How To Save Money With Online Shopping

save money with online shoppingThe following is a guest post by financial writer Claudia H. If you are interested in guest posting on Budget Blonde, please e-mail me at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com.

It so easy to overpay when purchasing just about anything in today’s market, regardless of the type or size of the product. Even though shopping online is an effective way to save money, the average prices for most products are still much higher than most consumers would like to pay for them.

One recent survey by RedPlum found that over 90 percent of consumers are willing to search for ways to save money even if they are big time millionaires! Over time, I’ve actually found that there are two key steps that can be taken in order to save a substantial amount of money during each online shopping trip. Here they are:

Search for, Save, and Use Coupons

Consumers were able to able to save over $4 billion during 2011 simply by shopping with either printed or online coupons. Even though this number may seem to be rather impressive, it is actually a fraction of the amount of money that could have been saved during the same year. This is simply because there was over $480 billion in coupons that were distributed, which means that there was less than one percent redeemed, according to eMarketer. Many people seem to stray away from searching and using coupons because of the belief that they will only be able to save a couple of dollars on each purchase by doing so. This is actually a major misconception. In order to maximize savings, you just need to know how to use these coupons wisely!

Do the Math

While it is true that the value of the average coupon is $1.44, there is still an abundance of other promotional specials and coupon codes that can be used to save even more, according to the Nielsen Company. Keep in mind that coupons come in flat rate and percentage amounts as well. You need to be able to do the math when it comes to making your purchases online in order to make sure that you are maximizing your savings.

Use coupons with flat rate amounts, such as $5 and $10 off, for small purchases. In most cases, these types of coupons work best with single, high-priced purchases. For example, using a $10 off coupon a $50 dress can save you much more money than using a 10 percent coupon on the same purchase. On the other hand, you can save much more money using a percentage coupon on a larger, bulk purchase instead of a flat rate amount. For example, you can save more money using a 10 percent coupon on a $200 purchase instead of a $10 off coupon.

The Bottom Line

Shopping for your purchases online will cost much less than shopping for them in traditional stores in most cases. However, you can save even more money by using coupons on those online purchases. Do the basic math when determining which types of coupons to use for each purchase, and maximizing your savings will be much easier than it seems!

How do you use coupons to save money?

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Avoid A Savings Addiction

savings addictionThe following is a guest post from the very talented Jessi. Jessi is a wife, mother, and avid budget fanatic. She is the author of The Budget Mama, a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping others reach their full financial potential. She covers topics from Personal Finance, DIY projects, Green Living, Organization, Recipes, and the joy and tears of Mommyhood.

If you are interested in guest posting at Budget Blonde, please e-mail me at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com. Now, without further ado, Jessi:

A savings addiction??? I mean, isn’t that a good thing? Well, yes and no. It’s a great thing when you are truly saving your family money but believe it or not, you can actually become addicted to penny pitching – so much so that you end up costing you and your family money.

How do you know if you’re addicted to saving money? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Do you find yourself getting excited about a coupon for a new product and then run out to the store to immediately take advantage of the sale plus coupon?
  • Do you get an email from your favorite online store advertising a great sale on a certain item you’ve been wanting and then make the purchase without consulting your budget?
  • Do you find yourself having to justify your purchases? {Either to yourself or significant other}

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be addicted to saving money. Saving money is a great thing but only when you don’t get carried away. By allowing yourself to become consumed by saving money, you can sometimes end up costing yourself money.

Take for example question one, getting an item on sale plus a coupon is great. But if you don’t need the item and you don’t have any blow money in your budget to spend on it, then it is costing you money.

In question two, you are actually compulsive shopping. When I first started getting really into saving money, I found myself falling into this trap a lot. I ended up having to take $300 out of my emergency fund to cover my “savings”. Ouch.

Question three, if you find yourself feeling any type of guilt after a purchase, that’s a dead giveaway that you’ve overspent and you need to reevaluate your saving strategy.

So, how can you overcome your addiction?

  • Change your settings in your payment profiles on the online stores where you shop. Take your debit/credit card completely off so when you go to make a purchase you actually have to find your physical card and enter it in. This will allow you some time to consider your purchase.
  • Either unsubscribe from all the deal newsletters you receive via email or have them automatically sent to a specific folder in your email so you can check them later.
  • Before running out and using a new coupon, read the product reviews {if available} for the product. Do some research; this will buy you some time to think about the product and its worth. Just because you have a coupon or it is a fantastic deal does not mean you must buy it.
  • When making a purchase, give it some real thought. Do you need this item? How will this item benefit me/my family? What will be the final cost to me? Will this item cause me to go over budget?

Editor’s Note: I’m also a really big fan of unsubscribing from store e-mails. It’s a great tip that has worked well for me. Thanks for your time and the great post, Jessi!

Have you ever found yourself falling victim to the exciting addiction of saving money?