Before the days of the Internet, doing your "shopping homework" consisted of hitting three or four major retailers to find the best price for the product. Nowadays, the Internet has evolved into a phenomenal resource for finding the perfect gift for your loved ones - or yourself. Products are not only much easier to obtain online but can be purchased at significantly discounted rates.
Here are some suggestions for shopping online that are sure to find you the best deal without spending hours surfing the net:
-When making major purchases, know the product before you buy it. While you can often find the best deals online, when buying an expensive item such as a plasma TV or digital camera, check out product reviews before you make your purchase. Consider dropping by your local Best Buy or Circuit City to have a sales associate talk you through your options. The sales associate can give you the best product information; the Internet will give you the best deals.
-Use online coupon sites to uncover additional savings from your favorite merchants. Online coupon sites are a welcome addition to online shopping. They offer coupon deals that you might not find in-store or even on the merchant's Web site. For example, www.couponcabin.com is updated throughout the day and provides deals from over 900 online merchants.
-Use shopping comparison sites when you decide on an item and want to search multiple merchants. These sites find the lowest price on your product by searching hundreds of online merchants. A new Web site, www.cheapuncle.com, merges comparison shopping and online couponing, giving consumers the best possible price.
-You can still save money even after your online purchase is final. Most of the major online retailers provide a customer protection policy that enables you to ask for a refund of the price difference if the price drops soon after the purchase. Some online merchants will even beat a competitor's price if you find a better deal soon after the purchase.