How to find online bargains
Online shopping is often cheaper than shopping on the high street, as shopping websites don’t have as many overheads as high street stores. . It is estimated that the average person in the UK can give themselves the equivalent of a 25% pay rise by being pro active and looking for the best deals online.
However, it’s possible to find even lower prices with a few simple tricks.
- a computer with an internet connection
- a debit or credit card if you decide to buy something
- A valid email address if you want to create an account on any of these websites
If you know exactly which product you’re looking for, price comparison websites are an effective way of finding the cheapest online merchant. Sites such as Kelkoo and Money Saving Expert search the internet for the best deals and then list them for you. All you need to do is type in the name of the product you’re looking for and click the magnifying glass.
Be warned however that retailers can pay to have their website listed at the top of price comparison sites, so it’s advisable to look at a few different ones to find the best deal. Go to our online guide on how to compare prices to find out more.
For instance, if you type iPads in the search box you will get a list of iPads and the retailers who have the best prices. You can also specify the price range that you would like to look at.
MoneySavingExpert.com is the UK's biggest consumer website, with about 15 million users a month. The site's focused on finding deals, saving cash and campaigning for financial justice. Categories include shopping, travel and utilities. It also has links to discount codes under “Deals and Vouchers”.
If you are looking for a site that searches for offers on financial matters such as insurance, debt management and savings then you may want to visit Money Expert.
Websites often offer discounts for a limited period, just as traditional shops do. The difficult thing is finding where these deals are. There are many websites that make things easier by listing all the popular current discounts available, including non-web-based deals such as restaurant vouchers. One of the more popular is Voucher Codes.
You can join or sign up to different sites and enter your email address to receive a weekly email newsletter. For more information, see How to find discount codes.
Bargains can be found by browsing large shopping websites such as eBay and Amazon. Second-hand items are likely to be discounted and more unusual items may be less popular and therefore cheaper. Each site has a page dedicated to the latest discounts on offer – click Daily Deals on eBay and Today’s Deals on Amazon for reduced price items.
Once you’ve found a website with a good deal, go to a cashback site such as Quidco and you might be able to claim some of the money back from the purchase you make. For more details, see our guide How to use cashback sites.
Group buying, sometimes called collective buying, works in a similar way to the discount codes used by retailers. Group buying websites can offer products and services at significantly lower prices than other sources. They generally offer a deal of the day, which goes ahead once a set number of orders are agreed. You are then able to print off a voucher to claim your discount at the retailer. Always check the expiry period however as sometimes there are specific dates built in.