Money Saving Tips #05 Online Shopping The internet is a big place; and finding a bargain can be a daunting prospect if you don’t know where to look, but don’t disregard it, because anyone can learn. You can buy almost anything online, and this article will outline some of the best places to look and some tips on saving some extra money while you’re there. 05.1 Comparison websites: You can type the item model number or item description into a comparison site, such as... google.co.uk/shopping pricerunner.co.uk For example, for a Samsung RC520-S02UK Laptop, you can search “RC520-S02UK.” You are then given a list of products and prices (you can organise them by price if you wish). Clicking them will take you to the store website. Here are a few things to watch out for: The prices listed on the comparison sites are not necessarily the final price you pay. You may need to account for VAT, postage and any other additional costs. Therefore the listing with the lowest price may not always work out cheapest ultimately. So check the final price of any products you are comparing. Check who is selling the product. If it is a retailer you have never heard of, or an ebay listing, do some background research. You can see the seller rating on ebay, or simply search “(retailer name) reviews” in your search engine. It should be immediately apparent from the first few search results if the website is a scam.
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do some thorough research to make sure the retailer isn’t scamming you. WARNING: Always use secure methods of payment when shopping online. The online store should list their methods of payment such as, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, etc. Stick to credit card wherever possible. If the company offers payment via wire transfer (like Western Union), make sure that they are reputable; I would particularly avoid ones that only accept wire transfer. By doing some general research online about the company you can avoid scams. 05.2 Voucher codes: Voucher codes are a great way of saving that bit of extra money on those online bargains. They are very widely available, especially for the big name stores. One of the best and most commonly searched for voucher codes is for free delivery. This is because they can often be the decent percentage saving on a purchase. Here are a couple of websites to find some voucher codes: vouchercodes.co.uk myvouchercodes.co.uk vouchercodes.net quidco.com If you cannot find voucher codes on these websites, try searching the internet for “voucher codes” or “discount codes” for the given website. You can also subscribe to voucher code websites to receive discount codes for your favourite websites.
Before making any online purchase, always check through voucher code websites for the latest discount codes. WARNING: Make sure that the voucher code is entered correctly, and has been applied to your shopping basket before paying for your purchase. Voucher codes can become out of date; but with some internet searching, you maybe able to find a more up to date version.
05.3 Groupon: This is a free subscription service, where you receive a daily email with some great national or local deals. The discounts can often be as much as 75% off, and they range from televisions, to holidays, to meals and more. Most of the offers are only valid for a day, and are limited to a fixed number of takers. This is because the offers are so heavily discounted, there is often a massive demand. The deals work through the purchase of vouchers. You pay for vouchers from Groupon, which are then redeemable from the retailers. Example: 20” x 30” Personalised canvas print RRP £69.99, Offer £20. That’s 71% OFF! Visit groupon.co.uk to subscribe to deals or to simply browse through the latest offers.
Make a bit of money by recommending others to Groupon offers. You get £6 Groupon credit for every recommendation that your friends take up. 05.4 Cashback: You can earn cashback from simply shopping online through cashback sites. It’s as simple as: 1. Register with a cashback website of your choice. 2. Browse their catalogue of retailers, pick one, and click through to their online store. 3. Shop as normal on the retailer’s website and get the agreed cashback amount put into you cashback account before transferring it into your bank account. Here are some of the most popular cashback websites: quidco.com topcashback.co.uk moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/cashback-sites-comparison Cookies: This is the techy bit. Cashback sites track when you click from their website through to retailers’ websites by leaving cookies (little bits of info that identify you -and more importantly, where you have come from- to retailers). It is important that you click through to the retailer’s website from the cashback website, if you wish to claim the cashback. If you click on a link from another website, they may leave a cookie, meaning you will not be eligible for the cashback. It may be recommendable for you to clear your cookies before making a purchase on an online store via a cashback site to make doubly certain. You can find out how to do this online or in windows help (F1).
Don’t leave your cashback to build up on your cashback website account; withdraw it to your bank account ASAP, as it is not yours until it is in your bank. WARNING: Think of cashback as a bonus, not a definite given. When comparing prices online, always opt for the best deal, disregarding potential cashback, as 40% of cashback is not paid out. Credit Card Cashback: Use a good credit card to shop online and make even more savings in cashback or rewards. Not only is it the safest way to spend, but you can double up on rewards. See the Money Saving Tips #3 Rewards, Cashback & Stoozing for more information on what type of credit cards are the best for you to use. 05.5 Online in store: If you are the impatient kind, or prefer to shop in store, you can often make a decent saving by simply reserving a product online and collecting it in store. Not only will you benefit from the store holding stock under your name (ensuring you don’t have to come away empty handed), but you can get some online special offers in store. Cashback: You can still take advantage of cashback websites in stores. For example; on quidco.com, you can register your credit or debit card, so when you spend, your purchase is tracked and the cashback is issued to your online cashback account. NEXT TIME... #06 PPI Reclaiming Information correct as of August 2011