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. 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.
This guide is based on a PC running Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8, but the steps in this process are very similar for Mac users or if you’re using a different browser, such as Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer 9/Safari, etc.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to find online bargains
Price comparison websites
If you know exactly which product you’re looking for, price comparison websites are an effective way of finding the website that’s selling it the cheapest. Sites such as Kelkoo and Money 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 looking glass.
Be warned: as retailers can pay to be listed high on price comparison sites, 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.
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.
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 use of discount codes 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. Groupon and Wowcher are prominent examples of group buying sites. You log on to the website, enter your email address and locality, and then click Discover Deals or Sign Up!
Jacklyn Williams is a Digital Unite tutor.