Photo: Wikimedia Commons
1. Sales tax can add a significant sum to the total purchase price of your order (upwards of 10%). As such, it’s worth investigating which stores charge you sales tax versus which stores won’t. Many of the pure online retailers, like Amazon, typically don’t charge sales tax for online orders.2. Many of the top online stores offer rewards programs when you buy from them. Some are better than others, but you can generally save 4-5% if you’re on the lookout.
3. Credit cards can sometimes get an unfair rap. But if you’re smart about using them, a good credit card can save you a substantial sum. Sites like Nerdwallet.com are a great resource for figuring out what credit card is most appropriate for your spending habits.
4. If you’re a student, keep in mind that you can be exempt from sales tax in several states. Students who plan on spending hundreds of dollars on text books in August can get major savings from this little secret.
5. For many online retailers, you have the ability to earn “cash back” on your purchases. Sites like Zestii and Ebates make it easy for you to earn a percentage back each time you buy.
6. Coupons have been around forever but they’re still a great way to ensure maximum bang for your buck. Check out Coupons.com and Retailmenot.com. They have extensive databases for your coupon clipping needs.
7. Make sure you take advantage of “out-of-season” sales. Retailers will drastically cut prices on seasonal products during certain times of the year. This can be the best time to stock up on apparel at an unbeatable price. Things like buying ski apparel in summer and shorts in the winter can provide great bargains.
8. Flash sale sites are all the rage these days. And while you always feel like you’re getting a great deal, many of the items they sell aren’t actually sold at a discount. It’s always smart to double check if you’re getting a deal or being tricked into thinking that.
9. Although they don’t overtly promote it, most retailers will honour a sale if you happen to buy up to 30 days in advance of the sales starting date. If you buy online, the 30 day rule is even less strict.
10. If you rely on online shopping to contribute to your debit card rewards, be prepared for those lessen or disappear altogether soon (due to the Durbin Amendment). Now is the time to find a credit card that you like and remind yourself to pay it off monthly.
11. Use customer service features online – they’re there for you. Don’t hesitate to call, email or even live chat a customer service rep if you have questions about your purchase. That’s what they are there for and most of the time they are very responsive.
12. Use a reliable price comparison site like www.PriceGrabber.com to make sure you’re finding your new purchase for the absolute cheapest price possible.
13. When shopping online, always make sure that the site’s checkout is secure before charging your credit card. Many sites appear secure but aren’t necessarily safe. A good way to determine whether a sites checkout is safe or not is to look at your web address bar. If there’s a “https” in front of the address, then the checkout is more secure.