want to return an item or dispute a charge you’ll need all the information you can. Most merchants make it easy to return or cancel an order. For infrequent purchases it’s best to have a folder in your email labeled ‘shopping receipts’ to stay organized. If you buy from individual stores, through Amazon or Half.com, keeping these reciepts will be cruitial.