I love a good bargain. Actually, I’m pretty sure that in this economy, most of us love to get the best deal possible on our purchases.
According to Gary Weyel (a.k.a- The Cheap Sherpa), the wealth of reviews, price comparison and bargain sites on the Internet make it a boon for cheapskates everywhere, but the flip side of this treasure trove of data is it can lead to endless hunts for deals, indecision and frustration.
In his inaugural column on Experts Exchange, Weyel shared his top five tips for saving time and money shopping online. Here’s a preview of what Weyel had to say:
Tip #1: Weigh the effort against the reward
While it may seem obvious that spending two hours searching for a 45-cent item to round out your Amazon order and qualify for free shipping is a bad use of time, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Weyel recommends weighing the savings at stake against your hourly wage. Do you want to spend four hours away from your family and hobbies to save what amounts to $1.50 an hour? Probably not worth it.
Tip # 2- Consider long-term and recurring costs
Some people will scour online for weeks when purchasing a new HDTV but won’t think twice about paying their cable company $130 a month. Take a good look at your recurring monthly costs, evaluate what you’re actually using and cut out unnecessary expenditures. For instance, if you only watch a few hours of Netflix streaming a month, why not check out the Hulu library instead? After all, it doesn’t get much cheaper than free!
Tip #3- Limit your inputs
Weyel recommends relying on a handful of trusted online resources to guide your money saving efforts and increase search efficiency, lest bargain hunters suffer from information overload.
Tip #4- Set a deadline
The corollary to limiting your inputs is setting a deadline. Some deadlines are natural (like buying Christmas gifts) but sometimes bigger projects and purchases can be put off because they’re a bit scary. If you have a deadline in mind for when you want to make a purchase, you’ll be able to do your due diligence while still making a decision in a timely manner.
Tip #5- Have fun searching and saving
While saving money matters, it’s not worth it if it’s stressing you out. Saving money should feel good. If the search is becoming burdensome to you (or your loved ones), try constraining your online bargain hunting using the tips above.
Want more tips from The Cheap Sherpa, including how Amazon ClickFiller can help you top off your shopping cart and what websites have the best deals?
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