Save money shopping online for people with disabilities
Shopping online can be quick and convenient, but it can also be pricey. This article will give you secrets to saving money shopping online.
CouponChief.com’s Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities provides a detailed look at ways those with handicaps and disabilities can stretch their dollars. Discounts, services, and special offers for disabled people are widely available, but very few businesses will mention their willingness to help simply because the risk of offending someone is just too big to risk saying something. Managing a disability can be tough, but you don't have to handle it all by yourself. The bottom line is: if you can save money, why not do it?”
Here are tips for getting the best deals when shopping online:Hunt for coupons: Always search for coupons before making a purchase. Sites like couponcraze.com and couponmom.com have tons of coupon codes for all types of retailers, from small online merchants to large chain stores. My favorite coupon site is retailmenot.com, which posts codes for more than 65,000 online merchants. Recent codes included 20 percent off at bathandbodyworks.com, $10 off a $70 order at sears.com, and 30 percent off a purchase plus free shipping at landsend.com.
Use the right credit card. This is the simplest way to save anywhere from 2% to 5% on everything you purchase online. For example, Amazon offers 3% cash back with the Amazon Rewards Visa. By far the best deal I've found is the Target REDcard, which offers both 5% cash back and free shipping. Even a credit card that isn't co-branded can often get you 2% cash back at any retailer. There's no cost to opening or maintaining these cards -- just remember to pay them off!
Buy at the best possible time. Amazon is notorious for dynamic pricing, where the prices of items change many times per day based on a black-box algorithm, and more and more retailers are adopting this pricing method. Products can sometimes fluctuate up to 15% in price within a couple of hours. Tools like CamelCamelCamel monitor historic price changes and will let you see if the item frequently sells for a better price, which can help you predict when is the best time to buy.
Share in the affiliate revenue. Most retailers have some sort of affiliate program that pays other websites for bringing them traffic that creates purchases. Several sites, like Ebates and MyPoints, actually allow the consumer to share in this affiliate revenue for a rotating set of categories. All you have to do is use these sites' referral links when buying goods in those categories, and you'll get some cash back through PayPal -- usually anywhere between 2% and 5% of your order.
Be smart about merchants. When looking at different merchants on sites like Amazon and Ebay, you should consider more than just the price. For example, if you are buying multiple items, finding them from the same merchant will often save you money on shipping costs. An even cooler secret -- if you find merchants based in the same state as you, you can often get your item delivered in two or three days, even if you purchase with standard shipping. But a seller in a neighboring state is even better, because they're less likely to charge you sales tax on the purchase!
Use social networking: “Like” your favorite retailers on Facebook. Many merchants, including the Gap and Banana Republic, post special coupons or announce sales first on their Facebook pages.
Sign up for emails: Join the email lists of your favorite retailers so you can get coupons and other special offers delivered straight to your inbox. Sportsauthority.com and kohls.com, for example, will email you a coupon for 10 percent off your purchase just for signing up.
Weigh online vs. in-store prices: If possible, compare a retailer’s online price to its in-store price for an item—they’re not always the same and sometimes the online price isn’t the best deal. I recently found a Lamaze toy at a brick and mortar Babies “R” Us with a $14.99 price tag; the same toy was $19.99 at babiesrus.com.
Stack smart: Some retailers, such as shoe merchant dsw.com, allow you to “stack” coupon codes, or use more than one. The key is to enter the codes in the proper order to maximize savings. So if you have two coupon codes—one for $10 off your purchase and another for 15 percent off— enter the 15 percent code first, then the $10 code. That way, you’ll get 15 percent off the full price of the item, before the $10 discount.
Comparison shop: Use price-comparison and product-search sites like bizrate.com, mysimon.com, and froogle.com to compare the prices of items at various online and local merchants.
Avoid shipping fees: Many stores offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount. If you’re falling short of that minimum, think about other items you may need that you can purchase ahead of time. I recently bought a pair of favorite socks at macys.com because I was a few dollars short of the $99 minimum required for free shipping. I thus saved myself the $8 flat shipping fee and had new socks.
Check the return policy: Some retailers, such as shoe merchants zappos.com and piperlime.com, offer free return shipping. Many others allow you to return items in-store for free. Knowing a retailer’s return policy can help you save money if you’re not completely satisfied with an item.
Get rewarded: Join your favorite retailers’ loyalty programs, and don’t forget to enter your loyalty number each time you shop. You can earn money back on your purchases, plus other great deals.
Be patient: If you don’t need an item right away, it pays to check back daily over a two-week period to see if a new coupon pops up or if an item goes on sale. And when you do see a good deal, jump on it—it often won’t last long!
Add Items To Your Shopping Cart… Then Leave. I was recently tipped off to the new service Handybook, which makes it easy to book house cleaners and handymen online (think: Zocdoc for household work). Eager to try it out, I put one full-home cleaning job in my shopping cart. However, before I could check out and confirm the date and time, I had to check on a few things in my schedule. Cut ahead a day or so, and I get an email from the service telling me that they had noticed that I had begun a booking, but had not completed it. To nudge me on, they offered me a $30 discount on my first booking. Unless you need an item immediately, put a few days between the moment when you add it to your online shopping cart, and when you check out. You never know what sorts of carrots the retailers may use to lure you over the finish line.
Google The Product Name. Just because you found a product for what seems like a great deal on one site doesn’t mean it isn’t going for significantly less somewhere else. Often, these better deals can be found by simply Googling the product’s name. For example, I recently found a home product that was advertised as being on sale on flash-sale stalwart Gilt for significantly less on Wayfair (and with none of the buy-it-now-or-it’s-gone-forever pressure). That’s not to say that flash-sale sites don’t sometimes have great deals—they seriously do. But sometimes a few clicks can save you even more.
Subscribe. If can predict when you’ll need to re-up your supply of coffee or razors, try using Amazon’s “Subscribe” feature to automate the repurchasing process. Not only will it save you time in the future (and decrease the risk you’ll be left without some necessities), but the site will often shave a few percentage points off the price. Many online stores, including Amazon and Target, now offer between 5% and 15% off a purchase if you subscribe to ordering it regularly. Even with these discounts, the retailers tend to make money from customers who forget about the subscription (the classic "gym membership" model). If you remember to cancel it when you no longer need the subscription, you'll end up saving a good bit of cash.
Get Discount Codes. This one may sound obvious, but it still amazes me how many people haven’t quite realized that if a retailer gives you the option of entering a discount or promo code, the chances are pretty good that they have some available. Sites like RetailMeNot compile these codes, although simply Googling the online store and the word “coupon code” is sure to bring up a few more potential options. Because these codes constantly cycle in and out of activation, be sure to try a couple until you find one that gives you a decent deal (or at least free shipping).
If you’ve got Chrome, you can also install the browser extension Honey, which automatically finds coupon codes for many online retailers.
There are two main types of Internet shopping promotions that you will see while browsing online. One is called the "coupon code" or "promotional code " and the other is a " link only" promotion.
The brick and mortar stores rely on weekly sales to motivate buyers. The online merchants use discount codes in the same manner.
The only problem is that you have to know where to find the discount coupons and how to use them. It happens many a times that you see a box when you are checking out at your favorite online retailer saying, "Enter Coupon Code", and said to yourself, "Where do I get one of those?"
Discount codes are not usually advertised on the Internet stores. The main purpose of the discounts is to get buyers to come to the sites, so normally they will not tell you about them if you are already there. You need a place to locate the codes before you go shopping. You need to check out the coupon code sites.
Although many of the discounts are for first time buyers, the online retailers have started to offer more deals for returning shoppers. Typically the codes can only be used once per customer. Some stores run multiple concurrent codes and allow each one to be used once.
Even better than the no minimum purchase are the real deals that can result from combining a coupon code with a big rebate. You can find these combinations yourself if you spend enough time searching. Often, the various coupon code sites will point out the best of these deals.