Posts Tagged ‘Internet Shopping’

Best Ways to Shop for Deals

Lately, as I’ve been working with clients, I’ve realized that there is a NEW spending category that is starting to have a negative effect on some of our bank accounts: Groupon, Living Social and other programs.

A friend recently started tracking a similar website called Woot. She told me that there were amazing deals on the site and couldn’t believe she’d discovered such a treasure.

A couple months later I asked how Woot was going. She sighed and said she didn’t visit it anymore. “I great-dealed myself until I was broke.”

That’s my feeling about Groupon, Living Social, coupon clipping and sales. Only buy items you were going to purchase anyway and they’re wonderful opportunities. Buy items you weren’t going to purchase and you may find yourself beyond your budget.

Personally, I rarely visit these sites because I know that presentation is the key to marketing. I can’t examine a deal until I see the deal. Once I’ve seen the amazingly low discounted price, I want the product! Even if I didn’t want it before, I find 101 uses for the three-armed chair leg counter and backscratcher (on sale today only).

Here’s a better way to shop for deals:

  • What do you want to buy? Use Google or Bing to search for the product. (I use Bing because they offer a search reward program. I do nothing out of the ordinary and earn free points, which I can convert to Amazon dollars.)
  • Read reviews on the product. Look for suitable alternatives (often an Amazon search on a product will bring up a list of similar items).
  • Use a search engine again with the name brand you’ve chosen + the word “discount.” You’ll find coupons, offers and lower cost alternatives.

Remember that low cost isn’t everything if the retailer doesn’t have a good return policy or customer satisfaction rating. Use the search engine a third time to find horror stories about a retailer if you’re unfamiliar with the name.

How to Keep your Online Identity Safe!

Today I read that the FBI reports internet crime more than doubled last year. People who normally lock their car doors buy frequently online, complete all their banking over the web and pay bills routinely using their keyboard. Internet transactions are an easy way for crooks to steal bank account numbers, credit card information and other personal data. Maybe it’s time to sit back and think for a moment about protecting yourself while you’re banking and shopping on the internet.

My goal isn’t to frighten anyone away from online transactions. Truthfully, in this busy world it would seem silly to avoid shopping or banking online. In many ways, online transactions help people with fiscal responsibility. It’s easier to stay within your spending plan. You have time to carefully consider transactions without a sales clerk pressuring you to purchase before “the sale ends.” You can easily monitor financial activities and spot trends. Working online isn’t the enemy. Completing financial transactions without thinking about protecting yourself is the problem. It’s like walking around the mall with a wad of cash hanging from your back pocket. There’s only a matter of time until someone steals from you.