Let's face it. Money makes the world go round. Even if we don't spend it on luxury items, we still need money to spend on life's essentials (like food, shelter, and clothes). It also doesn't help that the cost of goods seems to always be going up every year.
If you want to be a savvy consumer and save on a few bucks here and there, then it pays to shop smart. Learning to take advantage of the latest sales and knowing when there are deals is very important.
With the internet where almost everything is just a click or a swipe away, all the information is at our finger tips. So it is important that we take advantage of what the internet has to offer. Here are 4 ways using the internet can help you save some money:
1) Shop at Stores with Price Match Guarantees
There are a number of supermarkets that offers price match to the consumers . Price match means if you shop at a store and realize the same product is selling for a lower price in another store. You may go back to the first store for a refund of the difference.
In almost all situations you need a copy of the new ad featuring the lower price. Price match guarantees are about 30 to 60 days from the day of purchase.
In case I ever need to price match, I generally don't throw away my receipts (especially the large ticket items) until weeks later.
A few months ago, I was shopping at Lowe's (A Home Improvement and Appliance Store) for a washer and dryer for my clothes. I came across a pretty good deal and purchased it. About 3 weeks later, I found online the same washer and dryer had its price reduced. I went online and did a live chat with Lowe's customer support. Ten minutes later, I was given a price match of the difference plus a further 10% back. I was $127 richer. From finding the discount online to notifying customer support, all this took about 30 minutes in total. A great use of my time and I saved myself the gas to drive to Lowe's.
2) Earn Cash Rebates from Ebates or Great Canadian Rebates
Whenever I book hotels or make any online purchases, I would always log into a website called Great Canadian Rebates first. This is a website that offers cash back when you buy items online from a select number of merchants. Ebates is also a similar cash back website (so signing up for either one works)
Once you click on the merchants through the above websites, you just make buy like you normally would. In most cases, the rebates ranges from 2% to 7.5% cash back. Some could be more. Once you have paid for your product, the cash rebate websites will be credited your account.
These cash rebate websites also offers incentives if you refer friends.
It is very important you login to the rebate site first and then click on the merchants. This ensures that you will earn the further cash back. There has been a few instances where my cash rebates were missed.
Great Canadian Rebates offer a choice of getting paid either through an Amazon Gift Certificate (at least of $1.00 balance required), Paypal (minimum balance of $5.00), or by a cheque ($30.00 minimum balance is needed).
At the time of this article, I have earned about $91.10 through online purchases and hotel bookings through the Great Canadian Rebates site.
Some of the cash backs I have earned includes merchants such Indigo, Priceline.com - Hotels, Dell Canada, and Groupon.
Credit: Credit: PublicDomainPictures.net (public license)
3) Create a Retailers Only Email Address
To make my life easier, I created an email address specifically for subscribing to deals and store memberships. A lot of restaurants would offer a free appetizer or a discount when you give your email address to them, or X percentage off clothing purchases when you enroll into their email subscription list.
Also, some of these clothing stores would email you when they have one day only flash sales or specific member discounts only events. These discounts here and there do add up.
It doesn't hurt to also subscribe to warehouse sales using this email address. There is one convention centre that often hosts numerous warehouse sale events in my area.
Having an email address for store discounts and warehouse sales also prevents spam emails from going to your personal email. I used to spend a part of my mornings deleting emails from my personal one.
4) Search Online for Product Reviews
Whenever I am about to make tools or equipment purchases, I always try to find online reviews about it. There has been instances where I really liked the product but decided not to go ahead and buy it because the reviews were terrible.
There are two ways that I use to find online reviews about specific products.
1) Go into Amazon and type the product name.
Using Amazon for product reviews is my first resort. A commonly used product generally has enough reviews for you to decide whether it is worth investing in or not.
2) Go into Google and type the product name and then "reviews".
If the product cannot be found in Amazon, the next best place is to use Google search for the reviews. Sometimes I'm able to find something.
Going online to search for reviews do not always work though. If you are looking to buy a product that is not commonly used then the reviews will be difficult to find. Also, keep in mind that consumers are likely to post their frustrations online when things do not work compared to posting reviews online when things do work. So, there is a chance that a good product may seem like a bad one.
I used to go to my dealership to get my car maintenance and oil changes done. Upon searching online for an alternate and inexpensive garage. I found one in my area that charges on average $150 cheaper than the dealership - for the same service level.
Although finding a cheaper car garage isn't necessarily a product review but it highlights how a quick online search in your area can help save you money.
With the internet helping us do hundreds of searches and processing information within seconds, it's only natural that the internet can help us find ways to save money.
The only downside to online shopping is that we can't touch or feel the products before buying, but today a lot of stores offer exchanges and refunds.
The pre-internet days, it was difficult to find out about all the deals and sales that go on in the neighborhood. You would probably need to go into each mall. Since we now have the power of the internet, give yourself the chance, and let the internet do the heavy lifting for you.