How to Shop Smart Online - dummies

By Faithe Wempen

When you’re digitally literate, you can save some serious money when shopping. In addition to paper coupons, stores might offer downloadable coupons or online-only deals. And if you shop online, you can search for the best prices without having to drive anywhere or fight crowds.

Here’s how to shop for the best values online. Try this method and see if it works well for you!

  1. Determine the exact brand and model you want.

    Do this by looking at the websites of the companies that make the products, and then by looking at consumer reviews, especially at retailers like Amazon.

  2. Take that model number to a price comparison site such as PriceGrabber and search for the model number.

    This pulls up a list of sites that sell the item and reports their prices including tax and shipping. Open each of the sites in a different tab in your browser so you can switch back and forth between them.

  3. Narrow your choices down to the best two or three sites that sell the product at the lowest price.

    If any of them are companies you’ve never heard of, research the companies by doing a web search on the company name plus “customer complaints” and “reviews.” This helps you avoid problems with companies that have poor customer service.

  4. Search for discount coupon codes.

    Look at a coupon site such as DealCatcher or do a web search for the company name plus “coupons” to see if there are any discount coupon codes you could claim that would shift the prices one way or another enough to change your mind about where to buy.

  5. Look at all the data you have gathered, including prices, coupons, and company reputation information and make your final decision.