Getting a tax refund back? Have a recent financial windfall? Or perhaps you just plan on buying a new gadget for yourself soon? Hey we are all about saving and investing, but sometimes we need (or want) to spend some of that money. We only live once, and we have to enjoy the fruits of our labor, but spending wisely is the key. No, “wisely” isn’t referring to a predetermined budget, nor am I even thinking frugally. Spending “wisely” means getting the best available deal, and best available price for that item you intend on buying regardless.
I’ve explained the virtues of the gift card, many times that’s a useful shopping tool, but then again so is the internet. It amazes me that as a society we have no problems purchasing prescription drugs online, but we still go to Best Buy or Sears to purchase a television because we are too leery of the credibility of an online retailer. Brick-and-mortar establishments have their place in the world, and sometimes, they truly can offer a great deal. Also, sometimes we don’t have the convenience of waiting 5-7 business days for our purchase…for those of us that tend to forget birthdays or anniversaries 😉 However, you have to understand that online retailers have definite cost advantage that they can pass through to the customer in the form of lower prices.
Lower prices too good to be true?
Most people know that a brick-and-mortar establishment is going to have rent and utilities that won’t exist for online retailers. But guess what else you pay for as a customer? The cost of carrying inventory for each store! This is by no means an insignificant cost to a company, and some companies have thrived on solving this issue. Think about DELL! Their entire business model was predicated on lowering inventory by building ready-to-order computers and then shipping them out. Lower inventory equates to much lower costs. Did you ever think about advertising? Sure there are some rather large online retailers that advertise, but I guarantee there are many that do not. Advertising dollars need to get recouped somehow, and yes those costs are typically passed through to the customer as well. I see plenty of ads from Sears, Best Buy, and Radio Shack all the time.
What kinda savings are we talking about?
The sky is the limit on savings. It really depends on the item, the usual cost, and the time of the year. I do know that many retailers are not subject to charging sales tax on their items, in fact, they must only do so if they have a physical location in that state. Here in Michigan our sales tax is 6%, so if I purchase a $100 item, I pay $6 to a local store that I would not pay to an online retailer. Let’s also consider the idea that time equals money. Well most online retailers (and only the ones I purchase from) offer free shipping, so essentially after a few button clicks, the item is sent to my doorstep free of charge. No traffic, no waiting in lines, and not even the cost of gas to start my car! Of course the discounts go much further than this, and you will find a 50’’ LCD television can be purchased online for far less than most brick-and-mortar stores.
How do I find these deals?
I know many of you have heard about overstock.com, a very popular site, and one I don’t often purchase from. You have to really look for the good deals, and yes it does take a bit of research at times. I typically go to Google Shopping when browsing items. This is essentially the equivalent of going to farecompare.com when you want to search a bunch of airline sites for the cheapest deal as opposed to going through each one yourself. You can filter by purchase amount, and then sort by total amount, and even filter out retailers that don’t offer free shipping. After I’ve selected my items, I do an online search for coupon codes before checking out. Even many brick and mortar retailers have an online presence and coupon codes. I often search out Nordstrom coupon codes even though I live only a half mile from an actual store. Online shopping will save you a lot of money on just about anything…television, lawnmower, hedge trimmer, vacuum, engagement ring, HDMI cables, laptops… and yes, I have used online retailers for all of the above purchases! Believe me, I comparison shopped all of those items with local stores, and they just weren’t in the same ballpark!
Remember, money is the root…of all things good! So why not try and keep more of it in your pocket?