Online shopping can be much cheaper than going to the store, not just because the savings of gas and time, but also the prices seem to just be a lot lower. As I mentioned yesterday, Amazon seems to have great prices on the brand of toilet paper we use. With free shipping (and free Swagbucks!) it makes more sense to buy it online.
I get most of my organic or natural pantry staples from Vitacost (if you are a new customer sign up with my referral code and get $10 towards your first purchase free!) which has much better prices than our natural foods store and even beats the co-op prices. I get my prenatal vitamins and the kids vitamins through them too, at a great price. And our winter health supplements (Elderberry syrup, Vitamin C, etc.) are lower on that site than any others. My point being? Shop around and stick with the sites that offer the best prices.
Which leads me to my next step. The majority of sites online that I like to purchase from are also tied to ShopAtHome, which is a deal and shopping site. I am able to go there to see if there are any offers or discount codes, but most of all, the stores affiliated with them offer cash back on purchases that you make by going through ShopAtHome. It's free to sign up (and you get $5 in your account just for doing so!). Then, when you are ready to shop online, you go to their site first and type in the store in order to see if they offer cash back. For example, let's say you wanted to shop at Vitacost. You would type Vitacost into the ShopAtHome website and it would show that they are offering back 11%, you would click on "Shop now" and their website would automatically open on your computer and then you shop and pay like usual. Once Vitacost confirms your purchase your 11% cash back would show in your account. A check is sent to you automatically when your balance reaches $25 or more. It's an easy way to earn money back for products that you were going to buy anyway. I'm always surprised when I find a check in the mail from them as I forget that it adds up quickly, and can be combined with other offers as well. Another example is Target online which is offering 10% back right now. They also have a new tool bar for your computer, which makes searching for their cash back offers, coupons, and codes so much easier and you earn another $5 just for downloading that. ShopAtHome especially comes in handy around Christmas when lots of great deals pop up online - why not earn a little of that money back?
Another site with the same idea is Ebates and I know several people who love it. I have no experience with it but it works basically the same as ShopAtHome.
Retail Me Not is another site you need to check before making an online purchase. This is a deals site which will list any free shipping or other discount codes that are out there for the particular site that you are purchasing from. Saving that $5.99 shipping fee or getting a percentage off your total is always welcome.
Following savings sites, such as Hip2Save or CheapCheapCheap walk you step by step through the deals online as well as stores in your town. They also announce free sample offers, awesome online prices on items, and match up the weekly coupons with sales in your area.
This tips may sound like a lot of work and a lot of time but they literally take seconds and can save you 10% or more of your purchase. Your time is worth that savings. Is there any helpful tip I may have missed that saves you money when shopping online?