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Use these tips to save money every time you shop online

Here are some of the great lesser-known tips that can help you save money when you shop online.

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Online shopping has been commonplace for more than two decades now. If you’re under 30 years old, you probably can’t even remember a time when you couldn’t order virtually any type of product on your computer and have it delivered to your door.

Whether you’re buying something as small as vape juice online or something as large as a new car, there are plenty of companies that are happy to sell just about anything to you over the Internet.

No matter how experienced you may be in the world of e-commerce, though, there’s one area in which just about everyone has room for improvement: saving money when shopping online.

You’re probably well aware of the existence of coupon codes, of course, and you faithfully search for working coupons every time you buy. If you really want to spend less on the things you buy online, though, you need to think outside the box a bit in terms of how, when, and where you shop. 

Here are some of the great lesser-known tips that can help you save money when you shop online.

Pick the Right Time to Buy

google shopping price feature
Image: Google

One of the most important things to know about shopping online is that, for many types of products, the prices aren’t static. Amazon, for instance, constantly changes the prices for many products based on factors such as the number of items in stock and how strong the demand for those items is likely to be. 

If many people are all shopping for the same type of product at the same time, in other words, you’re likely to pay more for that product than you would at a different time. The classic example of this principle, of course, is buying things like wrapping paper, gift boxes and decorations during the holiday season.

Since millions of other people are all buying the same things at the same time, you’ll pay inflated prices for those products. You’re likely to save a great deal of money if you buy those products after the holiday season ends.

Holiday decorations aren’t the only types of products that have cyclical demand. Swimsuits tend to cost more during summer, and you’ll pay more for a winter coat when the weather is cold.

If you want to buy a baseball jersey with your favorite team’s logo on it, you’ll save money if you wait until right after the baseball season ends. If you don’t need a particular product immediately, it’s best to wait until the demand for that product is low.

Don’t forget that, for major retailers like Amazon, you can use web-based tools like CamelCamelCamel to research historical prices for individual products. It might surprise you to learn how much the prices on Amazon can vary. 

Join Your Favorite Sellers’ Mailing Lists

Are you a regular buyer of products that you know have extremely high-profit margins? Perfumes and cosmetics are two examples of this type of product. The retail price of a bottle of perfume from a high-end designer like Christian Dior is far, far higher than what it costs to manufacture the product. 

If you like high-end products, you’re probably already aware of the profit margins for those products and buy them anyway. Good taste, after all, has a price. Sometimes, though, it can really pay to wait. The fact that luxury products have high-profit margins means that the sellers of those products have a bit of room to play with pricing.

During the slower seasons, those sellers will often offer some extremely attractive sales. Join your favorite sellers’ mailing lists to ensure that you’ll always hear about the sales first – and always time your purchases around those sales.

One additional thing to keep in mind here is that a high-end designer house like the one mentioned above usually won’t lower its prices out of fear that doing so might cheapen the brand. What they will do, however, is give away trial-size products and other freebies during slow periods.

Those are the things to look for if you want to save money when buying direct from designers. Resellers are more likely to lower their prices. 

Use a Payment Method That Reduces Your Cost

Every time you use a credit card to buy a product online, the seller of that product pays a processing fee of up to 3.5 percent of the total purchase price to a credit card processing company. That can be a significant amount of money. If you buy a $2,000 notebook computer online, for instance, the seller could be giving as much as $70 to a credit card processor.

Given the amount of money that merchants lose by accepting credit card payments, some sellers will actually reduce your price if you use an alternate form of payment. If you happen to be a cryptocurrency holder, some merchants will reduce their prices slightly for cryptocurrency transactions because of the possibility that those assets might rise in value in the future.

Cash, on the other hand, only loses value over time. Some merchants will also discount their prices for customers who pay with checks or direct bank account transfers. Discounts like these are more common for big-ticket purchases because the credit card processing fee for a very large item – a car, for instance – can be quite substantial.

If you can’t find a merchant that will give you a discount in exchange for using an alternate payment method, the next best thing that you can do is use a credit card that rewards you for making purchases.

Some reward credit cards will simply return a flat percentage of your monthly purchases to your card balance. If a credit card rewards you with 2 percent cash back, for instance, you’ll get $100 returned to your account after spending $5,000. 

Reward credit cards often get even better if you’re willing to receive your rewards as points rather than cash. A hotel reward card, for instance, is an easy way to add reward points to your loyalty account for your favorite hotel chain each month.

If you put all of your daily purchases on the card, you’ll probably have enough reward points for a free vacation at the end of the year – and that’s just as good as saving money on your purchases.

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