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With 2 weeks to go until Cyber Monday, it’s a good idea to start planning online purchases so you can take advantage of as many deals as possible. I’ve never been a big Cyber Monday shopper but I strongly prefer shopping online over in-store at this time of the year. Actually, any time of year.
If you do your due diligence you can find dozens of ways to save money online. And I don’t even mean haggling or timing your purchases. There are really simple ways to get the stuff you need and pay less for all of it.
Also Read: Buy Clothes, Save the World!
Most online merchants have a policy that allows you to dispute a price if something you’ve purchased drops within a certain number of days. Paribus is a website/app that tracks your purchases from verified merchants through your email and when it detects a price drop it does the work of contacting the retailer for you and getting you some of your money back. They work with Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and Target to name a few. This is a tool everyone who makes online purchases should be using.
The quintessential cash back site is well known among frugal shoppers but not everybody uses all the features it has to offer. Their In-Store Cash Back deals now let you get rewarded for shopping in person as well. Once you’ve stored your credit or debit card to your account you can “link” an offer to it and once that card is used at the retailer you get a percentage back.
They also now have a Chrome extension that allows you to apply any Ebates cash back promo codes at checkout without opening a new page. Sign up with my referral link and get $10 back after you first purchase with Ebates.
I’ve mentioned before that you can shop Groupon through Ebates for cash back, which makes it most advantageous, but Ebates or not you should definitely be using deal sites more. You can save a ton purchasing through these sites instead of the retailer’s website. Groupon, LivingSocial, and Creative Loafing offer discounts on local restaurants, personalized gifts, even dental visits!
Also read: How to Make 27K by Eating Out Less
Buy Discount Gift Cards
Selling unused gift cards is a thing and if you know where to look you can get up to 50% on some retailers. The great thing about gift cards is that they never interfere with discounts and promotions so there are no restrictions when using them.
You can use them online, stack coupons and use them on the steepest sales. And nobody knows you paid 10% less than the value of the card! Another perk is that shipping is free on gift cards from major resale sites.
I like GiftCardGranny.com because they compile all the gift card resale sites in one search tool. I did look at the featured Amazon gift card that was being sold through eBay and it turned out it was only available for pick up in Vero Beach, FL, so watch out for those listings.
Use a Price Comparison Site
PriceBlink is a Chrome browser extension I recently heard about. While you’re on a retail site the extension scans thousands of other retailers to find the lowest price on whatever item you’re looking at. It then provides a drop-down menu so you can easily click the lowest price and PriceBlink takes you to that site. It also finds if the retailer has any coupons and makes those available in the drop-down menu. It’s easier than doing a dozen Google searches for the same info.
But the hands down easiest way to save money online is to buy less. Put things in your cart and let them sit there a while, or overnight if you can. Ask yourself questions to keep you from making impulse buys. There are times when you have to buy things. For those, buying online is great for its convenience and you’re not as easily distracted by the shiny things in the mall.
Stay strong out there, friends. Your bank account will thank you later!
Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.