Finding a great deal or getting the best price for products is important for any shopper. As you can see below, I have put together a list of my favorite online shopping sites and resources. Each have their strengths and weaknesses but I have found these to be the cream of the crop for their particular categories. The lists are not in any particular order but I have place and asterisk (*) next to my absolute favorites.
Group Coupon Sites – Group coupon websites leverage the collective buying power of groups to offer you huge discounts on various local products and services.
Comparison Shopping Search Engines – These sites search major merchant websites all at once and list their prices for you
Cash Back Sites – These sites earn revenue by referring you to a specific merchant who in turn gives the cash back site a commission off of your purchase. The cash back site then passes part or all of that commission on to you. After a waiting period (1-2 months) to verify you didn’t return the item, you will receive a credit to your user account or a check for the amount you saved.
Coupon & Promotional Code Sites – Save extra cash by using a coupon or promotional code to apply towards your purchase
- RetailMeNot *
- Yahoo! Shopping Coupon Center
- FatWallet (search user forums)
- SlickDeals (search user forums too)
- Wow Coupons
- Coupon Mountain
Deal Sites – Use to find coupons, promotional codes, and hot deals!
Mobile Shopping Sites – Great for checking and comparing prices while I’m browsing in a store. If you can’t browse the web on your phone, then Frucall would be a good solution for you.
Auction Sites – Shop for used items, collectibles, discounts, etc…
Marketplace Sites – Allows site users to sell their own new and/or used items at a fixed price
Classified Ad Sites – If you look hard enough, sometimes you can find some great deals on these sites
Product Review Sites – Provides product reviews created by either users or experts or both
- Amazon (users & experts) *
- CNET (users & experts)
- Buzzillions (users only)
- Epinions (users only)
- PriceRunner (user & experts)
- PriceGrabber (users & experts)
- Live.com Product Search (users & experts)
Product Buying Advice/Guide Sites – Such sites/features help you narrow your search according to cost, brand, etc. and help you decide what product model fits your needs the best
Price Alerts – This feature allows you to set a price for a specific product and be alerted via email or text message once it reaches that price. This can save you money if you are not in a big hurry to make the purchase.
Gift Card Auctions/Marketplaces – These sites let you buy, sell or trade your gift cards with other site members. It benefits both parties by helping members get cash for cards they won’t ever use as well as save money by buying gift cards at discounted prices.
If you’re looking to purchase a new product, I’d suggest using the following strategy:
- Research Product – Access the buying guide and product review sites to identify the make and model of the product that best fits your needs
- Compare Prices – Use comparison shopping search engines to find out which store has the best price for the product
- Get Coupon/Code – Obtain a coupon or promotional code to use for the actual store from which you plan to purchase the product
- Buy Discounted Gift Card – Purchase a gift card at a discounted price at one of the popular gift card trading/marketplace sites (e.g. $50 gift card priced at $45)
- Use Cash Back Site – Be directed to the store in question via the cash back site and make the actual purchase in order to obtain the cash back savings
- Enter Coupons, Use Gift Card, & Specify Shipping - Once you’ve added the product to your shopping cart, view your cart and enter your coupon or promotional code and gift card for more savings and select ‘free shipping’ if available (most stores have coupons/codes for free shipping). Select in-store pickup when ordering large or heavy products to avoid high shipping costs. If the store is not in your area, see if another competing store nearby will match the price. Keep in mind that sales tax is usually added to in-store pickup orders; you will have to weigh the costs to see if avoiding the shipment expenses is worth paying sales tax.
- Make Purchase – Finally, use a cash back credit card to make your purchase and get the extra savings
Related Savings Tactics:
- Price Matching – Popular merchants (i.e. Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) will usually match any competing store’s online/offline price for any given product. That is, they will usually match online to online and offline (in-store) to offline prices but won’t typically match online to in-store prices or vice versa. Use this tactic if you have a desire or need to order from a particular store that’s not in your area.
- In-Store Pickup – Lets you order online and go pick up your order at a nearby store. Use this to avoid shipping costs (though you will have to pay taxes) and still use online promotional codes and coupons. This is great for use with large or heavy items that incur pricey shipping charges.
- Cash Back Credit Cards – Depending on which one you have, these credit cards allow you to earn cash back on certain purchases. Make sure you read the fine print before you sign-up to guarantee your purchase qualifies for the cash back rewards.
- Free Shipping – Most major online stores (Amazon, Buy.com, etc.) offer free shipping and free shipping coupons/codes
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