Online shopping certainly isn’t new, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made shopping online for everyday essentials such as food, household cleaners and paper products a must for many shoppers. And while it’s convenient, it can also be a more expensive way to make these everyday purchases. Fortunately, there are ways you can save money while enjoying the convenience and safety of shopping from home.
Don’t Hesitate to Shop Around
While it’s convenient to make one large order at a single retailer, you may end up spending too much if you do. Online pricing for household essentials can vary a lot from retailer-to-retailer, so be sure to shop around a bit before purchasing. After a while, you’ll start getting a sense for the retailers who consistently have the lowest pricing on the products you order the most.
Look for a Coupon Code
Whether it’s free shipping, a small percentage of savings off your order total or simply a free sample or two, you’ll always want to do a quick search for an offer or promo code before placing your order. Particularly if you have a larger order, even 10% off the total can yield significant savings.
Add a Cash Back Browser Extension
You’ve probably seen the ads promising cash back simply for shopping online and wondered if they’re legitimate or a scam. Good news — they’re legit! By installing a browser extension like Honey, Rakuten or Retail Me Not, you’ll receive a small percentage of cash back when you shop through their affiliate link and place your order. It’s not instantaneous though, you’ll generally receive a quarterly payout, in the form of a check, direct deposit or a gift card of your choice, depending on the site you use. It’s a quick, easy way to make shopping online for essentials more rewarding.
Use a Cash-Back Credit Card
Shopping online for everyday essentials with a cash-back credit card can be an effective way to save money, IF you pay off the card balance in full every month. If you don’t, your purchase will start accruing interest, which negates any benefit you’d see from getting cash back. This strategy is only effective if you control your spending on the card and have the funds to pay it off every month.
Shop with Discounted Gift Cards
Have you ever purchased a discounted gift card? Sites like Card Cash, Card Pool and Raise offer discounted gift cards from most major retailers, including Target, Walmart and Amazon. The percentage off for cards varies by popularity and availability, but if you can find a high-value card for even a modest discount of say, 3%, you’ll definitely be able to save some cash on everyday purchases. Using gift cards is also an effective way to control your spending, mind your budget and is it adds an extra layer of security when shopping online.
Combine Your Savings
Any one of these ideas will save you money, but you’ll notice a real difference in your budget when you combine them or “stack” your savings. For example, once you find the lowest prices, look for a coupon code, shop through a cash-back site and use a cash-back credit card to see some significant savings.
Don’t Forget the Basics
When shopping for everyday essentials online, remember all the basic, money-saving shopping rules:
- Set a spending limit
- Shop with a list
- Avoid impulse purchases
- Plan meals to avoid food waste
- Don’t shop for groceries while hungry