How to Spend Money Wisely » Shopping

Before You Buy in the Store, Check Online

If you are looking to save money, the Internet provides you with opportunities to pay less. Before you head to the nearest retail location, it makes sense to check online for the better prices. After all, you could save up to 50% off on things you had already planned to buy if you do some comparison shopping online.

Comparison Shopping Online

Many frugal minded people know that it’s important to comparison shop. They call various stores around town, and get an idea of what things cost. But many neglect to do a quick search online. In fact, a simple Google or Bing search for what you are looking for can provide you with helpful comparisons of your options.
You can also look on aggregate sites that pull in options from around the world. And, of course, Amazon provides you an array of product choices. A quick glance can tell you whether or not you are going to find the best deal in town, or if you should consider buying online.

Are You Saving by Shopping Online?

Once you find a price that you like, on the product you are looking for, it’s important to make sure that you are truly saving money. In most cases, you are going to have to pay shipping costs when you make an online purchase. If you are saving $3 over the in-store price, but shipping is $8, then you aren’t really saving money at all. You’re paying more.
Make sure that you figure shipping costs into your calculation. At some online retailers, you can save on shipping costs by looking for promo codes, or buy spending a specific amount of money. While you don’t want to buy extra items just to get free shipping, you can plan your purchases so that you order quite a bit at once.
Related to the shipping issue is how quickly you need something. Inexpensive or free shipping usually only applies to slower shipping speeds. If you need something quickly (especially overnight), you will have to pay a great deal. If you need something fast, you are probably better off just making your purchase at the brick and mortar store nearby. Be sure to consider your needs as you comparison shop.

Ask for a Discount

Some local stores are willing to match online prices. So, you could do some research online, and then ask the manager at your local retail location if the price can be matched. Some stores are willing to match the price in order to get the business. In these cases, you don’t have to worry about shipping speeds or costs. At the very least, you can ask if the store will split the difference in shipping. You still pay a little less, and the local location gets the business.
If you are looking for the best deal, you need to plan ahead and comparison shop. Know what’s out there, and don’t be afraid to ask for a deal that saves you a little extra money.


  1. krantcents

    I always check the prices online because it is so eas to use a shopping bot. I compare the in store price with online pricing and think whether I need it immediately or not. Online usually always wins!

  2. Nelson Morado

    Hi Tom,

    Great article. Yes agree with you its always safe to check online for the price before doing any purchase in retails if we really want to save money, who don’t. Well I at most do online shopping only if it has a free shipping or else will be paying more than what I get in retails. Thanks Tom for such a nice post:)

  3. Frugal Grugal Guy with Balance

    Hi Tom

    Great article. I buy lots of goods online especially amazon when they have free shipping then ship the stuff to Bellingham (border town) then pick it up from there.

    I have saved lots of dough this way even the odd time I have paid for the shipping. Shipping stuff around the USA is a lot cheaper than shipping most stuff in Canada.

    I think more folks should do comparison shopping!

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