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Shop Smart Online

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As a busy working mom of 4, I do much of my shopping online. You just can’t beat the ease of shopping at any time day or night, plus the convenience of UPS dropping off packages at your door. What’s not to love? But, can you save as much money shopping online as you can in a department store? The answer is YES – especially when you use these online shopping money saving tips.

Use Comparison Shopping Sites. You can find the cheapest online retailer for the product you want to purchase by using comparison shopping sites like Yahoo Shopping, Bizrate and Shopzilla. They can often calculate the taxes and shipping, too. Plus, these sites offer unbiased reviews and ratings on both products and retailers, so you can have confidence you’re getting a decent product from a reputable online retailer.

Use a Promo or Coupon Code. If you are looking to save online, it’s all about the promo or coupon code. The good news is that if a coupon code exists for your favorite store, you can find it online fairly easily. You could simply do a Google search for the store plus the phrase “coupon code.” For example, search “Pottery Barn coupon code.” You may get lucky and find a coupon code right away and you’re on your way to saving some money.

A better way to narrow your search is to use a retail coupon code website like RetailMeNot which is the biggest coupon site on the web. You can find thousands of coupon codes on RetailMeNot; simply search your store and if a promo codes exists it will pop up. Another site I like is BradsDeals because there too you can find hundreds of retail coupon codes.

Avoid Those Pesky Shipping Charges. Coupon or promo codes can also get you free shipping – something I rarely pay for when shopping online. If you are looking for free shipping, you can simply do a Google search for your store with the phrase “free shipping.” For example, search “Lands End free shipping promo code.” Plus, sites like RetailMeNot and BradsDeals can also help you find free shipping codes.

Another easy way to find free shipping codes is to simply look on the retailer’s website. If the retailer is offering free shipping, it will be clearly visible on its homepage. Retailers know we don’t want to pay for shipping when shopping online so more and more retailers are offering this little perk.

Finally, if you do frequent online business with one or more retailers they often send you exclusive free shipping offers either via email or mail.

Negotiate. Negotiate – really? Believe it or not, you can save 5%-25% off your purchases, with perhaps free shipping thrown in, by simply negotiating. When shopping online, select your purchases and before you checkout, look for a “chat” or “live help” button. It will open a chat session with a customer service rep. Just type in that you’ve got a full shopping cart but want to do some comparison shopping first. Ask if they are offering any discounts or free shipping. I can’t guarantee this will work every time, although you may be surprised at what you get especially if they know you can get the same things from a competitor.

Get on Retailers’ Email Lists for Money Saving Perks. A retailer’s mailing list is one of their best assets and they treat these assets very well. By getting on a retailer’s mailing list you will be the first to know about exclusive sales, deals and money saving offers including coupons. You’ll also get exclusive offers by mail. For example, if you like to shop at Ann Taylor or Ann Taylor Loft, one of the only ways you are going to get coupons is to be on their mailing lists. Be selective about the mailing lists you join, and know that you can always unsubscribe for any reason.

Follow Your Favorite Retailers on Facebook or Twitter. Engaging your favorite retailers in social media such as Facebook and Twitter can save you money. Retailers love their Facebook fans and their Twitter followers and will go to great lengths to gather and keep them by offering exclusive money saving coupons and promo codes. I follow all my favorite retailers and I get lots and lots of great tcoupons!

Get Cash Back on Your Online Purchases. Did you know you can actually earn money by shopping online? It’s true, it’s easy and it’s a great way to save money. When you sign up with sites like Ebates.com and ShopAtHome.com they pay you to shop through their websites. You can typically get back 3%, 5%, even 10% cash back when you shop through these sites. Your cash back is generally credited to your account within 30 days and you receive your check by mail.

A big plus to using these sites, besides getting cash back, is that you can use any promo or discount codes on top of the cash back. So, if you have a 20% coupon for The Children’s Place you can shop through Ebates and get your cash back PLUS another 20% off!

Let’s face it, in this tough economy we need to find creative ways to save money on the things we want and need. Hopefully these tips can help you get more with less money.

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