If you’re a savvy buyer, chances are you’ll want to check both online prices and offline prices before you buy anything. This will allow you to make sure that you’re really getting the best deal possible. The techniques and strategies you need to employ when you’re buying online are quite different than when you’re buying offline. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each, as well as how to get the most bang for your buck with both shopping methods.
Which is “Better?”
The bottom line is that it depends entirely on the industry. If you’re grocery shopping, for example, you’re almost always better off shopping in person. Having groceries ordered online then delivered to your door is always more expensive than picking it up in person. The store has to pay a grocery delivery person and that’s an extra cost. On the other hand, some things are always cheaper online. For example, electronics. You can easily get a large USB drive on eBay for $2.99. This same USB stick could easily cost you $15 to $20 if you bought it at your neighborhood electronics store.
One isn’t better than the other. It depends entirely on what you’re shopping for.
Finding the Best Deal – Offline
There are a few different ways you can find the best deal for in-store purchases. First, look for advertisements and coupons. Look in your newspaper for coupons and be on the lookout for deals. Join the newsletter of stores that you shop at to have special deals mailed to you. Also, check out audience specific magazines in your area. If you’re in the market for a camera, for example, pick up a photography magazine. A local store may be purchased a local ad in that magazine which has special coupons and deals in it.
Check out the various stores in your area to see which ones tend to offer the best prices. You don’t want to have to drive around researching prices every time you shop, but you should do this just once to get a sense of which places are the best places to do your shopping.
Finding the Best Deal – Online
Finding the best deal online is often just a matter of comparing the prices on several different sites. One easy way to do this is to Google the item you’re looking to purchase. Then look at the top few websites offering what you’re looking to buy. Check the prices and find the best one. Some industries make shopping easy through price comparison websites. In electronics, PriceWatch.com and NewEgg.com are prime examples. In the airline industry, Expedia.com and Skyscanner.com are prime examples. Use these price comparison websites to find the best prices for the items you’re looking to purchase.
Whenever you’re shopping online, make sure you factor in the shipping and handling fees into the price before you decide whether or not it’s truly a better deal. Also, check the fraud protection mechanisms or escrow systems to make sure you’re truly protected before you buy.
More Ways to Save Money
If you’re buying a higher ticket item, consider buying the item used or refurbished. For example, Apple often refurbishes their own products. Instead of spending $400 to $500 for an iPad, you can spend just $150 to get a refurbished one. Even if it lasts half as long – Say, a year and a half – You’ll still have gotten a fantastic deal. Plus, in a year and a half, chances are you’ll want the new model anyway.
One common place people often forget to check is Amazon.com. Amazon often offers steep discounts on items that just wouldn’t be discounted anywhere else – Things like washing machines or bestselling books. Finally, watch for clearance sales in your area. Clearance sales are a fantastic way to pick up truly rock bottom deals. They don’t happen often, but if and when they do you should absolutely jump on that opportunity.
Now you know how you can find fantastic deals, both online and offline.