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Use the Internet to Save Money on Holiday Shopping

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-11-04 5:00 am --

Online shopping can be tricky. Shipping charges alone can eat up a Christmas budget before the season gets going good. There are, however, countless opportunities to save money by purchasing online. It just takes a little organization to take advantage of them all.

Sign up for e-mails
This is a first and vital step, and to maximize the money saved, it should be done at the beginning of the year. This allows a shopper to take advantage of sales all year around. To begin, make a list of stores that you enjoy shopping from. Then go to each store’s website and sign up for their e-mails. To minimize spam, create a whole separate e-mail address for this, using a free service such at yahoo, hotmail, or Gmail.

These e-mails will ensure that you are alerted to sales when they happen and sometimes give you early access. It also means that occasionally you will receive promotion codes for percents or dollars off, or free shipping. Take advantage of these deals as they come along throughout they year, rather than waiting until the last minute to make purchases when these deals may not be available. This is especially true of free shipping. Shipping charges can ruin a great online sale.

Do a code search
Never complete an online purchase without first doing a search for coupon codes. Sites such at retailmenot.com and currentcodes.com list hundreds of stores alphabetically along with currently available coupon codes. A simple search can sometimes save up to 20%.

Shop through a cash back service
Sites such as Ebates.com and shopathome.com offer cash back on purchases from hundreds of online stores. This is paid quarterly by check or PayPal. Taking advantage of this all year long can yield a nice little nest egg at the end of the year to go toward Christmas or to be used as a special holiday treat.

Sign up for Swagbucks and search, search, search. Searching through Swagbucks.com earns points called “swagbucks” that can be redeemed for all kinds of merchandise, including gift cards that can be used to buy Christmas gifts, or can be given as gifts themselves.

The scenario
Utilizing the tips above, an online purchase may look something like this:

  • ABC Company is one that a shopper enjoys to shop at. Back in January the shopper signed up for ABC Company’s e-mails. Now it is October and they have sent and e-mail that they are having a huge sale and offering free shipping through the end of the week.
  • The shopper goes to Ebates.com and enters the store’s website there. ABC Company happens to be offering 4% cash back through Ebates.
  • Once on ABC Company’s website, said shopper selects several gifts at sale prices that allow him or her to purchase gifts worth $100 for $70, or 30% off.
  • Now the shopper opens a new tab and goes to a coupon code site to do a search for ABC Company. They happen to have a code out for 20% off an order of $50.
  • The shopper clicks over to the checkout and enters the code where it is requested. The total drops to $56.
  • The sale includes free shipping on orders over $50 through the end of the week. After taxes the order goes up to $60.
  • The check out process is finished, and in a few days $2.40 is deposited into the shopper’s Ebates account. This shopper just spent a net of $57.60 on $100 worth of products.
  • The tips and scenario above should encourage all holiday shoppers to take advantage of resources available online to maximize their dollar during the holiday season, and all year long.