If you’re reading this right now there’s a good chance you’re a mom who uses the internet quite frequently. Anyone who shops online, uses online banking to pay bills, or pays for online services, knows that there are almost always techniques you can use to get something for much cheaper or even free, you just have to be persistent in doing your research and shopping around.
Unfortunately, most moms don’t have the time or patience to sit around and wait until they find the perfect deal – they just want to get the transaction over with so they can go back to making macaroni and cheese, finishing the laundry, feeding their children, or whatever motherly duty is next on the never-ending list. Fortunately, we’ve made it easy by compiling the following round-up of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the best deal when paying for products and services online:
1. Always Consider Alternatives First
If you’re about to buy something like an app or a software-as-service (SaaS) where you log in and use a certain platform, then it would be best to go ahead and compare all of the competition before making your choice. Later on, you may be regretful to find out that not only did you choose the more expensive option, but it turns out the cheaper alternative was more to your liking as well. For example, I was about to pay for an expensive subscription to Skype when I started comparing others and found out Discord was actually a better fit for me and much more affordable.
2. Search for Coupons on Discount Sites
Did you know that at least half the time you buy something online you could’ve gotten it cheaper simply by entering a coupon code at the checkout page? Where do you find these elusive and magical codes, you ask? Well, it’s actually very easy – you just use a search engine like Google to find discounts and coupon sites. Groupon and RetailMeNot are two of the most popular for starters. You’d be surprised at how much you can save just by copying and pasting a few simple numbers and letters.
3. Subscribe to Freebie and Bargain Newsletters
A must-try technique that will help you find the hottest sales is to subscribe to a few different newsletters about bargains or freebies. That way you’ll receive notification to your email every time a good brand or online store is offering a deal that you can’t afford to miss. There’s no shortage of couponing, bargaining, and frugality sites and tips online, so spend a bit of time subscribing to a few different feeds and before you know it, your inbox will have a steady flow of deals for you to check out.
4. Take Advantage of Rebates
Rebates are often overlooked and discarded because people want to find ways to save money before the sale, not after it. Still, it feels great to get a check in the mail or a gift card that covers the cost of something you’ve already purchased. Sure, there’s a waiting period that you’ll have to get the past before you actually save anything, but once you get the rebate it’s often more worthwhile than a standard discount.
5. Look for Stores that Offer Payment Plans
There are a number of stores and payment processors that make it easy to sign up for payment plans in which you only have to pay a small down-payment towards what you’re buying. Although in the end, the interest and fees usually make the item more expensive, these options allow you to obtain the things that you normally couldn’t afford and then gradually pay for them on a schedule that works with your income level. There are also companies that will help you finance electronic and appliance purchases made online, giving you a set line of credit to order certain items. Such third-party payment plans are sometimes even offered to low-income applicants, so long as proof of income can be shown.
6. Apply for Store Credit Cards
If you have decent credit or can show proof of income, you might be able to get approved for a store credit card or membership, which would provide access to a line of credit and/or exclusive discounts. Many stores don’t offer payment plans, but they do offer a store card that will essentially let you do the same thing. You also don’t need to have exceptional credit to be approved for one of these cards, so you might as well try it out. Most of the time an average credit score will be sufficient, but it really depends on the store’s approval policies as well.
7. Compare Shipping Prices
Finally, don’t forget to look for ways to save on the cost of shipping, especially if you’re ordering a larger item. You might think you’re getting the lowest price, but when you factor in the shipping, it turns out you should’ve gone to another store that was offering free shipping but had a slightly higher sales price. Some sellers use this trick to fool people into buying on sites like eBay and Amazon. They’ll list the item lower than everyone else, but then charge an exuberant shipping fee that makes their overall price higher than the rest.