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3 Simple Steps to Save Money Shopping Online

by Michelle Jones, Founder of BetterBudgeting.org

There's no doubt, regularly shopping online can save you a decent amount of money each month. That is, if you do it right. Shopping frivolously, or without a spending plan, can wash all those savings right down the drain in one click. I'm not saying I've done it, but I'm not saying I haven't done it either. When I stop to think about it, I'm sure I have. And I'm sure there's a pretty good chance you have as well.

So, how can we improve our online shopping to hold onto those hard earned savings?

Here's 3 simple steps that I believe will help: 

1. Make More than One List

Over the last few years I've developed a way of shopping online for our most ordered household and personal items that seems to be working fairly well. I know which stores have the best price for each item and I keep a separate shopping list for each store. As we run out of something I add it to the appropriate list until I have at least enough items to qualify for free shipping. (In fact, the only time I pay for shipping seems to be when ordering food gifts for other people, and I'm not sure there's any way around that one.)

Back in the day when our kids were young and there was no Internet, I shopped exactly the same way. I usually had 3 or 4 stores I shopped at each week to save as much money as I could. Not just because I wanted to save money, but I had to. And now, shopping online at only one store, such as Amazon, is a surefire way to spend more money than you need to.

2. Comparison Shop

Pick just a few of your favorite online stores you like to order online from and make them part of your weekly/monthly shopping routine. Then, when you have something you need to purchase that's out of the ordinary, like clothing, electronics, home decor, etc., you'll already have everything set up to easily comparison shop.

Hint: When you search the first store for a new item, go ahead and add it to your cart so it will be quick and easy to order if you choose to make that purchase. Do the same for the second and third store, as needed. This makes it super easy to compare prices as well as product information.

3. Stop and Wait

Ah, every shopper's best money saving tool and every store's nightmare. Wait before you buy. Give it a day or so, or even more if you can. I have dozens of items in my "save for later" online shopping carts. And that's right where I try to keep them. Often I decide we really don't need the item after all, or the item is no longer available (after months of waiting). It's very satisfying to delete the item completely, even from "save for later". That money not spent is more money saved!

Before you even put an item on your list to buy, are you sure you really need it? Are you sure you need it now? If the answer is yes to both questions, add it to your list. And if you're not sure which store to list it under just put a question mark next to it. Then follow step 2 for that item.

Shopping online can be fun and convenient, especially when you're stuck at home for whatever reason. Adopting these 3 simple steps into your shopping routine will help you save money more than any app available on the market.

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