Everyone loves a deal. Buying something at a discount feels like winning. Not only do you get the thing you want, but you pay less than other people who bought it! (You hope.) Online shopping allows you to quickly price shop and compare. But there are so many places to buy from, it’s hard to sort through the options—and even harder to know if you’re really getting a deal or just being scammed. Luckily, there are a number of great deal-finding websites and blogs online that do nothing but hunt and post the best deals every day. Start your search with these, and you may save time as well as money.
Kiplinger’s has done a lot of the homework for you, with this list of the best deal sites. Says Kiplinger’s, “Our favorite is DealNews.com, which has a team of deal hunters who keep their eyes on a million products at more than 2,000 reputable online retailers and update the site with new deals at least 200 times a day.”
Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey has infinite things to say about getting and staying out of debt, and his blog post for Black Friday shopping is full of great suggestions. Better, his tips apply every day of the year, beginning with this one:
Make it a policy to never purchase anything online without first finding a coupon code to use. Do a simple Google search or try sites that gather coupon information like RetailMeNot.com or Coupons.com. Search for the store you’re planning to shop from and boom! You have a long list of coupon codes rated by other users.
Ready to go to the next level?
You may already know that online retailers can be sneaky. With tricky tactics like dynamic pricing (when they offer the same items to customers for different prices based on an individual customer’s shopping history), avoiding extra charges can take some real savvy.
Forbes has some pro-tips for serious bargain hunters. Consider this one:
Leave items in your cart. Log in to your account, place your desired items in the cart and then just let it sit. Retailers want to close the deal, so they’ll find ways to draw you back. In a few days you may get an email with a coupon or an offer for a better price.
But absolutely no deal is worth the discounted price, if you don’t get what you thought you were buying.
The internet is full of shady operators who want nothing more than to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. The Federal Trade Commission has this excellent archive of articles to help you spot and avoid specific scams— everything from paying for a funeral to purchasing Alaska Native Art. Perusing their topics is well worth your time.
The FTC also has some more general tips to protect you from scammers, such as this one: “If the seller requires payment through a wire transfer or by you giving them numbers off a gift card or prepaid card, that’s a scam. Legitimate sellers won’t restrict payment to those methods.”
Your time is money, and your money is, well, money. You don’t want to waste either. Save yourself the hassle, the dollars and the risk by using some of these tactics to shop smart.