By Vera Wilson
According to a 2019 study, 76% of U.S. consumers shop online. We adore the convenience (shopping in your PJs at 3 a.m.), infinite selection (a zillion sites have dog sweaters), and simplicity (click, click, click). But how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal possible?
Thankfully, you can follow these rules of the road to ensure that you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck this holiday season.
1. Dare to compare. Many apps and browser add-on tools will comparison shop for you. Google Shopping is one of the most popular; the add-on Pricelink scans over 4,000 shopping sites looking for best buys plus free shipping. Get cash back by shopping at your favorite store like Sears or Macy’s through Rakuten.com.
3. Chat ’em up. The next time you see a pesky message on a website from someone offering to help you with your purchase, go ahead and ask them if they know of any promos or special sales going on. Coupon expired? Ask if an extension is possible.
4. Location, device, location. Taking on the online retail world by storm is dynamic pricing, a practice in which retailers jack up prices based on your ZIP code or even the device you’re using. For example, prices can be higher if you use your desktop versus your cell or live in posh Beverly Hills, 90210. A workaround is to clear your cookies and history or switch to private/incognito mode.
5. Many happy returns. Many big-name websites like Walmart have expanded their online shopping to include a broader marketplace, but returns might need to go all the way to China on your dime. Make sure you understand the return policy of every product you buy; return items to the store when possible.
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6. Patience is a virtue. If you’re not in a hurry, empty your shopping cart and wait. Many websites will reach out with a discount on the products you deleted.
7. Pay it forward. When shopping on Amazon, please shop through Amazon Smile and select MOAA as your preferred charity; Amazon will donate a percentage of your eligible purchases to the MOAA Scholarship Fund.
Vera Wilson is freelance writer based in North Carolina. She frequently writes on financial topics.