December
9 - 2011

The Frugal Online Shopper – Get What You Need Faster and Cheaper!

The following is a guest post from Melissa Cameron.

Being in my 30s, I’m young enough to have spent the better part of my life using computers at home, but I’m also old enough to remember the times before Internet connections, laptops and smart phones. That tenuous balance that I have between the industrial age and the technological age gives me, what I think is a fairly unique perspective.

I can truly appreciate the advances, and I don’t take them for granted the way my own kids probably will by the time they’re my age. My kids were weaned on a computer keyboard and held a mouse before they even held a pencil. I have a picture of my firstborn sitting on my lap, slapping the keyboard and having a great time on the computer at the tender age of three months old.

The Frugal Advantages of Online Shopping

The biggest advantage to the Internet for me is the ease of shopping. As a woman, you might expect me to love shopping. (Note from Cheap: Yikes! Let’s kick these old stereotypes to the curb! 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I do love buying things, but I truly dislike pushing through crowds, dealing with parking and fighting traffic. The ability to buy just about anything I can think of online is amazing, and I can really save money.

With two kids, a husband and my parents living next door, I have a full house, and am always looking for great deals. My husband says I take frugality to whole new levels, and he may be right, but no one ever goes without around here. I just always look for the best prices for anything from school clothes and supplies to Dewalt table saws and home repair supplies for my husband’s projects.

Another frugal advantage of shopping online is that I don’t spend money on gas to get to the store. Shopping online also lets me find a much larger selection of products in the area I am looking.

Instead of being limited to the choices my local hardware store might have on saws, I can find the exact brand I want, all the models available and search for the best price anywhere. Many online stores even have savings on shipping with orders over a certain amount so it’s very cost effective.

Online Purchase Safety

For a long time I worried about buying things online. I was afraid of having my identity stolen, but security advances have come a long way. Always make sure any website you choose has the https symbol in the address bar. That means your information is secure.

Remember, the security address doesn’t have to show up on all of the pages of the website. Product pages, help pages and other website pages can be common http addresses. However, the minute you are asked to put in any personal information at all from your name and address to credit card information make sure that the https tag is in place.

Some of the things you can buy online that most people don’t think of are:

  • Groceries (delivered right to your door)
  • Rugs
  • Furniture
  • Artwork (framed or unframed)
  • Exercise equipment

I also do all of my Christmas, birthday and holiday shopping online. The last time I went Christmas shopping at the local store in town, I ventured out on the day after Thanksgiving when all the sales started for the Christmas holidays. I thought I would never make it out of that store with all my limbs.

Those folks were serious about their sales! I much prefer to find great prices anytime I need something, not just on one or two days a year. I can get them by shopping online.

Before You Buy

The most important thing to do before you buy things online is to look around for reviews. I searched for Dewalt miter saw reviews to see what others said about the quality and also the delivery of various suppliers online before I actually purchased the one Dave, my  husband, needed to do the porch remodel last summer.

You can find a lot of information from the online reviews. Make sure you look at more than one so that you can get a broad idea of what people think about the item rather than just one person who may be biased.

Shopping online is fun and easy. Do it safely and enjoy the benefits of relaxed shopping from your living room and get everything you need without ever heading out into traffic or dealing with crowds.

About the Author: Melissa Cameron is a happy mother of two who lives with her children and husband in Austin, Texas. Her parents live right next door. Melissa’s work involves freelance writing online where she shares her experiences raising a family and parenting as well as tips for work at home moms, frugal living tips and local history facts with readers everywhere.

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