Retailers have been hit hard by the slower economy, with sales still sluggish as the country works toward a recovery. Online retailers are bucking this trend, however, with online sales up 13.6% since last year. Without the overhead that brick-and-mortar stores have, online retailers are able to offer bigger discounts and lower prices in general. Bargain shoppers have figured out the best deals are on the web. Here are six ways you too can save big by shopping online. (For more background, read Profiting From A Consumerless Recovery.)
IN PICTURES: 8 Steps To Teach Your Partner Household Finances

  1. Compare Prices and Reviews
    In the past, price comparing meant spending the day driving all over town, looking for the best deal going store to store. When shopping online, you can compare prices from the comfort of your home and even get websites to compare prices for you. Search engines like,, and will not only give you the best price, they'll often tell you how much shipping will set you back, and how the vendor is rated in customer service. You can even get customer reviews on the product you're considering; for reviews by professionals, try, and for your electronics purchases.

  2. Find Discount Codes
    Are you getting the best deal possible? Before you buy that product, do a quick search for discount code; a simple search with your vendor name, like "Target coupon code," will get you the results you need. If you're just browsing for deals, try sites like, or; most allow you to search alphabetically or by category. Many vendors will offer you a one-time, first-time customer discount if you sign up for their email list - a great way to save, if you don't mind the emails. (Find out more, in Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)

  3. Look for Free Shipping
    Consider all of that gas you're burning, driving to buy that item you want. You can save the fuel and the time by shopping online - plus, many vendors offer free shipping to sweeten the deal. For some items, like furniture and other bulky things that you would otherwise have to pay your brick-and-mortar retailer to deliver, this can mean big savings. Just make sure that the price of the item isn't inflated to accommodate the shipping cost.

  4. Unite and Save
    Larger groups of people are often offered discounts. Now, there's a way to do this online: sends out daily (local) deals for anything from restaurant gift cards at half the price, to entertainment and lodging deals. If enough people sign up for the deal, you get a substantial group discount.

  5. Auction
    Most people are familiar with eBay, and how you can bid on items to get a lower price. But there are many other auction sites, like and, where you can get a bargain by bidding online. One word of caution: it's very easy to get caught up in the bidding process and overpay. To make sure you don't get lost in the frenzy; make sure you're bidding on an item you truly want, and set a price limit beforehand.

  6. Print Coupons
    The Sunday paper isn't the only place to get coupons anymore. You can now print them on your computer, and bring them in to the store. Sites like will let you print coupons with barcodes to cut your grocery bill; just check with your grocery store to make sure they accept printed coupons. Signing up at your favorite store's website will often get you coupons, too - World Market, for instance, has an extensive customer loyalty plan, sending discount coupons right to your email inbox. (Learn how to live within your means, in 6 Months To A Better Budget.)

The Bottom Line
Still hesitant to shop online? Even if you're not buying on the net, web browsing is a smart way to do your research, from comparing prices to checking if your local store has the item you want in stock. Sometimes the website of your local store has your purchase at a lower price than advertised in the store, in which case they'll likely match the price. Whether you're buying online or not, with these tips, the web is your superhighway to big savings.

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: A Diving Dow And Rotting Eggs.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    How Parents Can Help Adult Children Buy a Home

    Owning a home isn't easy thanks to stringent lending standards. Thankfully, there's ways parents can help their kids buy a home.
  2. Personal Finance

    How Tech Can Help with 3 Behavioral Finance Biases

    Even if you’re a finance or statistics expert, you’re not immune to common decision-making mistakes that can negatively impact your finances.
  3. Taxes

    Internet Sales Tax Vs. Brick & Mortar Sales Tax

    Learn about the differences between sales taxes and Internet sales taxes, and the goods and services that typically incur each type of tax.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    How an Internet Sales Tax Will Affect Your Small Business

    Learn about how the Marketplace Fairness Act may impact small business owners should it pass in the House and what the act requires from business owners.
  5. Retirement

    4 Ways to Boost the Amount You Save for Retirement

    Retirement can easily last more than twenty years, which means you have to save a lot. Thankfully, there are ways to enhance the amount you put away.
  6. Credit & Loans

    Adjustable Rate Mortgage: What Happens When Interest Rates Go Up

    Adjustable rate mortgages can save borrowers money, but they can't go into it blind. In order to benefit from an ARM, you have to understand how it works.
  7. Investing Basics

    Internet Sales Tax's Effect on Interstate Commerce

    Find out how a national Internet sales tax could affect interstate commerce, and why some bigger online retailers are lobbying for such a tax.
  8. Retirement

    How to Stretch Your Retirement Savings

    What does "nest egg" mean for your personal situation? Will you deplete it, or will you nurture it to generate income that lasts throughout retirement?
  9. Stock Analysis

    Does TripAdvisor Offer Upside Potential? (TRIP)

    Will TripAdvisor's downside risk outweigh upside potential in 2016? It's most recent SEC filing offers some strong clues.
  10. Personal Finance

    Wal-Mart vs. Target: Which One Is A Bigger Threat To Amazon?

    Walmart and Target both revealed multi-year plans to grow their businesses. Which of these two retailers is the biggest threat to Amazon?
  1. Does QVC charge sales tax?

    QVC, an American TV network, is registered with states to collect sales or use tax on taxable items. QVC is also required ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does Walmart take international credit cards?

    Foreign visitors to Walmart locations in the United States can use their credit cards issued by banks outside of the U.S. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is QVC publicly traded?

    QVC, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Interactive Corporation. It is attributed to the QVC Group tracking stock, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Who do hedge funds lend money to?

    Many traditional lenders and banks are failing to provide loans. In their absence, hedge funds have begun to fill the gap. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I invest in electronic retailing (e-tailing)?

    Electronic retail is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Every year, more people are choosing to purchase ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center